Set in Queens, the movie centers around the thirty-something has-been who arrives home after being fired following a long and thankless stint as roadie for the real life band, Blue Oyster Cult. It is set over the course of twenty four hours and follows Jimmy coming to terms with the loss of his job in a manner that somewhat resembles the five stages of grief.
Brothers David and Gerald Cuesta took six years to write the script, telling Joonbug, "Gerald wrote a draft of Roadie and it was a slightly different story. It was about putting an old band back together, but Gerald shelved the script. There was this scene in it where he goes off to visit his mother, and when I read that one scene I felt there was this whole premise of a movie. So we expanded on that and came up with this twenty four hour timeline."
The plot lends to heavy contemplation and is aided by a film score from Chris Seefried, which features a series of offbeat notes strummed out on a woeful sounding electric guitar. Returning home to stay with his mother (Lois Smith) after a long absence, we see Jimmy (Ron Eldard), initially in denial and forming a string of lies to cover up the reality of what has happened to him. Cutting a pitiful figure, he seems to have bad luck from start to finish: From losing his job, to leaving his belongings in the back of a taxi, things just seem to go from bad to worse before he even steps through the door of his childhood home.
Ron Eldard reportedly gained 38 pounds for the character, who is seen frowning at his bulky frame in the mirror in one of the opening scenes. Sporting some retro facial hair and bleach blond locks, Eldard emulates the persona remarkably. Downtrodden, dejected and just a downright loser, Eldard's portrayal of Jimmy makes him a character that you'll find it real hard not to feel sorry for.
Jimmy was initially going to be played by one of the Cuesta's themselves, but Michael told us how they instead cast Eldard for the part, "I met Ron shortly after the first draft and we finished the script by February. He read it shortly before we did it and I was looking for actors on the internet and I saw him and we were like, 'that's him.'"
Speaking to Joonbug, Ron Eldard told us that none of the actors received pay for the low budget indie flick and had to share friend's apartments that doubled as dressing rooms. He also joked that "When he wasn't drunk", director and co-writer of the movie, Michael Cuesta, "was great to work with."
The script encapsulates a series of poignant moments. In the beginning, we see Jimmy's hunched over figure, drowning his sorrows in a local, empty bar at the end of the road. Towards the latter end, we see Nikki interrupting a loud, drug fuelled bender, with a quiet acoustic song that literally reduces Jimmy to tears.
David Marguiles, who plays Jimmy's neighbor that has suffered from a stroke, manages to evoke both humor and ethos with his performance. His character awakens Jimmy after a heavy night, where he has been sleeping in his car and mumbles at him incomprehensibly. Despite being incoherent, they are most certainly words of wisdom, provided in the form of a pep talk akin to what Jimmy's father, had he existed, would have said. Lois Smith mentioned that when David was playing the part, Michael Cuesta was delighted with his incomprehensiveness in the movie. It does fit his character extremely well.
Roadie presents a classic case of regression - with Jimmy's bedroom being a shrine to his youth and his aversion towards the elderly neighbors reflecting that similar to a pubescent teen - it scrapes up a whole host of issues from long lost dreams, to unrequited love, and even to Dementia.
The closing scene is probably the most poignant of all. Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows told Joonbug that this was his favorite part in the movie, (presumably because his song is featured in the scene). But aside from the remarkable track that plays over the scene, it depicts Jimmy and his mother sitting side by side, with the intangible sense that Jimmy has finally come to terms with the world, and more importantly; with himself.