VOD Releases: From Hollywood To Rose (2018) - Reviewed

If Jim Jarmusch had eloped with Luis Buñuel to LaLa Land, From Hollywood to Rose might well be their honeymoon bijou. But they didn’t, so Liz Graham and Matt Jacobs have stepped in as surrogates to craft an offbeat, quirky and ultimately satisfying flick that combines the episodic structure of Coffee and Cigarettes with the mythic quest-odyssey meanderings of Mexican Bus Ride and The Milky Way. All this while showcasing a motley array of eccentric ne’er-do-wells that were hallmarks of their illustrious predecessors in cinematic surrealism. 

The very title From Hollywood to Rose is derived from the names of destinations on the Los Angeles public-transit system--specifically the nocturnal itinerary taken by an unnamed Miss Havisham-like wraith (Eve Annenberg) in a bridal gown as she flees her wedding venue in Hollywood to ultimate bliss (of sorts) in the surf just off nearby Venice Beach. (Perhaps it is more accurate to describe her as Miss Havisham’s evil twin, for in this case it is the aspiring bride, not the groom, who jilts her would-be spouse.) Along the way, the disheveled bride encounters a menagerie of misfits and assorted miscreants whose salvation--and her own-- is to be found in a naive authenticity that is at once charming and awesome. 

The various characters who cavort with the itinerant bride during her nighttime ramblings include a Chinese woman (Chia Chen) who is bitter because she mistakenly married an aromatherapist when she wanted a doctor; a bus driver (Danny Cleary) who has a meltdown, strips to his shorts and flees the vehicle, abandoning his passengers; a flamboyant gender-bending dude/dudette (Liam Gillen) clad in a Union Jack jumpsuit; and a pair of chubby geek-nerds (Bradley and Maxx Maulion) who argue endlessly with her and each other about 1980s film arcana. 

The star of this cinematic tour de farce, Eve Annenberg, is most noted for writing and directing the 2010 film Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish about a pair of Hasidic youth in New York City who help translate Shakespeare’s play for an emergency-room nurse. In approaching her role in From Hollywood to Rose, Annenberg must have taken to heart the Yiddish term geknipt un gebunden (loosely translated as “everything is connected”), for this film’s ultimate reward is the window it offers into the hidden liaisons and relationships even between anonymous, anomic passengers in the iconic city of automobiles and freeways. 

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-Edward Moran