Considering the lack of experience by everyone in the film, it does bode well for their future.
by Martin Hafer
Radio America is the sort of film I tend to view slightly differently than I would the average movie I review. This is because it’s obviously a low-budget film and everyone involved has limited experience in the industry. Director Christopher Showerman has never directed before and the two leads (Jacob Motsinger and Christopher Alice) have only a few credits to their names as well. So, considering its pedigree, it’s really not fair to expect greatness from such a slight little movie.
The story is a familiar one–a rock ‘n roll cautionary tale about a couple of simple country boys, Eric and Dave, who want to earn their living with their music instead of staying and working on the farm. Not surprisingly, despite the odds being against them and their music not being especially noteworthy, these novices manage to put together a band, get a record contract, go on a mega-concert tour and screw up their lives all in the space of what seems like a matter of weeks. It’s all very familiar incurring a sense of déjà vu, and movies like Wild Guitar and Rock Star, among many others, have plowed this territory already.
So what did I like about this film? Well, for the lack of experience everyone clearly had, the film is actually rather enjoyable. This is not to say I noticed any particular brilliance in the production but I did see real promise and it’s very possible that these folks will use their experience here with Radio America as a stepping stone to better things. In other words, like the minor leagues, films like these give them experience and help them to get better and better at their craft. Additionally, while the script has quite a few clichés, towards the end it manages to avoid going where I expected–and I do appreciate that. On the negative side, the leading characters were tough to like and so it’s hard to care if they make it or not. Additionally, one of the actors had an accent that seemed confusing at best and the music didn’t seem good enough to explain the band’s sudden success.
Overall, if you like rock films, then you certainly might enjoy this one. If you don’t, then perhaps it’s one to skip. However, for a freshman directorial effort it is surprisingly watchable.