"The best third baseman who never made it to the show"
Along for the Ride
Review by Ross Anthony

A man in a wheel chair sits mouth-open watching a baseball game on TV. The commentary is Spanish, but his thoughts are in English. In English he gets excited by a well-hit ball and passes into a heart attack. This event brings together his two estranged and very different sons. In a 1979 Cadillac convertible they traverse the Mexican deserts in search of an appropriate place to bury their father and (if they're lucky) their own unsettled family issues.

Ninety percent of this picture is filmed in or around that Cadi, but very good dialogue keeps the ride interesting. Terry, the older brother, ex-big-league pitcher, condescends to his younger less ambitious, more natural, but repressedly angry little bro, "You could be in God's pocket and still find something to bitch about." Vance replies, "I'd probably choke on the lint." Then later defending his relaxed view of life while taking a stab at Terry, "Without a catcher to tell you what to pitch you're lost ... you don't have a game plan."

Some strong scenes grace this quite ride:

  1. Vance faces his dead father kept "fresh" in a Cantina's freezer. His earlier crassness melts at first glance of his cold-hearted dad, which prompts a speech that hits home. He cries over the lost memory of his mother, "Where did it go? What did you do with it?"
  2. Terry misreads Vance's rush to bury the corpse, "I see how you're all broken up." Vance retorts, "I see how you ain't shoveling."
  3. A very well acted, well-directed, well-scripted tire repair scene.
  4. Jake and Terry's dream on the mound. A B&W TV screen fills the strike box with snow.
  5. Final Burial scene.


  1. Maria doesn't need to repeat everything in English.
  2. The batting challenge scene near the end looks great on film and has obvious appeal, but needs quite a bit more care in its build up. As is, sticks out rather unnaturally in a film that flows well.
  3. That goes for the following pistol whipping scene. Good drama, could have been worked in better. And Vance's character would have tossed that gun out in the desert the instant Terry put it in his hand.
  4. Finally, the inserted scenes of Maria waiting on the porch are a bit awkward, I'd have had her looking at a baby picture of Vance, or smelling the old uniforms. And her ending sigh "Yes" ought to have been even subtler.

Technically speaking the grainy 35 feels warm on the big screen and an earlier audio muffle gets corrected swiftly, leaving the film in very good shape. Nicely edited and directed. Vance (Dylan Haggerty) and Jake (J. E. Freeman) deliver strong emotional performances.

  • Along for the Ride. Copyright © 2001.
  • Starring Randall Batinkoff, Dylan Haggerty, J. E. Freeman, Jenny Gago, Pepe Serna.
  • Directed by Bryan Simon.
  • Written by Jim Moores.
  • Produced by Jim Moores at Montivagus.

Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:21:13 PDT