Box of Moonlight: Tom DiCillo’s Comedy Starring John Turturro

In Tom DiCillo’s Box of Moonlight, Al Fountain (John Turturro), an uptight engineer, finds himself with a few days to spare in the middle of nowhere. He hires a car and drives around in circles, encountering along the way a variety of oddballs who show him how wonderful life could be.

A central, fateful encounter ensues with the mythical Kid (Sam Rockwell), who wears a Davy Crockett hat, lives in a glade, swims in the nude. Inexplicably, and with only a few contacts with his loyal wife and lazy boy back home, Al stays with Kid and learns to enjoy mashed-up Hydrox cookies for breakfast.

The movie recalls such 1980s yuppie-angst films as Something Wild or After Hours, in which squares are loosened up by outsiders preaching “hippie wisdom” to them.

With its magical touches– fairground lights, a deer head on the seat of a car, an axe-wielding priest–Box of Moonlight is meant to be a whimsical romp, but it’s asking the audience to believe in the credibility of a brilliantly eccentric actor like Turturro embodying Everyman in Middle America.