Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Running on Empty

River Phoenix was a stellar actor. It's terrible that he had a drug overdose. Definitely was taken from us too soon. I watched 'Running on Empty' (1988) for the first time this week. I was house sitting for 5 days and taking care of three adorable animals, two cats and one dog, and I rented this to watch because it has been on my list to watch for a while. I'm kind of missing the animals already, they're so cute!

'Running on Empty' is about a family on the run. The parents were responsible for bombing a laboratory as a Vietnam protest. The parents have been evading the FBI for years because of this and have been constantly changing their identities, as well as their sons', Danny (River) and Harry (Jonas Abry), and moving around as often as possible. This is especially hard on their sons because they are never allowed to keep their friends or any record of their existence at the schools they've been to. However, after the family moves to a town in New Jersey, life begins to change for Danny. One of his teachers recognizes his ability for music and encourages him to apply for early enrollment at Juilliard. He also ends up falling in love for the first time. Danny aspires to follow his dream of being a musician and to have a life of his own. His parents must decide whether they want to allow him the chance of having a better life or to be selfish and force him to keep following them.

River's performance is the one that stands out in this film. Mainly because he allowed himself to feel the emotion that his character was experiencing and he fully encompassed it in himself, which made his performance seem so real. I love watching him. I recommend seeing this movie just for his performance.

I could have done without the little brother Henry. He was incredibly annoying to me. I felt he smirked too much and just was awful. Maybe Jonas was really just a terrible actor or his character was meant to be extremely irritating. I'm not sure. Consider this a warning, but River's performance, as well as the performances from others, overrides this character. The rest of the film is enjoyable and interesting.


Valerie Troutman said...

Sounds interesting. Even directed by Sidney Lumet!

It is sad about River Phoenix. I used to watch Sneakers a lot when I was little. It was one of his last films. The worst part about it was that Heath Ledger had to come along and repeat the same loss. Have you seen Stand By Me?

Kalli said...

Yeah, I have seen Stand by Me. It's my favorite River movie. I want to read the Stephen King novella that it's based on. I've never seen Sneakers, what is it about?

Valerie Troutman said...

It's about a group of security professionals: hackers, ex-cons, etc. Companies hire them to break in to their bank or computer system to see if their current security is good enough. For somebody who always wanted to be a computer scientist, you can understand why I loved it as a kid. It's fun.

Funny you should mention the novella. I have had Different Seasons which has the novella's for Apt Pupil, Shawshank Redemption, and Stand By Me sitting on my bookshelf since the late 1990's unread. I am so ashamed.

Kalli said...

That definitely sounds like a movie that a computer scientist would be interested in. I ended up majoring in Finance, but I got my minor in Digital Cinema, which had some computer science involved with it.

You're going to have to read it! I know, I have books in my personal library that have not been read yet. I'll probably get around to them at one point. I was reading It, but the print was so small that I stopped. I looked like a fool reading it so closely to my face.

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