Carted to Alabama under the cloud of dark politics, a band drew a glistening straight line from punk to country to soul to grand theater. On November 8th, the day after the 2016 election, Welsh-bred, Chicago-based musician and visual artist Jon Langford and a crew of merry-makers and alchemists filed into the NuttHouse studio, a one-story former bank building in Sheffield, Ala. (population 9,039). The musicians from Chicago, Nashville, Los Angeles, and just over the Tennessee River bridge made the pilgrimage to a place of legend and myth, where music runs as deep as the river’s current, to see what might come of it all.
Director Ron Underwood follows up his crowd-pleasing hit City Slickers (1991) with this likable, feel-good comedy drama about a selfish businessman who discovers that he's permanently being followed by a group of ghosts. In 1959, a bus accident links the spirits of four fatally injured passengers to a newborn baby whose birth is caused by the crash. For 25 years, Milo (Tom Sizemore), Harrison (Charles Grodin), Penny (Alfre Woodard) and Julia (Kyra Sedgwick) remain bound to Thomas Reilly (Robert Downey Jr.), who believes the quartet to be imaginary childhood friends that have long since disappeared. When the four spooks suddenly realize that they are meant to use Thomas as a conduit to bring closure to their unfinished corporeal lives, they reemerge, causing Thomas to think that he's gone insane. As he becomes reattached to his supernatural companions, however, Thomas' innate decency asserts itself and he begins helping them to right the wrongs in their lives, allowing them to possess his body to achieve their goal of settling accounts and moving on into the afterlife.