Off the Map

Rated PG-13 2005

The Groden family (Sam Elliott, Joan Allen, and Valentina de Angelis) lives out in the middle of the New Mexico desert, far from main roads. They grow, harvest, and/or kill all their own food, own their own home, and make what little money they need from crafts. They've got no phone or indoor plumbing, and they haven't paid taxes in several years. Since no one else is around, they can even walk around naked with impunity. Elliott's character is depressed, Allen's is a hippie Hopi, and de Angelis is an insufferably precocious child. Not much actually happens, though the arrival of a naive taxman (Jim True-Frost) shakes things up a bit. The film's only other major character is George, a laconic redneck played by J.K. Simmons. A far cry from his hyperactive shtick as J. Jonah Jameson in the Spider-Man movies, Simmons plays it understated, conveying a sad-sack quality that's more relatable than Charley's irrational catatonia. The movie should have been about him instead.

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Off the Map

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