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A great movie with excellent cinematography and sound (the loud phone rings prove quite effective throughout the movie), "Joyride" takes us along the same vein as "The Hitcher" starring Rutger Hauer.
Paul Walker (as Lewis Thomas)decides to pick up his childhood friend Leelee Sobieski (as Venna) living in Colorado on his way home from college. Since she recently broke up with her boyfriend, Lewis thinks he has a chance with the girl. And he does, but not without some problems.
After buying a used car he sets off, only to call home while on the road and has his sister tell him his wayward brother Steve Zahn (Fuller Thomas) is in jail on drunk driving charges. Since Paul is at Berkley and Steve is in San Diego Paul decides to detour to bail his brother out of jail. Steve decides to come with his brother to pick up Leelee.
On the way to see his future girlfriend, Paul stops for gas only to find that Steve bought him a CB radio at the gas station. Soon the two are on the airwaves talking trucker talk, and before we know it zany Steve starts having fun with a mysterious voice out there on the road known only as Rusty Nail. Steve convinces Paul to talk in a seductive voice and imitate a young woman whom the boys dub as "Candy Cane." Soon Candy has some fun sweet talking lonely Rusty Nail, much to the boys amusement.
But all good things must come to an end, and so the boys call it a night and head for a local hotel room. After a breif encounter with a rude traveling salesman, Steve gets Paul to get on the CB and convince ole' Rusty Nail that Candy Cane wants to meet him at the motel in room 17...the room where the rude salesman is sleeping. Steve can't wait for the fun to begin!
At midnight, the boys listen from the next room (they conveniently have number 18)as a truck pulls up to room 17 and a guy gets out (we don't see his face),knocks on the door, and talks to the angry salesguy, looking for his Candy Cane.....
What follows is some muffled talk and some excellent editing by the director involving the guys listening through the wall and focusing on an ocean picture hanging above them (the lighting is superb in this movie). They call the office for fear of the trucker getting hurt (the salesman is quite big) but come to find out in the morning that the cops are next door looking asking about the victim--the salesman. As large as he is, someone took him from his room, left him for dead on the highway, and took a souvenir...his jaw.
Our boys are freaked out now and end up talking to Rusty Nail on the CB again the next day. It turns out Rusty is following the boys. They drive until the tank is on empty, then pull over for gas at a small gas station only to find a mean looking trucker following them in. The boys quickly leave the store after getting the gas, but the trucker gets in his ice truck and hurries after them. Taking a wrong turn they end up on a deserted road and the ice truck driver confronts them...about forgetting their credit card. Relieved, the boys watch the ice trucker back away, but suddenly a huge semi crashes right through the ice truck, lights blaring and horn honking. After a small chase Rusty Nail starts to crush the boys' car against a tree. Instead of crushing their little car completely, though, Rusty Nail gets on his CB (we never see his face) and asks for an apology. Our boys gladly give one, and Rusty suddenly backs down and takes off. Relieved, the boys chuck the CB out the window, head back to pick up Leelee and promise never to tell her what they did or what happened.
Soon they arrive to pick up Leelee and then take off. Stopping at a local town after a day of driving, the three get drunk at a bar then go to bed. While Paul passes out Steve tries to spend some quality time with Leelee. Suddenly the phone rings and you-know-who wants to meet the REAL Candy Cane, in this case pretty young Leelee. The three bolt out of there and the boys try to explain who Rusty Nail is to Leelee. But while driving on the highway they see several signs spraypainted with a message..."Look.....in......the.....trunk......Lewis!"
Pulling over the gang looks in the trunk and finds not a jaw or a dead body but their old CB radio. Rusty Nail has been following them all along.
He's also kidnapped LeeLee's college friend and is holding her as bait. Rusty has the three stop at a gas station the next morning and by CB instructs the boys to go into the restaurant naked (keep an ear open for how many cheeseburgers they are instructed to order and how many they actually order).
After coming out embarrassed, they keep driving until Rusty Nail has them stop in a deserted cornfield (as opposed to a heavily populated one) and they get out of the car. Too bad Rusty Nail plows behind them in his semi. He stops, takes LeeLee hostage, and takes off again. And as always, we never see his face but instead only hear his country twang voice (it sounds identical to Buffalo "Was she a great big fat person?" Bill of the Silence of the Lamb gang).
Rusty Nail has the boys meet at the next motel while he rigs up Leelee to a chair with a shotgun to her head. As the door opens, the gun is supposed to go off. Of course the boys get to her through the back door just in time before the gun goes off, but not before Rusty has a fight with Steve and jams a rusty pipe into his leg then runs off. And again, we never see his face.
The cops are there by now (Rusty Nail called them earlier to find some "dead bodies") and as the three are outside the motel we see Rusty Nail's truck heading straight for them. The cops fill it full of bullet holes and as it crashes into the hotel we open the door and find Leelee's friend, the college coed, safe and sound. The corpse sitting at the wheel is so full of bullet holes all we see is a bloody mess. The director again chooses not to show Rusty Nail's face.
The boys sit outside the ambulance as the cops bag Rusty Nail's body. The boys ask the cops who they think Rusty Nail was, and the cop who checked Rusty Nail's I.D. replies, "just some trucker working for an ice-truck company..."
We realize that the real Rusty Nail took the ice man's body from earlier in the movie and then stashed it in the front seat and rigged the big semi to drive straight into the hotel. And as the three sit in silence, the ambulance CB comes on, and before the movie ends the last thing we hear is the voice of Rusty Nail, somewhere out on the highway with a new rig, chuckling about how the coming rain will soon make everything clean
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