Switchback (1997)

Jeb Stuart has written or co-written some of the biggest movies ever — Die HardLock UpThe FugitiveJust Cause and Another 48 Hrs. He also wrote an early draft of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull called Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men from Mars.

In 1997, he made his directorial debut with this film, whose negative critical reception led to him semi-retiring from filmmaking for over a decade. In 2010, he wrote, produced and directed Blood Done Sign My Name, adapted from the autobiography of author and historian Timothy Tyson.

Dennis Quaid is Special Agent Frank LaCrosse, who has been tracking the serial killer who took his son to get him off the case. That brings him to Amarillo, where he meets Sheriff Buck Olmstead (R. Lee Ermey) and police chief Jack McGinnis (William Fichtner), who are battling over the election. While all that is going on, Dr. Lane Dixon (Jared Leto) is picked up by Bob Goodall (Danny Glover), a drifter driving a white Cadillac filled with cheesecake photos.

The path to discovering who the killer is takes a long time, but this feels like a movie more concerned with the small things. I love Ermey and Fichtner is just about everything they ever did, but this film adds on to the character actor greatness by giving you Ted Levine, Walton Goggins and Maggie Roswell (Maude Flanders from The Simpsons and Donna from Midnight Madness).

Amazingly, Steven Seagal was almost the lead in this movie, which would have totally changed everything. It was originally called Going West In America, too.

Spoiler: This is only the second movie where I’ve seen Danny Glover as the bad guy. The other is Witness.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime and Tubi.

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