MovieChat Forums > NomadlandΒ (2020) Discussion > "Nomadland" and the Tradition of The Ame...

"Nomadland" and the Tradition of The American "Road Movie"

There is a tradition in American film called "the road movie," and Nomadland is well within it. About Schmidt is on point here because the lead is widowed(there, a man played by Jack Nicholson; here a woman played by Frances McDormand), but the difference indeed is that Jack was well off and travelling in a fairly luxurious motorhome; Frances is borderline destitute and travelling in a pretty beat up van. Still, Nomadland proves you can have roughly the same experience with far less money.

Other road movies include:

Easy Rider
Vanishing Point
Scarecrow(with Gene Hackman and Al Pacino)
Five Easy Pieces
Two Lane Blacktop(with James Taylor)
Slither(with James Caan)
Sideways(though they pretty much stay in one area)

and yes,

Lost in America

I saw Wild but I can't recall -- doesn't the lead character there mainly HIKE away from civilization?

Many of those movies "up top" shared with Nomadland the use of real people and documentary like footage. I'd say to the extent that Nomadland goes to a different place, it is in the idea that this road trip is...forever. The lead character isn't "going home" when the trip is over -- the van IS home. As McDormand tells someone: "I'm not homeless...I'm just houseless."

Although that's not necessarily the way it turns out. No need for SPOILERS here.



Also read several REVIEWS and one of them suggest that the COVID VIRUS has placed much of the population into the same kind of situation as FERN was back in 2008 when things went BUST because of the way things had been MISMANAGED.

In other words, they also predict that they'll be an INCREASE in NOMADS roaming the country due to the VIRUS.


Where can I find them???

Read the PLOT SUMMARY at WIKIPEDIA so perhaps that's what you mean about the way it turns out???

Apparently she was also offered a HOME at one point by someone but refused the offer???

I LOVE FRANCES. Have ADORED her ever since "BLOOD SIMPLE" and have also ADMIRED her performances in FARGO, LAUREL CANYON, OLIVE KITTERIDGE, 3 BILLBOARDS, etc. etc. etc.



Economic American wreckage in the wake of COVID could indeed put more nomads on the road -- "COVID nomads?" But the film does show them to function "outside and distanced," so the disease won't be as much of a problem as the economic devastation.

The movie makes the point (I think) that opposed to the general homeless population(which has a lot of mentally ill, non-functional people in it)...the nomads are committed to taking care of themselves(both alone and in groups), working when they can...simply living off the grid with little need for the amenities that a bigger salary can allow you to have.

Frances McDormand is a great actress...possibly on track here for her third Oscar. That will tie her with Meryl Streep, and put her in distance of Kate Hepburn(four Oscars.)

As to the SPOILER, well....



SPOILER might be right.


I recall when Hepburn bragged to Jane Fonda after getting her OSCAR for ON GOLDEN POND that Jane would NEVER CATCH HER now. So IF Frances can manage to win MORE of them than KATE did that would also be an AMAZING thing to see happening!!!

Meanwhile here's some articles that indicate the NOMAD problem has also already been a HUGE ISSUE for the state of CA:

Mountain View: RV dwellers fear displacement after voters ...

Nov 07, 2020 Β· Ida Seclen, 74, lives on Crisanto Avenue and fears the community she and her neighbors have built will be destroyed MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – NOVEMBER 5: Ida Seclen, …

Author: Aldo Toledo
Mountain View, CA votes not to ban RVs from streets

Jun 12, 2019 Β· As more Bay Area cities have cracked down on RV dwellers, the number of RVs parked along streets within Mountain View has exploded. Mountain View resident Shari Emling, who supported the ban, said...

Is there RV in California?
Are RV dwellers homeless?

From Palo Alto to Sacramento and San Francisco, the proliferation of RV and vehicle living has become more and more obvious in recent years against a backdrop of complex socioeconomic issues. Many of these are not holidaymakers or pleasure seekers; in fact, thousands of RV dwellers are homeless.
Thousands of California families living in RVs as ...…

In Los Angeles, 2018 data recorded 45,043 homeless people last year, according to the city’s Homeless Services Authority. Seventy-five percent of those people were in unsheltered accommodation, with 3,814 people in cars, 3,554 people in vans and 8,380 in RVs and Campers.

So it will be interesting to see if this situation spreads to other areas in other states. But one of the other articles I read also said that there's already a problem with people trying to find USED RV's to live in and that the purchase of a NEW or NEWER ONE is also NOT an option for them due to the ASTRONOMICAL PRICE involved with buying a BRAND NEW one which can also cost several THOUSANDS of dollars or even as much as some people pay to purchase a home.

So for that reason maybe people sleeping in cars or living inside of TENTS will also become the new norm for the NOMADS??? Because it also says other people who aren't homeless are also buying RV's so that they can rent them out to these other people without a more permanent place to stay.



> Because it also says other people who aren't homeless are also buying RV's so that they can rent them out to these other people without a more permanent place to stay.

That is happening in my area, South SF Bay Peninsula region. It is kind of scary. I am OK with people parking around as long as they find a parking place that does not get in other people's way. But some of the ones out there are not roadworthy. That is what I think is the main problem. It makes more sense to build parking and utilities for vans and RVs that it does not to find permanent land somewhere that doesn't bother people and build cheap housing that turn into slums or eventually have to be torn down in another round of gentrification.

I think it should be illegal to rent RVs out as housing long-term. That is asking for trouble.


Perhaps the reason why people don't purchase land to build parking spaces with utilities for RV's and vans is because it's NOT PROFITABLE enough for them??? Or maybe there are some kind of laws that forbid an area from having such places inside of certain zone areas???

There was also another movement where people would DOWNSIZE and move into a TINY HOUSE, but then those became just as expensive to own as a larger home in just a short time due to the demand for them. First time I checked one out it cost about $20K to own one of them, and then it rapidly became about $60K to own one within a very short time frame. Heaven only knows how much they cost to own now. And I also hear people object to having a TINY HOUSE community in their area as well.

Anyhow, the article says people don't like the way having them parked in or near them in their neighborhood cheapens the area where they live, but they also don't seem to have any problem with having those living in the RV's working for them as their SERVANTS.

So maybe they should also either build or rent out the GUEST HOMES that they have to them??? Or else even rent or purchase or let them park their rented out RV right there on their own property??? That way there also wouldn't be a bunch of RV's all gathered together there in just one area on the street.



I think the Tiny House Movement is fine for those who know what they are doing and make the choice, and keep costs down with sweat equity, but I'd rather have an RV than a Tiny Home. A lot of Tiny Homesteaders when they get on their feet move out and then tell the real stories about Tiny House living. Some are good, some aren't. But RV's and Mobile Homes are engineered to be useful and affordable for the most part.

Yes, in urban areas with high land prices it only makes economic sense to build luxury housing of big developments, but the real estate industry and developers have kept deliberately not keeping up with housing in order to get prices sky high. Another failure of capitalism.

There are plenty of industrial or commercial areas where RVs park around here ... no matter what they do some people, usually a minority of people complain very loudly, and they also lie. I've heard people repeated crying crime, and rape and RV'ers pouring raw sewage down the gutters, and there are very few ... in the single digits of actual cases like that. I understand people's concerns, but they are not happy no matter where the poor exist, yet they don't want to raise the minimum wage, build homes, and they still expect people to work all day every day for not enough money to survive - not even enough for a Tiny Home or RV.

Some towns are just now finally experimenting with some RV parking grounds. That makes sense to me. I think there are compromises where both sides can co-exist, but rich people want other people to be their slaves or die is what it breaks down to.

Another thing is I don't want to have someone living in my garage, or build a $1/2 million studio guest home where we both can see and hear everything each other does. That may be OK with in-laws or kids, but I wouldn't want to do it. I'd rather sell if the conditions permitted.


they don't want to raise the minimum wage, build homes, and they still expect people to work all day every day for not enough money to survive

Yes exactly, it's as if they expect people to scrub their floors and their toilets for them, do their laundry, wash their dishes, cook their meals, mow their lawns, take care of their kids, etc. etc. etc. but they don't want to see the results of the selfish way that they don't pay the people who work for them enough to have a decent place to live.

It also reminds one of the way the ROMAN EMPEROR played the fiddle while ROME burns down because he was just as heartless and just as unconcerned about people in his town back then as people are today about those who live in their towns.



There are names for "RV parking grounds". RV Park and Campground. They are normally outside city limits because of zoning restrictions.

Tiny Houses used to be 8x20' buildings to avoid building codes. Then they put them on wheels. Both were cheap when owner-built. Now they are just overpriced RVs for elites who look down on regular RVs!


Found this VIDEO where someone got a CAMPER for free:

There's also another free camper at the website as well, but have no idea what kind of shape that one is in.

Replacing those tires would probably also be pretty expensive since they're TRUCK size and would need 4 or more of them (2 each on the back side of it).

Wonder why the owner didn't try to sell it???





are also considered to be ROAD MOVIES.

And there's also another one called "RV" with Robin Williams???



Still, Nomadland proves you can have roughly the same experience with far less money.

LOL, probably more fun though, but more risky too. I want to see this movie. Also, "Land".

"Into the Wild" or "Wild". I think that was blonde what's her name hiking away from civilization. Pretty good movie too. Same with "Into The Wild".


How is Lost in Translation a road movie? If memory serves, it's set in a hotel, doesn't move from there much and Johansson's in Japan because of her husband not out of any kind of wanderlust.


Perhaps the idea is those who are in the ENTERTAINMENT business and make movies also live lives like the NOMADS do ... due to the way that they are also ON THE ROAD and moving around a lot of the time as they also go from one job to another job???



Ooops...i took that from another poster without correcting it. Lost in america!


Ahh, I was going to add Lost in America with Albert Brooks.