Lost in America
A Film by Albert Brooks
New Books Network 2023
“What makes something funny” is difficult to articulate, but Mike and Dan try with one of their favorite comedies, Albert Brooks’ Lost in America. His 1985 film about married professionals who yearn to hit the road (like they saw in Easy Rider) works because there’s nothing to rescue the viewer from the awkwardness and downward spiral of every scene. The characters’ conflicts and anxieties are hilarious—just not to them. Many of us have yearned to start life anew in a world elsewhere or live like Thoreau at Walden Pond; Lost in America cures us of that in ninety minutes. So bet the whole nest egg on 22—and after you lose it all, give us a listen as you cross the country in your RV!
Albert Brooks’ satiric novel, 2030, imagines an America in which cancer has been cured, global warming is an acknowledged reality, and people have robot companions. All seems perfect until the events of a single day change everything. This collection of interviews with Brooks examines his feature films and the challenges of making them. And if you feel like dropping out like David and Linda but can’t buy an RV, you can always read Walden instead.