Lost in America

by Michael Auslin

Mark, maybe Albert Brooks has been the Cassandra of our dystopic future.  His Lost in America (1985) had the same rootlessness at its core, as a couple of yuppies quit the Big Race and settled society, and travel around America in a Winnebago (which, of course, would be impossible on $4 a gallon gas, so the movie would be laughed out of theaters today). It’s been so long since I saw it, I can’t remember the ending (I’m sure Corner readers will supply the ultimate lesson of the film), but his take on the American Dream as a Moveable Feast-cum-nightmare points out both the fantasy of circumventing established communities and the basic impossibility of doing so. And the poster sums it all up: Brooks and his wife (Julie Hagerty) burying their heads in the sand in the middle of desert. Of course, we’re burying our heads in the sand here at home, but it’s hard to think fleeing abroad is the answer. Except on that yacht you visited.

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