Opening with an single shot eulogy from an awkward Texan police office that devolves into a grief ridden interpretive dance marks Thunder Road as a can’t miss comedy, but like anything that starts with a funeral, nothing truly human will follow with grace or delicacy. Thunder Road–written, dritted by and starring Jim Cummings as the grieving adult orphan pinpointing on his daughter’s future success rather than accepting his need to grieve. The film is magnificently different that I expected: a tad like Eighth Grade from the dad’s perspective and baldly humorous to the offensive edge like a toned down Martin McDonagh. Cummings takes his vision and runs through stages of grief like a stack of notes dropped and you’re trying to reconstruct what you had a few hours before. I can’t think of a more fitting way to deconstruct loss than an ever changing nightmare of never having something again. Cummings is unhinged when he should be responsible, wreckless when he should be mourning and reaching out; but he is endearing and ready for change in his life. Thunder Road is hopeful even when it is morbid, not soppy, not tear-jerking, not distant. You’re there for the dad trying to turn crisis into a new life; it will just take you in ever changing expressions of rebirth by fire that came from your own nuclear bomb.
Find it on Amazon Prime streaming, and follow it up with Jim Cumming’s short film The Robbery on @Vimeo for a different type of comitragic brilliance.