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October 14, 2014

Movie Review: Don't Know Yet (2014)

Written, produced and directed by Terry Lineham

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Rarely has a film been so aptly named. Don't Know Yet is the type of film reviewers dread: a cheerful, upbeat independent film that depicts a sunny and untroubled vision of America that in the end is all rather pointless. If one would attempt criticism, the filmmakers are certain to dismiss the press as cynical Scrooges that wholly rejects anything that hints at goodness and redemption. Heavy sigh …

Taylor (James Kyson) travels the United States, meandering country roads picking up hitch hikers and taking them wherever they want to go. The America on display in this film is one where people give complete strangers money out of their pockets and instant acquaintances take people on hot air balloon rides. Sugary and unrealistic, Taylor goes from one sweet, feckless adventure to the next. He eventually meets a free-spirited beauty named Autumn (Lisa Goldstein Kirsch) and falls in love. The catch? She already has a boyfriend! Dumping Taylor with rancor, he attempts to win back Autumn's hand.

Episodic in nature, Don't Know Yet plays with time with flashbacks to earlier events that weren't originally parts of the narrative. We learn bits and pieces of Taylor's story, and we conclude that he's embarked on a Kerouac-like road trip for unsurprising reasons. Stuck with a dreary factory job folding cardboard boxes, Taylor has had some unsuccessful love affairs. He's clearly motivated to explore life's possibilities with his meandering road trip. Many young people do this until their trust fund runs out, sadder but wiser.

On some level, Don't Know Yet was doomed to failure. As shock filmmaker John Waters would discover in his recent memoir, “Carsick,” hitch-hiking is a very uneventful activity. Divvying up his book in three parts, Waters explored the “best things that could happen,” the “worst things that could happen” and the hitch-hike trip itself – which is numbingly boring. In all fairness, Waters had a massive support group monitoring his every move in order to escape the clutches of any Sawney Beane-clan he might have encountered, nullifying any danger the project would have had. The character of Taylor in Don't Know Yet meets lots of quirky characters who are all resplendent in their goodness. All possibilities for story development are flushed away.    

I will confess that my review DVD self-destructed in the last 10 minutes, so I “Don't Know Yet” what could have occurred, but I imagine everything turned out just fine. Need a clever tag line? "While attempting to be winsome, Don't Know Yet will be sure to leave lots of viewers wincing some.” This bad review is not intended to prevent the young filmmakers from trying again in the near future – but it must be tactfully suggested that they DO KNOW the next time they pick up their cameras!

Don't Know Yet is available as VOD. You can go to their official Web site at

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