Gas Food Lodging | Chicago Reader

Gas Food Lodging

Two teenage girls (Fairuza Balk and Ione Skye) growing up in Laramie, New Mexico, with their waitress mother (Brooke Adams) provide the theme of this sometimes touching but uneven independent feature by Allison Anders (who cowrote and codirected Border Radio), which she adapted from Richard Peck's novel Don't Look and It Won't Hurt. Though the characters and plot details are quite different from The Last Picture Show and Texasville, the film aims for some of the same emotional effects and ambience—and reveals Peter Bogdanovich's strength in dealing with such material. Anders's direction of actors fluctuates wildly from powerful and indelible to awkward and unconvincing; she's most assured creating clips from imaginary black-and-white Mexican movies seen by the narrator heroine. This film certainly has its strong moments, but it has a hard time sustaining them. With James Brolin, Robert Knepper, David Lansbury, Jacob Vargas, and Donovan Leitch (1992).

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