The Neon Highway

The Neon Highway

The Neon Highway

The Neon Highway
Stars Beau Bridges, Rob Mayes, Sam Hennings, T. J. Power, Pam Tillis, Jennifer Bowles and Lauren Buglioli
Director: William Wages
Scriptwriters: Phillip Bellury and William Wages
Composer: Arturo Sandoval
Cinematographer: Paul Krampee
Sessions Productions
Rating: PG 13
Running Length: 115 Minutes

I remember seeing Beau Bridges for the first time as part of the Stargate SG-1 television series. He was the leader of the secret base that sent people through a gate into various outer space adventures . Beau Bridges has another talent besides acting, he can play the guitar. Bridges comes from the Bridges acting family, headed by Lloyd Bridges. In the script by William Wages and Phillip Bellury, Beau plays Claude Allen, a former top country western singer/guitarist who is now down on his luck and living in a solitary cabin. Time can be cruel and is rapidly passing him by when there is a surprising meeting with a young songwriter, Wayne Collins (Rob Mayes from “Just Jake.”) The road to leaving their humble abodes begins. The soundtrack and music by Arturo Sandoval are marvelous. 

As the story goes, two young music artists are coming home from a successful gig, Wayne and his brother, Lloyd (T. J. Power).  There is an auto accident and Lloyd is in a wheelchair. Wayne gives up music for years, marries, starts a family, but the love of music is still there until the chance meeting with Claude, who is near to being an alcoholic, and a clever connection that comes out later. Claude offers advice and then gets an idea—go for broke, hit the big city, collect favors from days past, and let this song, “The Neon Highway” try for success. Of course, nothing goes quite right and trust turns into mistrust, don’t-sign-that and being on time comes into play. In the meantime, patient wife Ginny (Jennifer Bowles) is at home with the children. By this time, you are so into the music that popcorn may become stale as you listen to song after song.

Beau Bridges plays Claude as a man who was used to adoration from fans for his voice and guitar prowess.  He can play any emotion at the snap of fingers and the audience watches that happen.  On the other hand, Rob Mayes does Wayne as a straight arrow, honest, silent, and not used to business techniques considered crucial in show business. T. J. Power shows emotion well as Lloyd.  Sandra Lee-Olan Thomas is Pepper, who is part of a motel management and allows the guys to stay there without paying.  Hoping for success, she is the one to sooth a bad day and a shoulder to cry on. There are people who want to take opportunities from you and here comes Wilbur Fitzgerald as Buck Bates. One can learn a lot from this film as to what constitutes putting a single disk together with side musicians and everyone watching the clock. Take notes.

"The Neon Highway" has various twists in it and photography is unique, centering on faces and emotions other than body language. The soundtrack lingers in the mind. What I liked about the film, is that it takes its time to put things together. Some scenes are shorter, while others longer, but altogether it fits. Feet will be tapping all through the film. The song, “The Neon Highway” was written by Dallas Davidson and performed by Lee Brice.

Copyright 2024 Marie Asner

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