Blue Öyster Cult, as some might not recall, was a big band a long time ago, and is still ghosting the classic-rock airwaves with its 1976 hit, “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper.” The group soldiers on, in some vague form, but its high-life days are long-gone. Now, we’re told, in the new film “Roadie,” the Cult can no longer afford the services of their long-time gear-humper Jimmy Testagros, and has just dumped him after 26 years of loyal schlepping.
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As Jimmy, Ron Eldard (the low-rent dad in “Super 8”) gives a sweet, moving performance as a 40-ish guy suddenly un-tethered in time. With his vintage sideburns and old-school rock hair falling in his face, Jimmy is an irrelevant curio with no place in the modern world. Cut loose from the only life he knows, he returns to his childhood home in Forest Hills, Queens, where he tells his ancient mother (Lois Smith) that he’s actually the Cult’s manager and sometime songwriter, and that he has only dropped by for the day before shoving off on another international tour.
After rather too much interaction with mom, we follow Jimmy out onto the streets of his old neighborhood and into a bar, where he meets his long-ago high-school classmate Randy (Bobby Cannavale). Now the movie starts taking shape.
Randy is an abrasive loudmouth, and Cannavale, an actor who energizes every film in which he appears, plays him with an appropriately caustic bray.
Read the rest of the review at Reason.com