The road movie habitually promotes two narrative situations. In the first, one or more goal-oriented protagonists take off as a means to escape, either from pursuers (A Perfect World, 1993; True Romance, 1993) or from a hitherto boring lifestyle (Five Easy Pieces, 1970; lost in America, 1985). In the second, one or more protagonists seek to “find themselves” existentially, either through sex (Something Wild, 1986), violence (Natural Born Killers, 1994), or by messing with nature (Easy Rider, 1969). In utilizing these stock situations, the road movie differentiates itself from other genres by defining distinct parameters of action and by aspiring to complete a particular emotional trajectory. The progression is toward a unified and fulfilling subjectivity. Road movie logic maintains that the further you drive from civilization the more easily you can shake off its constraints, the more people you leave behind the closer you can get to yourself. Typically, such narratives either promise that social pressures will evaporate into thin air, or else they encourage indulgence in the solitary contemplation of inner space.
These generic aspirations are extremely unstable, however, as the road movie everywhere presents contradictory impulses. It could be argued that a road movie isn't a road movie if it doesn't testify to the impossibility of the existential project, because setting off onto the highway necessarily entails the transportation of significant amounts of cultural baggage. In other words, the myths of escape and self-discovery are chimerical, just two more mirages along the way - other people always end up tagging along. Road movies would be less interesting than they are if they didn't offer a variety of quirky characters to be intrigued by, which is one reason why the genre has thrown up so many buddy films, and why tales