As teased on Monday and Tuesday, today I am going to write about a movie called Somewhere in Indiana. This movie was written and directed by Don Boner and released in 2004. I have probably watched this movie 7 or 8 times I think. I found this movie back in the Netflix mails DVDs to you era. I searched Indiana in the search bar, and this gem popped up. This was probably around 2006 or so? It was subsequently streamed on Netflix for a few years. Then it was uploaded to youtube at some point, but that was taken down as well. Now your only options are to watch it on dailymotion or pick up a used DVD off amazon or ebay. Word of warning though: the DVD says that it has director and actor commentary on the case, but that is not true. I have two copies of it and neither have a commentary.
Is this movie good? No. It is a really bad movie. It is not a good story, it fails technically, and it is pretty boring.
Is this a so-bad-it’s-good movie? I believe it is.
Let’s go over some plot details and then I’ll talk about why I think this movie is great. Feel free to skip over the long plot summary if you want. You might miss some D+ jokes, but it is a lot to get through. Be sure to check out the short summary though.
Short plot summary
It is 2003. A guy (Adam) goes on a short vacation to Fairview, Indiana (Eddie Ray’s hometown). Eddie Ray is basically Fake James Dean. He goes on this trip with three people (Sam, Dan, and Jane) he met on an Eddie Ray fan website. They almost run over a fifty-ish year old guy in a leather jacket (Roy), who joins them on their trip.
All of the people have their issues, and Roy is like a magic figure who helps them with their problems. Adam has an affair with Jane, but then decides he likes his family better. Dan gets over his dead wife by drag racing against Roy. Roy tells Sam to admit to himself that he is gay, and he does. Jane talks to her dad and she stops blaming him for her mother’s death.
It is teased that maybe this Roy character is a ghost, and probably the ghost of Eddie Ray. It turns out that he is a ghost (I think), but it is the ghost of Eddie Ray’s cousin (I think).
(Very) Long Plot Summary
Part 1 - Where we meet our heroes
The movie starts off with a trailer for a TV show about Eddie Ray’s life that is poorly done. Then we meet our protagonist, a mopey guy named Adam shoveling snow. Long story short, Adam lost his job. Adam met some people on an Eddie Ray fansite. They organized a trip to Fairview, Indiana to see Eddie Ray’s grave and an Eddie ray museum.
Now we meet the three other characters who are going on the trip.
Sam is a young awkward dude that wears white buttoned-up short sleeve shirts. In a recurring theme, his mom really doesn’t want him to go to Indiana, like he is going to Vegas or Mardi Gras or somewhere that is not one of the most boring places in the world. His mom is playing an offensive Jewish stereotype.
Dan is like 25 or so. His wife Tabitha recently died. Dan’s friend comes over to try to persuade Dan not to take a short vacation to Indiana. Dan’s friend has one of the best speeches in the movie here. He is yelling at Dan as if he is trying to stop him from swallowing a bottle of aspirin instead of going away for a weekend.
Jane is at her mom’s grave with her dad. She asks her dad “Did mom know?” Three seconds later another guy shows up and hugs her dad for a long time. So Jane was asking her dad if her mom knew he was gay.
Adam drives to Indianapolis form Cincinnati while some flashbacks play. One of them is to show he and his wife Rita are having issues. Rita thinks he is going on this trip to bang Jane, who is younger than him. Adam mentions that Rita apparently had an affair. All women are awful and if guys cheat on their wives it’s only because they were cheated on first. Not that Adam is going to cheat on his wife or anything later.
Adam and his daughter watch the TV show about Eddie Ray, which is narrated by Dorothy Rainwater, who has an accent not unlike Sofia Vergara. We get to see Adam getting the tape out of a cabinet, then loading the tape into the VCR, turning on the TV and then starting the video. Not quite sure that was necessary.
Adam picks up Sam, Dan, and Jane at the airport and it shows Adam unlocking the back door of his van, opening it, and then putting their luggage up. They go to the “arts neighborhood” to get some food. The scene in the cafe has the worst sound of any scene in the movie; there is a very loud droning hum going on the whole time. They all give more background info. The terrible sound is really the only interesting thing about this scene.
They go to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, or so they say. They drive in the area around the speedway, then they are shown getting back in the car across the street from the speedway. So apparently they already went there and are done with it. They obviously do not have permission to film the speedway. Jane puts her hand on Adam’s stomach area in a seductive manner. The sound in this scene is just as bad as the previous scene. It is windy outside, but this makes it sound like a hurricane is ripping through Indianapolis.
They all talk in the van and Jane says her dad is gay and black and used to be in the military. Her mom was “Asian”, and her family was in an internment camp in WW2. Then they show a short scene from the Eddie Ray doc from earlier and then they jump right back into people talking in the van.
Part 2 - A Mysterious Stranger Appears
The van almost hits some dude who is walking on the side of the road. He is like 50 years old and has a leather jacket. He is like the Fonz of this movie. He says he is going to his hometown of Fairview. They offer him a ride and he hops in the van. Adam asks him his name, and the guy says, “Some people call me Roy.” What a jerk response to a simple question.
Roy starts asking questions of Dan. Dan says he is a Muslim because his dad bought him a car. His wife was killed in a convenience store robbery. In a flashback, Dan’s friend basically tells Dan that he needs to move on from his dead wife and quit being so sad.
Roy yells at Adam to stop the van. They go to an empty Drive-In Theater. Roy throws rocks at the screen. Adam talks to the owner of the theater. The owner just starts talking about the history of the Drive-In and some kids died in a car wreck after watching Rebel Without a Reason (an Eddie Ray joint). He does this for seemingly no reason at all. It probably won’t matter.
Back in the van Adam says “Hey, uh, why don’t we stop and get something to eat?” And then they immediately check into the hotel for night. Hotel lady says the pork producers took one of their rooms. Adam says, “We have five people now, so what do we do?” and the hotel lady says, “I thought you might pick up an extra person.” WHAT? In what world do hotel clerks expect people staying to find random people to also stay with them on their way to the hotel?
Dan accuses Sam of being gay in their hotel room, and Sam says, “I’ve been with plenty of women. They beg for mercy.”
Anyway, so Jane and Adam decide to stay in a room together. Adam is wearing a worn-out t-shirt with holes in it like a true bum. Roy is supposed to be staying in their suite with them, but he is nowhere to be found. Interesting.
There is a paper sign on a post that says this is the Fairview Poetry Corner. Like three people are standing there watching this some tall guy recite a poem. Roy meets up with the group and tells them to listen to this poet instead of rudely standing nearby and talking about breakfast. The camera is right up in this dude’s face for some reason. Anyway, the movie stops for a couple minutes while this guy reads a poem. The poem ends with “Now maybe you can tell me what a hundred grand looks like.”
They are in a restaurant and Sam tells the waitress, “I’m from Got A Big One, wanna see?” The waitress pretty much says that she is not offended by that because Sam is obviously gay. Sam yells at her. Sam then says that Dan has the hots for the waitress at the coffee shop they went to yesterday for some reason.
Part 3 - Roy fixes everyone but Adam
Roy shows up and challenges Dan to a drag race using two cars that are parked on the street. Dan protests that they can’t just take cars off of the street and drag race them, but Roy says he talked to the owners and it is okay. Roy is taunting Dan and says that Dan’s dad would disown him if he didn’t race.
So now they are at the drag stip and they race. They are in two classic cars and it doesn’t seem like they go very fast. Roy has fixed Dan by forcing him to drag race.
A random guy is playing a song with a guitar where the poet’s corner was. Our characters from the movie stand beside him and sing backup for some reason. The sounds is not terrible, so we know that this is a studio recording of a song and they are lip-synching. Some guy limping by gives the singer a dollar.
Back at the hotel, Adam and Jane drink wine and then do the hunka-chunka. It is a very awkward scene that involves some heavy breathing with the camera tastefully in the next room. This scene just absolutely stops the movie dead in its tracks. It’s so long and boring. But let’s not that Adam is a bad guy for having an affair, because his wife cheated on him first as we all remember. So he deserves to do it with a younger woman and his wife can’t be mad about it.
Roy meets them for breakfast and then tells Jane that he needs to talk to her privately while what sounds like Nintendo game music plays on the soundtrack. Roy tells Jane that it’s no big deal that she did the horizontal hula with Adam. Roy gets Jane to talk about her mother.
FLASHBACK to the night her mom died. Jane was five years old, her dad and mom are having a fight while Nintendo music plays. Jane’s dad is apologizing to her mom. Her mom jogs out of the house and gets in car wreck and dies.
Back in the restaurant with the Nintendo music loudly playing, Jane tries to cry and says she hates her dad. Roy tells her to call her dad. Roy tries to cry as well. Jane calls her dad and tells him that he murdered her mom. The dad tells Jane that she was an accident and he was always gay. He then pretty much accuses her mom of date rape. Her dad tries to cry. Jane and her dad now love each other and everything is fine.
So Roy has fixed two people, but Sam and Adam still need his help. So Roy takes Sam into a restaurant for a chat. Roy tells Sam that he is gay and he needs to come out of the closet. Sam says that maybe he is bisexual, like maybe kind of gay. Roy will have not of that. Roy is old so I guess he is more set in his ways that if you are gay you are 100% gay and that is it. This scene is pretty funny, but I think it is supposed to be more heartwarming than it is. No one tries to cry at least. Sam admits he is gay, so he has now been fixed by Roy.
The crew goes out to Eddie Ray’s grave. Sam tells everyone he is gay and no one seems to care. Jane says, “Surprise, surprise,” and Adam says, “Good for you” like he does not care at all. What a bunch of great friends. They manage to find what looks like a pretty new “RAY” headstone. I wonder if Don Boner started at the cemetery looking at the names on the graves and then named the character after the grave. The headstone has no other info on it other than “RAY”.
They play a clip from an Eddie Ray movie where his mother is a prostitute. I don’t know what relevance this has at this point in the movie, but whatever. It’s a really long scene with peppy piano music loudly playing in the background.
The group goes to the Eddie Ray museum. It’s an old house with a motorcycle in it. Roy looks at the motorcycle and fast-cutting flashbacks to earlier scenes in the movie play. An old lady yells at Adam and she seems like she has dementia. She says that Roy looks familar. She asks Roy if he is going to take her away, but he says it is not her time yet. I guess Roy is the Grim Reaper? The daughter of the old lady says that she has dementia, but she is not that old. She looks pretty old to me. Roy tries to cry.
A museum lady shows up to say that the old lady was Eddie Ray’s cousin, and she is the last living person in Fairview who knew Eddie Ray. Museum lady says that some people say there is a curse on the town and people died young who knew Eddie Ray.
Part 3 - Roy fixes Adam
Adam is still broken and the movie is almost over. So they stop at a gas station and Roy talks to Adam. Soundtrack music plays louder than anything has been in the movie so far. Adam accuses Roy of being Eddie Ray’s ghost. Roy says he is dumb for thinking that. In one shot it looks like they are standing like 12” from each other’s faces which seems like too close. Roy gives a lame speech about how life is short and you should treasure it. He tells Adam that the answers he is looking for are inside of him. Adam now realizes that he loves his family for some reason.
Roy shakes Adam’s hand and says that he has to go. Roy also says that nobody will remember him except for maybe in their dreams. Adam accuses him of being Eddie Ray’s ghost again. Roy says, “You can’t find the answers in Fairview. Fairview is just another small town, SOMEWHERE IN INDIANA.” Then they look to the side and a bright light appears in the corner of the screen (cgi!). Then Roy disappears and they didn’t even stay on the same shot when he disappeared, which is like the easiest special effect ever. They switch angles at the same time he disappears, which is lame.
The group leaves to go back to Indianapolis. Jane tells Adam to give his wife a kiss for her? I think she was just saying that the affair was a mistake, but that was weird.
Part 4 - The mystery you didn’t care about is solved
Adam stops the van. The owner of the drive-in is on the side of the road with car trouble. He tells Adam his car is fine, but then just starts talking about the kids that died in the wreck that was discussed earlier. He says he dug up some old newspaper clippings, and he goes into great detail about this wreck. It’s real weird because Adam never really seemed to care about this wreck. This owner is obsessed with it, but didn’t know any of the details when he first talked to Adam about it. Anyway.
So very long-story short, a kid named Roy was in the wreck but survived. But Roy wasn’t his real name, it was just a nickname because he like to play cowboys and had a toy gun set. And this info was in the paper in an article about a fatal car wreck? It explained why they called this kid Roy? And the owner then says that the boy was in the hospital for months, and he isn’t sure if he recovered or not. The owner thinks the boy recovered, but he doesn’t know. And then he says that he was a lucky boy. The boy that was in a car wreck that had to stay at a hospital for months and may or may not have recovered was a lucky boy?
Adam asks the drive-in owner if he remembered when Roy threw rocks at his screen the other day, and the owner says that there was no one else there. Then he tells Adam that they should have come in September for the annual Eddie Ray Festival. Why didn’t they do that?
Then a really loud kind of 90s ish song plays as they drive away in the van. There is audible clipping, which is pretty bad and they had managed to avoid until the very end of the movie.
Epilogue - a year later:
Adam is working as a freelance copywriter and marketing consultant. So he still doesn’t really have a job. His wife is pregnant; I assume Adam is the father and not the dude she had an affair with.
“Sam was promoted to shift supervisor.”
“Dan is engaged.”
“Jane has an apartment, a cat, and a lover. In that order of importance.”
Roy hops into a convertible with Eddie Ray and a terrible rockabilly type song is played at a high volume. They drive off. THE END
Why Somewhere in Indiana is a good bad movie
Most no-budget dramas are really boring. Somewhere in Indiana has some boring parts, but it is a short movie, clocking in at 87 minutes. There is enough here to make fun of and discuss with your pals that you can get through the boring parts.
This is a poorly made film. The visuals are bad, and the audio is bad. Watching this movie, it occured to me that there are so many close ups because they were using the on-camera mic to record the sound. That would explain why the sound is awful as well. But I found this behind the scenes video on youtube, and they have an external mic. So they are just bad at this.
Somewhere in Indiana lacks the goofy special effects of a Birdemic or Suburban Sasquatch, and it lacks the pure insanity of The Room. Nevertheless, it has a lot of great insane dialogue and keeps you guessing from scene to scene how they will screw it up. Will it be a weird angle right in someone’s face? Will a person’s entire face be in the shot, or only up to their forehead? Will it be a static shot of three people, but with one person just cut in half at the edge of the frame? Will it be poorly recorded original music or something that sounds like it belongs on a Final Fantasy knock-off? What is causing the terribly loud background noise in this particular scene? Is it okay to have an affair if your wife had an affair? (yes)
I recently watched the 2014 movie The Judge starring Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall. It supposedly takes place in Indiana (but wasn’t filmed there), is way too long, and sucks.
I also recently watched the 2004 movie Somewhere in Indiana. It actually takes place in Indiana, is short, and it is great.
It is a great bad movie that was written and directed by Don Boner.
So check it out here. If you are at work and can’t watch it now, quit your job and watch it.