7 September 2002 | Euphorbia
A joy to watch, every time.
I have dozens of movies on videotape, but if I could only keep one, Running on Empty would be it. I've lost count how many times I've watched it. It works on every level. Emotionally, you cannot help caring about the characters, all of them. The premise, living "underground" in ordinary American suburbia, is brilliant and instantly engaging. The story, coming of age on the lam, flows effortlessly, with hardly a slow spot, and keeps me engaged, even after umpteen viewings. The romance, of love and loss and dedication, brings a tear every time, even just thinking about the birthday party as I write this.
Plus -- I was a 'red diaper baby' who became a conservative republican 35 years ago, and this film touches every button of my past. A lot of those reds were, in person, truly decent people, just a bit deranged and extremely delusional and dogmatic, all of which Judd Hirsch conveys with perfect pitch. No special FX, pretty tame action (mostly involving music and dancing), only six main characters, but a great entertaining and inspirational film.
Rated 9.9 out of 10, in case something better ever comes along.
P.S. I just got the DVD. Even better than the tape. Elsewhere I have read complaints about its technical quality, but I can see nothing wrong with it.