“I’ve seen the future! And it’s a bald-headed man from New York!” If you’ve ever fantasized about dropping out of society just like “Captain America” and “Billy” in Easy Rider, then this quirky comedy directed by Albert Brooks is for you! Yuppie Los Angeles advertising executive “David Howard” (Brooks) gets passed over for a promotion, insults his boss, gets fired and convinces his wife “Linda” (Julie Hagerty) to quit her job so the couple can use their “nest egg” to find themselves by embarking on an indefinite travel adventure around the country in a Winnebago. Things fall apart quickly when the Howards make a fateful decision to stop in Las Vegas overnight so they can renew their wedding vows in the morning. Linda sneaks off in the middle of the night and gambles away most of their nest egg at the roulette table. With all their dreams shattered and little resources to speak of, the couple finds themselves living in a trailer park in Safford, Arizona. Highlights include David desperately trying to convince the casino manager (Garry Marshall) that the Desert Inn would actually benefit by giving them their money back, the Hoover Dam meltdown scene (“… maybe I just didn’t explain the nest egg well enough …”), David’s visit to the employment agency (“You couldn’t change your life on a hundred thousand a year?”), David getting harassed by a bunch of school kids during his first day as a crossing guard and Linda’s teenage manager “Skippy” of Der Wienerschnitzel hanging out in the Winnebago. Lost in America was co-written by Brooks and Monica Mcgown Johnson. Art Frankel made his film debut at the age of 57 as the employment agent. Also look for Donald Gibb (“Ogre” from Revenge of the Nerds) as the ex-convict who gives Linda a ride and later punches David out at the roadside diner. Bill Murray was reportedly considered for the role of “David.” The film’s soundtrack starts with Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild” and ends with Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.” In a 1999 Playboy interview, Brooks remarked, “I always loved the idea of making a life-long decision and finding out four days later that it was wrong. You know, burning your bridges and then having to eat shit.”
Useless Trivia: Brooks was born “Albert Einstein” (not kidding!) and is the younger brother of “Super Dave Osborne” (Bob Einstein).