More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 0%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad100%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 0 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Poison Rose, The by Jack Sommersby

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom by Jay Seaver

Fat Man and Little Boy by Jack Sommersby

Harry & Son by Jack Sommersby

Shattered by Jack Sommersby

Deathstalker II by Jack Sommersby

Ambition by Jack Sommersby

Blackout by Jack Sommersby

Backfire by Jack Sommersby

Hit List, The (1993) by Jack Sommersby

subscribe to this feed

On the Road with Judas
[] Buy posters from this movie
by EricDSnider

"It's a crappy film within a crappy film, based on a presumably crappy book."
2 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2007 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL: Behold the curse of independent film: the self-referential insufferable wankfest. "On the Road with Judas," written and directed by JJ Lask, is about a man named JJ Lask who has written a novel that has been made into a movie. The fictional characters from the book (who exist only in Lask's head, of course) appear on a talk show (which is also only in Lask's head), as do the actors hired to play them. As they discuss the film, they also retell the story, which we see in flashbacks -- sometimes as scenes from the movie, and sometimes as actual flashbacks, featuring the "real" people, not the actors.

Yes, it is confusing, but that's not the main problem with "On the Road with Judas." The problem is that with all the meta-references and Charlie Kaufman-style fourth-wall-breaking, something has been omitted: a plot. The actual story -- the one in the novel, the one being turned into a movie, the one the actors are re-creating -- is almost non-existent. A guy named Judas meets a girl named Serra; they keep running into each other; they have a flat, introspective, uneventful relationship; the end. It's not engaging, regardless of whether we're seeing it played by actors, or whether we're seeing it as the "real" people experienced it.

There are details that could have led to intriguing developments, but they get lost in the shuffle. For example, in the novel, Judas (Aaron Ruell) and Francis (Alex Burns) were best friends who also operated as thieves, stealing old Macintosh computers from colleges. Judas had some success as a New York entrepreneur, too, and now Francis is in prison because he refused to rat out his buddy. Both characters are interviewed extensively, Judas on the set of the "Let's Do Drinks" talk show, and Francis in prison.

Then "Let's Do Drinks" brings on the actors who have been hired to play these characters -- Eddie Kaye Thomas as Judas, and Leo Fitzpatrick as Francis. We also meet both the "real" Serra (Eleanor Hutchins) and the actress playing her in the film, Amanda Loncar. We see the "real" people sitting next to the actors who will portray them, and we almost forget, for a minute, that NONE of it is actually real. Trippy, huh?

Unfortunately, all of the characters, both real and fictional, are uninteresting. They have the dull, navel-gazing crises typical of 20-somethings in movies, and they fail to elicit any sympathy or devotion from the viewer.

It seems that Lask was hoping his movie could get by on cuteness alone, that we'd be so dazzled by his self-awareness and the intricately mind-bending premise that we wouldn't notice how empty it all is. This is the kind of movie where the filmmaker believes he's being clever and postmodern by explicitly mentioning how meandering and plot-free the story is. But guess what, Hector: Acknowledging the fact that you're a tedious, self-indulgent storyteller doesn't excuse the fact that you're a tedious, self-indulgent storyteller.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 02/27/07 19:25:51
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2007 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 CineVegas Film Festival For more in the 2007 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.

Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  DVD: 13-Jan-2009


  DVD: 13-Jan-2009

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast