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MGM Studios DVD presents
Roadie (1980)

"Who'd win a fight between a roll-on deodorant and a grizzly bear?"
- Travis W. Redfish (Meat Loaf)

Review By: Mark Zimmer  
Published: April 13, 2003

Stars: Meat Loaf, Art Carney, Kaki Hunter, Deborah Harry, Alice Cooper
Other Stars: Roy Orbison, Hank Williams Jr., Don Cornelius, Gailard Sartain, Rhonda Bates
Director: Alan Rudolph

Manufacturer: Sunset Digital
MPAA Rating: PG for (language, violence, innuendo, drug use)
Run Time: 01h:45m:42s
Release Date: April 15, 2003
UPC: 027616884633
Genre: cult

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A B+A-B+ D+

DVD Review

While Meat Loaf's cinematic resume isn't exactly stellar, he does have a couple of highly notable credits. The first, of course, is his brief appearance as the ill-fated Eddie in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. But he memorably took center stage in this wild and very funny, though overlooked, rock and roll movie from 1980.

Easy-going Travis W. Redfish (Meat Loaf) is a Shiner Beer distributor in Quicksand, Texas, until he happens upon the stranded equipment van of Hank Williams Jr. When he sets eyes on young Lola Bouilliabase (Kaki Hunter), he's suddenly stricken with love, even though her ambition is to become the world's greatest groupie and make it with Alice Cooper. As Redfish tags along on the road, his talents to repair just about anything garner him a reputation as the world's greatest roadie, when he jerry-rigs any number of show-saving solutions from such improbable materials as potatoes and bobby pins. Along the way of their odyssey across the country, they meet such diverse acts as Asleep at the Wheel, Blondie, Roy Orbison and of course Alice himself.

Meat Loaf is absolutely perfect as the slightly clueless but multi-talented Travis W. Redfish, with a suitably slack-jawed obsessiveness and slightly dimwitted affect, paired perfectly with an easy self-confidence that befits the character. Also in the supporting cast is Art Carney as Travis' daddy, the arch-redneck Corpus C. Redfish, who operates a salvage yard under the motto, "Everything works if you let it." Kaki Hunter, best known from appearing in all three Porky's movies, has a charming enthusiasm for her quest and a endearingly dippy sexiness as the jailbait Lola. The musicians play along as good sports with the proceedings, with Deborah Harry of Blondie in particular having a good time playing opposite Meat Loaf. Alice Cooper even pokes fun at his onstage persona in an enjoyable bit.

The film boasts a terrific score circa 1980, with such notables as Pat Benatar, the B-52s and Cheap Trick contributing tunes. But it has a huge rewatchability factor from the endlessly goofy and quotable dialogue. Most winning are the surreal episodes where Travis goes into brainlock and speculates on such vital issues as "What's the relationship between styrofoam and the planet Jupiter?" and "Who would win a fight between Mamie Eisenhower and Billy Graham?" These episodes, which can be remedied only by a swiftly-administered pitcher of beer, are the comic highlights of a film that's full of gut-busting moments of absurdity.

While not the height of drawing room wit or intellectual humor, Roadie is a ton of fun from beginning to end. During its laugh-filled running time, you won't have to ask yourself, "Why is my life so much tougher than everybody else's?"

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - P&S
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: The original 1.85:1 format is presented in anamorphic widescreen mode, and there's hardly a flaw to be seen. Color is excellent, and details are finely reproduced. The many dark club and concert scenes have a tremendous amount of shadow detail. There's a fair amount of film grain present, but it gives a nice filmlike appearance, and there isn't a distracting sparkly appearance such as one often finds in films with heavy grain. No significant print flaws are visible. Minor ringing is visible in high contrast scenes, but that's only occasional and not terribly distracting. A full-frame version of the film is on the flip side. While this is partly an open matte presentation with a huge amount of extra head and footroom, there is also material cut off of the sides as well. It's passable but certainly inferior to the widescreen version.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: A 5.1 remix is the only audio track present. The resulting track has great bass depth and nice surround, but seems a bit lacking in midrange. The sound is very clean indeed, with good separation and clear dialogue throughout. While it would have been nice to have the original audio mix, this is a well-done remix and perfectly satisfactory.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The only extra present is a trailer, but it's happily also anamorphic widescreen. Chaptering is a little on the thin side, but adequate.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

The hilarious cult rock and roll movie finally comes to DVD, with a terrific transfer. Alas, little for extras, but still worth owning. "The word 'tourniquet' comes to my mind."


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