AFF PREVIEW: LIMO RIDE Takes a Trip Down Insanity Lane

Atlanta Film Festival presents LIMO RIDE (2013); Dir. Gideon C. Kennedy & Marcus Rosentrater; Sunday, March 30 @ 6:30 p.m.; 7 Stages Theatre; Trailer here.

By Andrew Kemp

People in the business hear it all the time. “You make movies? I have this great idea for a movie! It’s about this crazy thing that happened to me and my buddies one night…” What inevitably follows is exactly the kind of thing that should, in fact, never be a movie. It’s a sad truth, but bar stories aren’t actually rare. Everyone has their one wildest night, and because of that most of these stories are only interesting to the people who were actually there. It’s like making a movie out of the time you got stuck at the airport—worst night of your life, but nobody else cares.

So what kind of story gets a pair of filmmakers to say yes? It has to be one that’s bigger than life, completely unbelievable. The story needs heroes and villains; car chases and cops; friendship and betrayal. It has to be, in short, the biggest bar story ever told. Such a legend exists in Mobile, Alabama, a story already told and retold among the drunk and the rowdy. It’s the ultimate ‘bad night out’ and now, at last, its big screen destiny has arrived.

LIMO RIDE chronicles the true saga of a group of extreme young men and one wasted, mostly-terrified young woman as they rent a limo for New Year’s and ride it straight into a nightmare of drugs, booze, bad behavior and shitty luck. Shot as a quasi-documentary—crime-show-styled reenactments accompany voiceovers from people who were there—the film still plays like an outrageous piece of fiction. This isn’t a story of one bad decision. It’s an ensemble of idiocy, a mosaic of mishaps. It also happens to be pretty darn funny.

Audiences of LIMO RIDE are likely to fall into two camps: one group will compare the events on screen with their own rowdy adventures and thank their conscience for never letting them get this far off track. The others might just take this film as a challenge. Limo drivers of the world beware. Anyone attempting to top this night is likely to end up with the greatest story nobody knows because nobody who saw it lived to tell the tale. LIMO RIDE is an odyssey of rock bottom. Even its own participants seem to realize that lines have been crossed, and that their lifestyle has taken them too far.

Of course there’s more going on with LIMO RIDE than the humor or the wait for the next big event to drop, including a subtle examination of the ways in which we transform memory into mythology. There’s also an open question as to how much is happening to these guys and how much they’re bringing on themselves. (for example: one character unleashes a nasty racial slur on another, then fails to take responsibility when that goes poorly.) But perhaps it wouldn’t be wise to dwell too much on the academic implications of what these men are doing. I’m relatively sure it never crossed their minds.

LIMO RIDE screens at 7 Stages Theatre on Sunday, March 30, at 6:30. 

Andrew Kemp is a screenwriter and game designer who started talking about movies in 1984 and got stuck that way. He can be seen around town wherever there are movies, cheap beer and little else.

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