you're such a critic

May 05, 2006

THE QUESTION

A dysfunctional group hops in a vehicle and heads off across America, with wacky comedy in hot pursuit. Where have we heard that before? Oh, wait ... Johnson Family Vacation. Oh, and Flirting with Disaster, and Lost in America, and National Lampoon's Vacation. Oh, and ... you get the idea.

Anyway, Robin Williams is the latest to take his turn behind the wheel in the new RV. It makes us wonder, what do you consider the greatest "road trip" comedy?

WHAT YOU SAY

The best road movie in my mind is Midnight Run [1988] with Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin. It's the best comedy turn both De Niro and Grodin have delivered. This movie raises profanity to an art form. Strong supporting performances by Dennis Farina, Yaphet Kotto and Joe Pantoliano round out a classic take on the odd couple scenario. De Niro is the brusk, quick-tempered bounty hunter and Grodin is the anal-retentive, sensitive fugitive who'll be lucky to make it across the country alive. Not because of the mob that's on his tail, but because De Niro is always just a hair away from going ballistic.

MARK GRUTKOWSKI, BALTIMORE

I don't know it to be the greatest, but it's one of my favorites -- The Long, Long Trailer (1954). Newlyweds portrayed by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, on their way to a new job location, decide going across country in a 28-foot house trailer would be the perfect honeymoon. Well, the adventures of novice campers as they maneuver their home across mountains, in and out of campgrounds and around busy cities is hilarious.

MARY STORKE, BEL AIR

THE NEXT QUESTION

Reader Miriam Tillman, writing from UMBC, suggests our next question: What song or piece of music will never be the same for you again after hearing it in a particular film? (The two that came to her mind are "Stuck in the Middle with You" in Reservoir Dogs, and "Singin' in the Rain" in A Clockwork Orange.)

Please send your thoughts in a brief note with your name, city and daytime phone number (and "Such a Critic" in the memo field) to arts@baltsun.com. We'll publish the best answers we receive.

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