The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Anchor Bay - 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 90 minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Justin Timberlake, Kate Mara, Mary Steenburgen, Harry Dean Stanton, Ted Danson, Lyle Lovett
Written & Directed by: Michael Meredith
Music by: Charlie Sexton
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 17, 2009
"They've got a long way to go"
In this heartwarming comedy, minor leaguer Carlton Garrett (Justin Timberlake) must track down his estranged father, legendary pro-athlete Kyle Garrett (Jeff Bridges), when Carlton's mother (Mary Steenburgen) becomes sick. Knowing his father's likelihood to disappoint, Carlton enlists his ex-girlfriend Lucy (Kate Mara) for emotional support. Years of miscommunication, frustration and comically awkward attempts at bonding come to a head as the mismatched trio make their way home from Ohio back to Houston to reunite their family.
Kyle (Bridges) is a hall of fame baseball star from Houston whose fame is only preceded by his egotism. He has long since shed his familial connection to his ex-wife Katherine and son Garrett. Garrett (Timberlake) is a minor league baseball with potential but his play of late has put him at risk of losing his starting position. His mother Katherine (Steenburgen) falls ill and winds up in the hospital with a heart defect that requires surgery. She summons Garrett and asks him to find Kyle and bring him to the hospital before she will agree to the surgery. Garrett with his ex-girlfriend (now friend) Lucy along for moral support heads across country to locate Kyle who is at a baseball trade show. They find him and the tension/resentment between he and Garrett is obvious as Garrett attempts to convince him to return with them. Kyle relents but loses his wallet, leaving them unable to fly so they must drive across country. The opportunity gives Kyle and Garrett a chance at reconciliation although that proves easier said than done. As if things aren't bad enough for Garrett, Lucy divulges that she is considering a recent marriage proposal from her current boyfriend, which leaves his still unresolved feelings for her in limbo. The cross country trip is filled with a series of ups and downs that leave Garrett, Kyle and Lucy reflecting upon the decisions in their lives that lead them to this point.
Writer/director Michael Meredith's attempts at conveying a convincing portrayal of the emotions felt by these characters falls short. The film opens and abruptly jumps into the story without providing any background on the relationship between the family of Garrett, Kyle and Katherine. This makes it hard to empathize with Garrett. There is never any real explanation for Katherine's inexplicable need to have Kyle come to her bedside before the operation although later there is a moment (too late in my opinion) that they later share which offers some feeling regarding their past relationship. Lastly there is the Lucy/Garrett subplot that felt like an unnecessary addition. I think that this story is meant to be a poignant one which speaks toward our failures as human beings since we are imperfect and capable of making bad choices in life. Garret's heart clearly isn't in playing baseball, and Kyle's inability to cope with the pressures/responsibility that comes along with being a husband and father. There were moments in the film that I liked where these points were highlighted but on a whole I honestly never felt a connection to the story or the characters. Kyle isn't well written and is generally unlikeable which left Jeff Bridges with little to work with. Justin Timberlake and Kate Mara didn't have much in the way of onscreen chemistry and his scenes with Jeff Bridges weren't overly convincing either. Mary Steenburgen is a fine actress but she had such a small role that she contributed little. In the end I felt that the film's shallow plot and underdeveloped characters left me feeling indifferent and unaffected by it.
The rating is for language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The open road comes to Blu-ray Disc from Starz/Anchor Bay featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 3.4 mbps.
This video presentation offered good high definition quality that was consistent with a newer release film. Images were rendered cleanly with crisp definition and stable sharpness. Colors were bright with vibrant tonality and naturally pleasing depth. Complexions were delineated with lifelike texture and subtle highlights. Black and contrast levels struck a good balance so that bright scenes were punchy and dark scenes had appreciable depth and discernible detail in shadows. Dialogue was produced with excellent room penetration and descriptive intonation. It was anchored to the center channel and retained a position of prominence within the front soundstage. As this is predominantly a dialogue driven film there really wasn't much call for lots of surround activity however the music score played back over the entire system along with ambient background details that broadened the sound field. I thought that it mated well with the source material and sounded fine.
- (HD) Behind the scenes of Open Road - 6 minute featurette
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
- (HD) BD previews: Last chance Harvey, Mad money, Spread
The open road is described as a heartwarming comedy. It had its moments but never rose to a level that I found especially comedic or heartwarming. It isn't a bad film but it lacks the strength to touch the audience on a gratifying level. Its high definition presentation on Blu-ray from Anchor Bay HE features solid video quality and lossless sound. The bonus features are notably lacking in quantity and quality but on a positive note are offered in high definition. If you are a fan of this one feel free to pick it up otherwise try and catch it when it airs on cable TV.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package