Now on Hulu, Ride the Eagle is a new little girl reunion with Jake Johnson back in the lead with game series director Trent O’Donnell. The film was set amid a pandemic – they’re working on a script, spoke to Susan Sarandon, and J. Simmons took on a supporting role and filmed it fast and dirty under strict Covid protocols before vaccination.
The result is a somewhat stereotypical indie quirk. Johnson plays an aimlessly dressed bongo player who is supposed to inherit his mother’s long-estranged home, but only if, as his will states, he jumps over a bunch of annoying hoops.
Good, the results are delightful.
Honey (Sarandon) is crazy past tense. He’s dead, Crab. He will not receive treatment. He left his son Leif (Johnson) when he was 12. So he could join a cult, and now, I’ll repeat it, he’s a bongo player. Who dresses aimlessly so that it’s psychologically crippling. He left his splendid cabin in the mountains.
Where he’d spent his life painting terrible pictures and, of course, had paid a fortune for this place somehow. Leif boarded in a broken Econoline van and found nunchucks. And whips in his mother’s bedroom and her closet full of bags and sacks, jugs and jugs. Oh, and he discovers that his will has been recorded. By stating that his legacy hinges on a series of tasks. All of which appear to be designed to free him from his deep lazy path.
These tasks include breaking into strangers’ homes and leaving notes, killing and eating your food, shouting “runaway people,” and so on. Leif didn’t have much to do other than practice the band – I’m not sure if I was happy or sad that we didn’t get to see one of these terrifying music sessions – so he started granting his death wish. Most of all, he calls his ex Audrey (D’Arcy Cardon), and their jokes are so funny you want to end it and get back together for a crazy night.
Now the man whose house is almost Leif is:
He didn’t need to interfere in any way. He seemed to be after her, to terrorize her a bit in a cute way. This man would announce his presence soon. Oh, and Leif’s companion along the way is Nora, a sweet and sweet black lab, adding a charming doggie vibe to all the small, tender, sad moments in the film. So, will Leif get his house? There are no spoilers, but what will happen – Honey becomes a zombie, comes out of the grave and picks up the key if she doesn’t follow her instructions outside the grave?
Although usually J.K. The Simmons moment accounts for its fair share of Ride the Eagle’s emotional heft and the slightly odd Sarandon that’s entirely on VHS. In this dialogue-packed comedy, someone is playing the two as a bickering couple, please. The real highlight is that Cardan (from The Glory of a Good Place) lit a comedy cracker under the film’s back.
Ride the Eagle is conceptually silly but fun to do. It’s a bit deceiving, and it’s another film about a boy in long-delayed development – though it’s better than, say, my son. The script by Johnson and O’Donnell keeps it going with solid comedy and sharpness. Please don’t rely on funny dog reactions or simple jokes; smarter to keep a calm tone and avoid sombre traps while Leif deals with complex emotions, the death of a mother he barely knows, a mother who tries to atone for her past mistakes by posthumous parenting.
This film has something good to say about grief and personal growth:
Bandits around some solid joke absorb a bit of NorCal’s majestic rocky mountain landscape and then call it a day. Nothing too complicated, nothing too crazy. It’s a nice thick character piece, a little fictional and a little predictable, but unforgivable.
It looks and feels great. It’s not going to change the world – it just offers a few laughs, a tear or two, and lots of warmth. It’s a great movie, a great movie, and I’ll be honest with you.
Ride the Eagle is a disturbing and satisfying optimism quickly dropped. He set himself simple goals and achieved them.