Last week, I went to the Indy Film Fest, here in Indianapolis, to see Good Feels on Wheels, a film written and directed by Ronald Short. I’ve written before about Ronald and his filmmaking passion that he’s been pursuing since his teens. While he’s made numerous shorts and a web series, Good Feels on Wheels is his second feature film and will be at other film fests in the near future.
In Good Feels on Wheels, Opal (Stephanie Thoreson) travels to Austin, Texas to meet a long-distance fling and gets stood up. Rather than stay in with the creepy dude she’s renting a room from, she ventures out, gets drunk and ends up sleeping with her rideshare driver. The next morning, he’s gone and Opal awkwardly meets his roommate, Wyatt (Ronald Short). Maybe Wyatt’s a nice guy or into Opal or just feels bad for her, but he invites her to come on his deliveries so she can go out and see all of Austin.
Thing is, Wyatt is delivering marijuana, which leads us to meeting so many colorful characters. There’s the pot dealer, Jenna (Giselle Marie Muñoz), with some primo gummy bears. A sweet, hippie couple that love embarrassing Wyatt. Then there’s a gamer with such a large social media following that Opal has seen his feed, Rickleberrypie420 (Temple Baker). He’s a fun to watch douchebag. And my favorite was, Candace (Peggy Schott) an older woman with a newfound sense of freedom, who perhaps helps Opal steer herself towards happiness. Her scene has a thoughtfully comical twist. All these unique characters feel so fresh and come alive with their almost Tarantino style of conversation.
At the center of this film is Opal, Wyatt and their budding friendship that turns romantic. We watch them and at times it feels more like hanging out than being a fly on the wall. We connect with them, root for them, share in their joys and sorrows. You could hear a pin drop as the audience leaned in and held their breath at their nearly missed opportunity while on mushrooms in the pool.
But more important than romance or recreational drug use, we get a sense of the older-millennial problems Opal and Wyatt are facing Though Opal is trying and working hard, life just isn’t working out like she had planned and the dreams she dared to chase just aren’t fulfilling her. For both, there’s a striking sense of loneliness and wonderlust that often go together here. The themes struck a real chord for me as I suspect they would for others my age.
In the end, Good Feels on Wheels delivers those good feels as promised. It’s partially a love letter to Austin, and wholly a delightfully sweet, warm, character driven film with poignant ups and downs that really hook the audience. I’m so proud of the talented filmmaker Ronald has become and I cannot wait to see what he makes next.
“Uh, one thing I do need to mention before we start, though. My delivery job; it’s kinda, how do you say…illegal.”
For more info on Ronald Short and his latest films check out shortpicturesindependent.com