William H. Macy's directorial debut tells the story of a dad (Billy Crudup) whose son dies during a college shooting incident. Sad Dad Times™ ensue, signified by the three Bs: booze, beard, and (living on a) boat. Then Sad Dad finds Dead Son's old recordings and decides to play his songs, starting a band with Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and Ben Kweller. You'd best believe they fucking rock their local bar's open mic! A movie like this lives or dies by its music, and the songs are kinda maybe okay, but Rudderless can't escape its intrinsic goofiness—there's a scene in which the band plays a punk-rock version of "Wheels on the Bus" that will have the entire theater facepalming. Still, Crudup is worth watching in anything, and the plot's late twist, while unearned and too-casually introduced, is certainly interesting. recommended

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