Kwik Stop

Michael Gilio / United States, 2001 / 111 min. / 35mm / English

From Chicago writer-director Michael Gilio comes a fresh and fanciful Midwestern spin on the road movie, bizarre and touching in its raw portrayal of youthful exuberance and emotional immaturity. Kwik Stop focuses on drifters both young and old, poignantly trying to shortcut their way to happiness as they roll through washed out small towns and lives saturated with despair.

Mike (Michael Gilio) is an aspiring actor on his way to Hollywood. He makes one last stop near his hometown at a Kwik Stop, where teenage local Didi (Lara Phillips) catches him shoplifting and blackmails him into letting her come along to California. The two of them spend their first night together in the honeymoon suite of a roadside motel, where they smoke pot, have sex, and proclaim deep love for one another. When Didi wakes up in an empty room the next morning, Mike and Didiís tumultuous journey has truly begun.

Their journey, moreover, turns out to be much more circular than either of them had planned. Far from making a beeline for Hollywood, the two canít quite make it out of the Midwest. And, far from progressing towards some kind of emotional maturity together, Mike and Didi seem stuck in a childís fairytale, trapped by their own insecurities and lack of perspective. Things are complicated by a botched house robbery, when Didi is caught and forced to serve time in Juvenile prison. Mike enlists a former girlfriend, Ruthie, to help him spring Didi, but cannot seem to get free of his won emotional hang-ups.

Young and old, male and female, all of the characters in Kwik Stop are emotionally starving. Love, more of a short-term fix than a long-term commitment, seems to be their only nourishment. The film is effective in the parallel it draws, with love serving roughly the same function for its emotionally wounded as hard liquor for its alcoholics. Led by the effusive Didi, Gilioís characters are connected by an inability to reign in their passions, in unwillingness to filter their dreams through any kind of realistic lens. This makes them endearing and innocently fun at times, but also leads to heartbreak and pain. Both touching and unpredictable, Gilioís quirky characters and fresh situations leave an indelible mark.

Michael Gilio began his career writing and acting in the Windy City. He graduated from Columbia College in Chicago and made a name for himself most notably when he co-starred with Sidney Poitier in To Sir With Love 2, directed by Peter Bogdanovich, and in Only in America: The Life and Crimes of Don King with Ving Rhames. He also acted in a film about his hometown, Love and Action in Chicago, with Kathleen Turner and Jason Alexander. He has guest starred on numerous TV shows, including Chicago Hope and The Profiler.

Filmography: First Feature Film

Producer: Rachel Tenner
Screenplay: Michael Gilio
Cinematography: David H. Blood
Editor: Chris McKay
Sound: Robert McNaughton
Art Direction: Tricia OíConnell, Rebekah Wiest
Principal Cast: Lara Phillips, Michael Gilio, Rich Komenich, Karin Anglin, Pat McCartney
Production Company: Rachel Tenner/Michael Gilio
Print Source: Kwikstop LLC, 28 W. Hubbard St., Suite 2E Chicago, IL 60610 T: 312-527-0665 Fax: 312-527-9085