I suppose one can admit that not all films stand the test of time, and some timestamp themselves well while others mark their place in history and leave themselves there. Running On Empty has not only stood the test of time, but takes you into the 80s and lets you explore the relationships between a family focused on a time and place in history, while at the same time, shows us that some things about family will never and have never changed. I first saw Running on Empty on video tape - way back when - and really liked it on every level, from acting by a stellar cast, to writing and direction. This is not a sweeping drama, but rather an every day, every man/woman’s film about what matters most - the love we share with others - in this case family. And a family who gave up one family to save their’s. But with aging and time moving on, the sands of time are shifting again.
River Phoenix (in what I think is his best film) is Danny Pope, the teen son of Annie (Christine Lahti) and Arther (Judd Hirsch) a couple on the run. Their 1970s college/youth activities got them in trouble with the Feds and now in order to avoid prison, they’ve spent years on the run. But time is running out - the Feds are closing in once again and now with two sons in tow, the parents have to decide what’s really important. Danny meets Lorna (Martha Plimpton) falls in love, and...
This cast cannot be beat. The supporting actors are outstanding, the main cast superb. The script is nearly flawless with characters clear, voices true, and subtleties told out at just the right moments.
When Amazon put this one on sale I grabbed it - and already have enjoyed a couple times. This one stays high on my must-watch-again list.