Newest Reviews
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Iron Fury
Ride in the Whirlwind
Deathstalker II
Cloak and Dagger
Love Ban, The
Western Stars
League of Gentlemen, The
Higher Power
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
  Gas, Food Lodging Desert BloomsBuy this film here.
Year: 1992
Director: Allison Anders
Stars: Brooke Adams, Ione Skye, Fairuza Balk, James Brolin, Robert Knepper, David Lansbury, Jacob Vargas, Donovan Leitch, Chris Mulkey, Laura O'Brien, Julie Condra, Adam Biesk, Leigh Hamilton, Diane Behrens, J. Mascis, Tiffany Anders, Sissy Boyd
Genre: Drama, Romance
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Shade (Fairuza Balk) lives in a New Mexico trailer park with her older sister Trudi (Ione Skye) and her longsuffering mother Nora (Brooke Adams), who is single since her husband left her when Shade was very young. The girl loves to go to the cinema, specifically the Spanish-language establishment where she watches her favourite Mexican movie star, and it is her adventures playing out on the screen before her, with all the gamut of emotions that entails, that makes Shade's mind up to do something about her mother's lack of a man in her life. Nora is currently too worked up about Trudi's rebellion to worry about finding a romantic partner, but her youngest is optimistic...

Gas, Food Lodging (oddly there's only one comma in the title) was one of the highest profile indies from out of the United States from the nineties to be directed by a woman, in this case Allison Anders. She adapted a novel by Richard Peck to create a very female-centric movie which nevertheless did not lazily fall back on painting the opposite sex as a bunch of no-good wasters, as every character here with more than a few lines were refreshingly three dimensional with good points and bad: you had the impression Anders truly liked them for all their faults and wanted you to appreciate them as well. This was a lot different from many a pat Hollywood drama starring major actresses, however.

A lot of that was down to how it came across as being created by a very exact sensibility who knew precisely what she wanted and was not going to pander to any clich├ęs or stereotypes prevalent in more mainstream efforts. When these three leads bicker and fight it's with a raw, ballistic and caustic anger born of the frustration that their lives are far from within their control and not working out the way they want, therefore feeling a lot more authentic than some mere soap opera translated onto film. It was not slick by any means, but that texture of a story very personal to Anders, not in plot specifics but because she wanted to get this chance just right and more importantly do it her way since she knew what she wanted to say and how to say it.

So if the film grew a little shaky in places, it was Anders' confidence which rescued it from mere amateurism, accompanied by a brace of performances which empathised with their character's predicament. Each of the ladies has boyfriend troubles partly brought upon themselves and partly brought upon them by others, but the heart of the piece is the wayward Trudi's relationship with a visiting, English geologist called Dank (Robert Knepper) who surprises her by being a really nice guy, as opposed to the sort of man she usually attracts given her reputation of being "available". They get to know one another and over the course of one night of passion in the old mine Trudi realises she has found the one for her - and then the days go by and she never hears from him again.

There's a very good reason for that, although we don't find out by the end which simultaneously restores some faith and has us cursing the bad luck which dogs the heroines. Not that they are admirable throughout: even Shade, while sweetnatured, can fly off the handle when it's not really necessary as she does with Javier (Jacob Vargas), the Latino boy she initially has a row with, then gets to like, and before she knows it she's in love too. That recurring scene where one person will act terribly to someone else should make us dislike them, yet Anders was careful after a while to have us understand them, and recognise they were only human, so that can mean our moods don't always take us down the most laudable paths. On the other hand, the worth of actually treating others with a measure of respect was indicated too, not in a heavy-handed manner but growing organically from the drama, leaving an idiosyncratic, sometimes clunky, but always engaging work. The music was from J. Mascis, who has a late on cameo to demonstrate a near-supernatural lack of acting ability.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 1790 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton


Last Updated: