Sam and Amber Jaeger in the roadtrip movie, "Take Me Home."

Sam and Amber Jaeger in the road trip movie, “Take Me Home.”

With season of summer road trips almost upon us, here is a movie that is a reminder of what it’s like to discover oneself and a kernel of truth about life along the open road.  “Take Me Home,” is an independent film gem that I discovered while browsing Netflix options for a Friday stay at home movie night. The yellow cab in the background of the cover shot caught my attention. The tag line: A Comedy about a Road Less Traveled cinched it. What a treat.

Take Me Home posterWritten and directed by Sam Jaeger, that oh, so lovely actor who played Joel Graham on NBC’s Parenthood, “Take Me Home” is about a man down on his luck and a woman looking for an escape from a life that’s not going all that well. Thom, played by Jaeger, illegally drives a NYC cab he owns to make money when he needs it, and Claire, played by Amber Jaegar, Sam Jaeger’s in real life wife has suffered a setback. She hails his cab one night after work and the adventure begins. Claire tells Thom, “Keep driving,” and promptly falls asleep. With thoughts of a big fare in his head, Thom smiles and heads out of Manhattan.

When one wakes up in Pennsylvania, you might as well keep going. The pair heads to California to see Claire’s ailing father who has had a heart attack. She hasn’t seen him for years and he’s dying. Since Claire is afraid of flying, Thom is her best option to get there even though she has an inkling his cab driver cred is sketchy. As she discovers, Thom’s passion is photography and along the way, he snaps photos of iconic scenery like the Grand Canyon with a few shots of Claire tossed in.

As with any road trip movie, there’s a series of set backs that lead to some funny scenes. For example, if you end up broke and are hungry, keep in mind free hotel breakfast buffets. With a small pull behind suitcase, you can load up even if you aren’t a paying guest. Pre-packaged muffins pack well.

“Take Me Home’s” Ohio movie connection was an extra find.  On I-71 to the north and south of Columbus there are two discount outlet malls that draw people from all over the state. The one in Lodi, about 4o minutes south of Cleveland, was used for a significant scene. The Jaegers met while in college at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. It’s great to see how where one has spent time influences one’s art.

Although the movie, released in 2011 by Monterey Media, won several awards at film festivals across the United States, I had never heard of it. This charming film, particularly for those who thrive on stopping in local diner type restaurants in between driving past fields of rolled hay bales, and vast scenery that stretches for miles as thoughts meander with the scenery, is a must see.

Any traveler will appreciate the ending where Thom’s passion for capturing his surroundings pays off.

Post courtesy of Jamie Rhein. Photos courtesy of Monterey Media.