Roadkill get Roadkill

Year: 1989

Writer: Bruce McDonald (story) & Don McKeller

Director: Bruce McDonald

Budget: Canadian $250 000 (estimated)

Gross: ?

do you remember the first time you saw the movie Clerks?  i do.  i had heard some good word of mouth, but really didn't know anything about it.  i went to see it alone and i even remember the short little video for kevin smith's view askew production company (at first i thought that was part of the movie).  anyways, i loved the movie, i laughed a lot and i had a really good time.  sure some of the acting was pretty bad and the camera work and film stock left much to be desired (compared to the typical hollywood fare), but that didn't matter.

i bring that up because that is the first thing that came to mind as i was watching bruce mcdonald's Roadkill recently.  one could easily comment negatively on the acting and such, but that would be missing the point.  Roadkill is a film that, like Clerks, was so obviously made by people who love movies and had a passion to get one made whatever the cost.  kevin smith maxed out all his credit cards and bruce mcdonald and his crew did whatever they could to make their already small budget go as far as it could go.

Roadkill is a rock n' roll road movie, two things mcdonald has come back to in other projects, including: Highway 61 and Hard Core Logo(this is a great movie and my favorite of his films).  when the band children of paradise fall off the grid so-to-speak, their angry manager sends his assistant ramona to find them and bring them back.  on her journey ramona meets a bunch of crazy characters: from the pothead taxi driver who claims to know many a rock star, to russel (played by don mckeller) who has aspirations to be a seriel killer and has one of the best lines in the movie, "Well, I've never really killed anyone before, but that's what I'm shooting for. That's my ambition. I know it's a hard profession, and it's a competive field and getting tougher every year. You have to kill about 20 people now before you're taken seriously, But let's face it, what other options do I have? There's not a lot of opportunities up here for social mobility. I mean you can either become a hockey player or take up a life of crime. And I have weak ankles, so there you go."

over the course of the movie, ramona finds the band, loses the band, meets a documentary film maker and his crew, has sex with a minor, finds the band again, learns to drive and puts on a final rock concert that brings many of the characters together in a culmination of storylines that are both awesome and ridiculous.

it all began when mcdonald set out to do a documentary on some band from ontario, canada.  however, when things weren't really going anywhere he asked his friend don mckeller to write a script instead, which became Roadkill.  the dvd has a really great commentary track with mckeller and producer colin brunton that gives a lot of insight into the making of the movie, its development and lots of other musings and ramblings from the two guys (i started watching the commentary track right after finishing watching the film for the first time and almost watched it all the way through again).

after Roadkill won the award for most outstanding canadian film at the toronto film festival, mcdonald earned considerable notoriety by announcing that he would spend the $25 000 prize on "a big chunk of hash".  while much of the movie feels like he and mckeller were probably smoking some hash during its production, Roadkill is a film that exposes the true passion and drive to make a movie and tell a story no matter what.  fuck it if the acting is sometimes laughable, if the script is a bit "out there" and fuck it if the lack of budget is obvious in the production value, because they are outweighed by a fun story, interesting characters and the excitement of a young and talented filmmaker.  they are also part of the films charm.