Saturday, April 20, 2013


Candy Mountain is your basic road movie with the extra added attraction of famous musicians in the cast. While that might not sound good, in this case, all of the musicians in Candy Mountain do a good job, even better than some the other actors in the film. Directed by Robert Frank (Cocksucker Blues) as a slow unfolding story written by Rudy Wurlitzer (Two Lane Blacktop), the movie was able to hold my attention from start to finish.

Kevin J. O'Connor plays a wanna-be rock star, who is better at growing sideburns than actually playing the guitar. At the first of the movie he quits his carpentry job and goes to retrieve his guitar from a couple of his friends, played by Joe Strummer and Arto Lindsay. They refuse to give him his guitar, but set him up to jam with a famous musician (David Johansen). O'Connor's guitar playing is so bad, he's kicked out of the band; but when he hears Johansen and some others in the music business talking about the great guitars of Elmore Silk, he bluffs his way into getting an advance to go find the reclusive Silk. 

Along the way he meets Silk's brother (Tom Waits), Silk's brother-in-law (Dr. John) and a dubious law enforcement father and son (Leon Redbone) team. All three of these musicians do a great job in their roles and it's hard to pick any one of them as being the best: Tom Waits with his garish golfer outfits, Dr. John as the wheelchair bound cranky brother-in-law or Leon Redbone as the backwoods lawman.

These three musicians really made the film for me and perhaps if they weren't in Candy Mountain, I might not have found it quite as entertaining. There's also a cameo appearance by the late Canadian singer Rita MacNeil. If you're a fan of any of these artists or just like a good road movie, you'll probably enjoy watching Candy Mountain.

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