“Reviews & Recommendations”
Enough!, Fall 2002
by Eric Brown
What happens when you cross American consumer culture with suburban sprawl with extremely low gas mileage? You get This is Nowhere, a documentary film by Doug Hawes-Davis, which explores the phenomenon of full-time RV travelers and their unusual habit of “camping” in Wal-Mart parking lots.
Sort of a cross between Lost in America and Mall Rats, with a little Roger & Me thrown in for good measure, This is Nowhere profiles a handful of travelers, mostly seniors, who have found community, wide-open space and extremely convenient shopping - all in one place.
Filmmaker Hawes-Davis lets his subjects do the talking, and lets the irony speak for itself. It’s not all “let’s laugh at the RV overconsumers” though. One traveler sounds like a spokesperson for a simplicity group - he’s unpressured by deadlines, he lives within his means and he can fit all his worldly possessions into a very small space - how many of us can match that?
Nevertheless, there’s something awfully freaky about the almost preternatural affection the film’s subjects all seem to have for a big box retail store. They love the big parking lots, they love the huge selection of stuff and they love that they know exactly where everything is, no matter what state they’re in, and isn’t that really what America is all about?