Sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. For a film like Far From Home, however, there’s a whole bunch of parts that don’t really add up to much. This wouldn’t detract from the fact that the film is altogether enjoyable in a way that films today no longer are. If you’ve never heard of the film, you can be forgiven. An old, forgotten Drew Barrymore vehicle that was meant to help her transition from child star to adult actress, this feature came as quickly as it went, appearing for just a flash in theatres during the summer of 1989.
Far From Home, a trashy murder-mystery with touches of black humour, is simple popcorn-fare about a young adolescent girl (Barrymore) travelling cross-country with her overprotective father when their car breaks down in some redneck town in Nevada. Trouble begins when a serial killer, lurking in the trailer park that Barrymore and her father temporarily take up residence in, starts picking people off one by one. It’s an average routine-thriller, seen a dozen times over in some variation on late night TV. But what really sets this film apart is the hysterically over-the-top, bitchy performance by late actress Susan Tyrrell, the scene-stealing queen of Hollywood.
In the film’s most memorable scene, a luckless Tyrrell tries to serve her disgustingly useless, filthy children dinner, making the grave mistake of dishing up generic-brand fish sticks, costing every tenant in the surrounding trailer park unmitigated grief. No one could artfully chew up a scene like Tyrrell and she pays for her histrionics with a face full of fish sticks. Meanwhile, in the next trailer, a passive, sullen, teenaged Barrymore is subjected to the echoing sounds of slaps and screeching cusses. Crack your shit up on this.
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// Notes from the Road
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