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The Best Bar in America

By TREE PALMEDO
[ONE NIGHT ONLY] The Best Bar in America is without a doubt the best micro-budget movie about writers on motorcycles you’ll see this year. The narrative debut of documentarian brothers Eric and Damon Ristau follows Sanders (Andrew Rizzo), a world-weary writer scouring the Southwest for the prototypical pub. Armed with a pistol, a chopper, and a shaggy beard, Sanders spends his mornings gargling with whiskey and his evenings perched on a barstool, writing up each roadside watering hole on his laptop. After ditching his high-maintenance wife on the edge of the highway, Sanders finds a new sidecar passenger in Northway (David Ackroyd), a grizzled drifter who is equal parts wise and loony. The pair’s escapades constitute a series of clever and surreal vignettes, from encounters with a Christian trucker whose favorite insult is “a-hole” to a mesmerizing sequence involving fluorescent blue cocktails and bewitching mermaids. Even with some shoddy sound design and a few forced performances, it’s clear the Ristaus are going for something big here, peppering the film with sweeping shots of the sun-dappled desert landscape and a few choice quotes from Hemingway. Alas, a great American road movie this is not; its “live life to the fullest” and “it’s what’s inside that counts” messages are somewhat heavy-handed. Like the whiskey and sodas that Sanders downs religiously, The Best Bar in America is best consumed on simple terms, so relax and enjoy this modest treat.
 

Special Note

Clinton Street Theater. 7 pm Friday, June 6
 
  • Genres: Adventure, Western
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • Critic's Score: B
  • Starring: David Ackroyd [Northway], Monique Lanier [Dahria], Walt Hefner [Sheriff Bushmak], Gregory Collett [Tex], Andrew Rizzo [Sanders]
  • Directed by: Damon Ristau [Director], Eric Ristau [Director], Damon Ristau [Screenwriter], Eric Ristau [Screenwriter], Damon Ristau [Producer], Eric Ristau [Producer], Eric Ristau [Cinematographer], Damon Ristau [Film Editor], Eric Ristau [Film Editor]
  • Watch the trailer
 

Show Times

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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