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Film / The Odd Way Home

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The Odd Way Home is an independent film directed by Rajeev Nirmalakhandan and written by Nirmalakhandan and Jason Ronstadt.

Maya (Rumer Willis), a young musician who has just left her abusive boyfriend, steals a delivery truck, which turns out to be the home of Duncan Richards (Chris Marquette), an autistic man whose grandmother has just died. As the two go on a road trip to meet first his father and then hers, they grow to understand each other and form a close friendship.

The Odd Way Home contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Maya's father sexually abused her so severely that she is now incapable of giving birth.
  • And Starring: With Veronica Cartwright and Bruce Altman.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Maya's mother Francine (Veronica Cartwright) shows nothing but relief at her father's death, saying that he "did the world a favor."
  • Attempted Rape: A creepy guy from a bar tries to rape Maya by the truck. Duncan fights him off with a dental pick.
  • "Begone" Bribe: James offers Maya and Duncan a large sum of money to never contact him again.
  • Big Guy Rodeo: During a fight in a diner, Maya jumps on a man's back to stop him from attacking Duncan.
  • Bitch Slap: Maya slaps Duncan for trying to drive off.
  • Bridal Carry: Dave holds Maya like this to comfort her during withdrawal.
  • Childhood Home Rediscovery: Maya revisits her childhood home, a small, run-down house with trash scattered outside.
  • Did You Think I Can't Feel?: James Richards says of Duncan, "He doesn't feel! He doesn't know any better! Quit fooling yourself!" Maya snarls, "You have no idea."
  • Diegetic Switch: The movie cuts from Maya performing "Blind" onstage with an acoustic guitar, to Maya and Duncan driving while a version of the song with more instruments plays in the background.
  • Disappeared Dad: James Richards (Bruce Altman) sends Duncan checks, but hasn't actually contacted him in twenty years. Turns out he's now a respected pastor with a wife and kids who don't know Duncan exists. He's dismayed when Duncan shows up, is clearly embarrassed by him, and does his best to get him to leave as quickly as possible.
  • Does Not Drive: Duncan doesn't know how to drive, which doesn't stop him from trying to drive off with the truck. Maya has to hijack a car, chase after him, and yell instructions.
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off!: In the opening scene, Maya's boyfriend beats her with his belt.
  • Flipping the Bird: Maya's carjacking victim flips her off as he drives away. Duncan mimics the gesture, then asks Maya what it is; she tells him that it means "Fuck you." At the end of the movie, Maya throws her father's ashes off a bridge into a ravine. Duncan flips off the fallen ashes.
  • Going Cold Turkey: Maya and Duncan briefly stay at the home of Dave (Brendan Sexton III), one of her exes. While there, Maya decides to flush the prescription medication to which she is addicted down the toilet. Dave helps her through the withdrawal.
  • Hates Being Touched: Duncan flinches whenever anyone touches him.
  • Lives in a Van: Duncan's grandma has a house, but he prefers to live in a truck in her driveway because "Grandma's walls are too complicated."
  • Name Order Confusion: Duncan addresses Maya's mother as Mrs. Maya.
  • Potty Emergency: When Duncan works as a convenience store clerk, a customer tells him, "I gotta pee like a racehorse." This inspires Duncan to have a dream about a peeing racehorse, which he later draws.
  • Schedule Fanatic: Duncan lives by a series of alarms on his watch, determining everything from when he makes lunch to when he goes to the bathroom.
  • Symbolically Broken Object: After Maya's final argument with Francine, Francine throws Maya's childhood doll into the fire. She plans to do the same with all her photos of Maya and her father.
  • Tantrum Throwing: In the opening scene, Maya's boyfriend smashes glasses against the wall.
  • Victim-Blaming: Francine hates Maya for "stealing" her husband away from her. She blames Maya for everything that's gone wrong with her life, from her loveless marriage to the shabbiness of her house.
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: In the opening scene, Maya's boyfriend snarls, "Look what you made me do to you."
  • Zipping Up the Bodybag: Maya throws a sheet over Duncan's grandma.