Special Events


“Hollywood Comes to Nashville: ‘The Neon Highway’ Red Carpet Premiers at the Belcourt Theatre”

(Article Written By: Jeffrey Kurtis/Cast Photo c/o Terry Wyatt - Getty Images)

(Pictured L-R: William Wages, Director; Ezekiel "Zeke" Bridges, Cast; Sandra Lee-Oian Thomas, Cast; Stratton Leopold, Producer; Beau Bridges, Cast; Pam Tillis, Cast; Rob Mayes, Cast; Lori Berlanga, Co-Producer; T.J. Power, Cast)

Though Nashville is seeing its fair share of eclectic changes as it continues its substantially booming growth spurt, those changes also raise the lure of its most renowned, classic spaces, brushing an aura of yesteryear against the here and now with an unexplainable feeling that carries an unmatched excitement within their vibe.

Tucked in the Hillsboro district, just a drop South from the prestigious Vanderbilt University, sits one of the long-tenured gems that’s been a strong definition of the city’s vibrant arts scene since its inception in 1925…The Belcourt Theatre!

The theatre’s lineage dates to back when silent films ruled their screen, they hosted the first performance of the Children’s Theatre of Nashville, and the famous Grand Ole Opry called this their home stage from 1934-1936.

Today, the Belcourt Theatre stands proudly as the city’s one and only arthouse, hosting a bevy of respected films day in and day out, while on this night, transforming into the hotspot place to be as it delicately balanced the essence of Golden Era Hollywood against the backdrop of the incredible new film from Mountain Movies, The Neon Highway.

With the glitz and glamor of the red-carpet premier being drenched in flashing pops of light from the media all snapping arrival pictures of the film’s stars and contributors, including Beau Bridges, Rob Mayes, Jennifer Bowles, Wilbur Fitzgerald, country music legend Pam Tillis, and more, the theatre held a boast-like glow in the midst of the perfect combination of Hollywood aura and Nashville heart.

All of which makes perfect sense as the film itself carries a focused plot within the full embodiment of the true heartbeat of our amazing city… songwriting!

In a theatre crowded with music hitmakers, top-tier songwriters, touring musicians, and media representatives, a brush of what makes Nashville tick radiated the packed room; so packed with people that adjacent theatre rooms had to be opened to accommodate everyone for the official screening.

Through the story of aspiring songwriter, Wayne (Mayes), repurposing his life into the daily grind after an accident caused him to miss out on his shot in Nashville years prior, a fateful meet-up with country music legend Claude Allen (Bridges) led to a friendship, and working relationship, that reignited the music passion within them both.

As with any well-written film, there’s a trail lined in ups, downs, conflict, and redemption, documenting the cutthroat side of the music industry, clearly resonating with the audience on hand as told by their laughter that said they knew the situation on screen all too well, and the scrunching of their faces at certain points that spoke to how they’d been there too.

With music being the main focus, the songs laced throughout the film naturally become a key-point to moving the story forward as they expertly outline the plot, with its title track providing the similarly thread autobiographies of the main characters to give the overall plot its depth in just three-minutes of well-constructed lyrics. 

Appearances by Pam Tillis, Lee Brice, and Chuck Mead added a layer of musical context to the underbelly of the film, while the aura of Johnny Cash looms large over the top of it as this piece has been 31 years in the making and was originally slated to star “The Man In Black.”

However, as the main plot intriguingly mirrors the stories of the country music legends who have slipped into obscurity and those who almost were finding their redemption together as the outsiders within an industry that once embraced them, the sub plot between Wayne and his guitar-slinging brother Lloyd is not to be overshadowed.

Though they’re shown playing music together in their younger years during the opening scene, their strained relationship seemingly comes back into the story fold out of left field halfway through the film with a crescendo moment that you don’t see coming. Without giving away too much of this substory, the closing final minutes of the film bear striking resemblance to the overall subplot of the classic baseball film Field of Dreams, delivering a tearjerking moment as the credits hit.

Outlined in flashing pops of cameras at the red carpet while the smell of popcorn filled the aroma in the lobby prior to the screening, and accented by a film piece that was met with rousing applause when the old-time radio accented the final credits on the screen, everyone that crowded the theatre aptly provided a beautiful snapshot of Nashville and country music scene in its very essence. 

At its very core, country music is all about family. The ups, downs, and in-betweens of travelling through the various stages of this industry are all too often never going to be understood by people who look at it from the outside in. The hard to describe emotions that impact your journey are only truly relatable to those who are walking it with you. The friends you make, the songwriters you write with, the players you play with, and the peers you surround yourself with, all while carrying extreme individuality within their personalities, become your reliable family on this incredible journey.

The Neon Highway perfectly embraces that core aspect of what makes up that dynamic of the country music industry, certainly vibing within its musical aura throughout the film, but expertly highlighting the need of family to survive the trenches of navigating it.

THE NEON HIGHWAY opens in select cities on March 15, 2024. Follow their official website for more details: https://theneonhighwaymovie.com/




Copyright © 2024 Today's Country Magazine. All Rights Reserved.
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU General Public License.