Directors: Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini
Film buffs and those who have an affection for tales of the road that speak to the inner Kerouac in all of us will want to check out this 2005 documentary directed by the same team responsible for the screen adaptation of the graphic novel American Splendor. Produced by IFC and Netflix, Wanderlust features interviews with directors and actors including Dennis Hopper, Sam Shepard, David O. Russell, Walter Salles, Peter Bogdanovich, Robert Benton, Wim Wenders, Callie Khouri, Allison Anders and Mira Nair, among others. Including clips from some of the most famous road movies of all time such as Grapes of Wrath, Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, and Paris, Texas, Wanderlust works best as a straight documentary and benefits from the historical features (that would’ve admittedly been even more successful with a clearer and more chronological approach) and unique literary quotations and readings from the works of Steinbeck, Kerouac, Angelou, Burroughs and others. Despite a lame fictitious thread worked throughout the film about a director (played by Thomas McCarthy) and editor (Paul Rudd) who decide to set out on the highways and side roads in order to inspire their work, Wanderlust offers valid glimpses into our films and culture and exhibits some wonderfully awe-inspiring photographs of Americana. While not as successful as IFC’s documentary on 1970’s filmmaking, A Decade Under the Influence, it’s worth a look for those, like me, who have a special affection for road films.