The Great American Road Trip
Movie: Ice Storm (1997) Starring Kevin Kline and Sigourny Weaver, Directed by Ang Lee Filmed in Greenwich, Connecticut.
First a word about road trips.
“Everybody in this nation, in the Americas, we all are descendants of people who came from the other hemisphere, each of us a descendant of travelers. Movement is in our blood. To speak metaphorically, we seem to carry a travel gene that makes us want to move.” That’s William Least-Heat Moon, author of the great road trip travel literature Blue Highways, talking to CNN for their series on Road Trips.
For the musical background for our trip to Connecticut, Music Road suggests for the Great American Music Trip: a group based in that state.
So as our Great American Road Trip heads out from Massachusetts to Connecticut, we take a look at the part of Connecticut that is a bedroom community for commuters. Of course as you are driving through this New England state, you are going to see some lovely scenery (see the Connecticut Tourism site for suggestions), and drop in on some historic sites, like the Mark Twain house. (Mark Twain pops up a lot in my posts this year because it is the centennial of his death.)
But here’s a look at the non-tourist part of the state.
The movie, Ice Storm, set in 1973, focuses on a couple of dysfunctional families with teen age kids. Is that an oxymoron? Does any family function well when their kids are teenagers? Sorry, I went off track for a moment there, but this movie kind of forces you to think about things like that.
The movie features terrific performances by all the actors–particularly the kids. Elijah Woods, later to become famous in Lord of the Rings, plays a brooding teen and Christina Ricci does the oversexed teen girl, with even more panache than Sigourney Weaver does the bored-with-sex neighbor woman.
You’ll catch some nice Connecticut woodsy scenery. I am attracted to the spare-finely focused movies of Ang Lee, but be warned–this is a brooding, gloomy movie, so it may not be for you.
I found the party scene where everyone throws their car keys in a bowl and goes home with somebody else’s spouse, to be hilarious. Although I was never caught in THAT particular scenario, I lived through that period in the late sixties when everybody was trying really, really hard to be grown-up by being hip and sexually adventurous. It was as difficult for adults to suddenly have different measurements of what it meant to be adult as it is for teens to figure out how deep they want to wade from the comfort of childhood into the the scary waters of adulthood.
So what has this to do with a road trip? Not a lot. Just a reminder that every state has many facets, and the commuter culture of Connecticut is important to recognize. New York has kind of overrun the state and tried to shake the New England out of it, but there are still patches of woods and ponds and ice storms.
Note: This movie was suggested by a reader to represent CT, and since nobody else countered, I took a look and decided to tell you about it. If you know and love Connecticut, you may have some other ideas–please feel free to share. And of course, if you liked this review and others at A Traveler’s Library, I hope you will subscribe to the RSS feed or Subscribe to our site