Is 'Mississippi Grind' Based On A True Story? The Road Trip Film Wouldn't Be The First To Find Real-Life Inspiration

In the gambling drama Mississippi Grind, Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn star as Curtis and Gerry, compulsive gamblers traveling down the Mississippi River in search of a big score and deliverance from their problems. The independent feature comes from the auteur team of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who've already shared their affinity for flawed characters like Ryan Gosling's junkie teacher in Half Nelson and a psychiatric ward full of patients in It's Kind Of A Funny Story. Entertainment Weekly reported from Sundance that Mississippi Grind "works almost as a gambling addiction procedural." Are Reynolds and Mendelsohn portraying real gambling addicts in the movie? Is Mississippi Grind based on a true story?

The screenplay is a work of fiction, but as always, Boden and Fleck are interested in real responses and emotions from their audiences and their actors. In an interview with Indiewire, Boden spoke about the conflicting feelings that they hope their movies will inspire in viewers, because humanity is hardly ever black and white. Said the director,

"We love telling stories about characters who you root for, even though they sometimes make it really hard for you to root for them and the choices they make."

As much as it's a film about addiction, Mississippi Grind is also about the road. The road trip movie has become a tentpole of cinematic Americana, and the journey itself is almost always a transformative or cathartic experience for the leads. Here are a few modern road movie classics, the ranks of which Mississippi Grind may get to join.

1. Transamerica

Felicity Huffman earned an Oscar nomination for her performance as a transgender woman named Bree who bonds with the lost son she barely knows on a cross-country road trip.

2. Crossroads

Oh, yes I did. Crossroads is an American classic and a worthy vehicle for teen queen Britney Spears, who was way on top of the game back in 2002. Never forget that "I Love Rock & Roll" cover.

3. Little Miss Sunshine

This dark but bubbly family dramedy sailed past critical and box office expectations when it was released. Steve Carell's future success in dramatic lead roles is hinted at in his performance as a suicidal man, and the movie ends with one of the most hilarious dance scenes every captured on film.

4. Mad Max: Fury Road

A technical marvel and a feminist masterpiece.

5. Zombieland

Road trips are complicated enough in and of themselves: driving schedules; finding a decent, non-murder-y rest stop in the middle of nowhere; and deciding who gets to control the music are all issues that have to be addressed. Add the living dead to that list and you've got a unique, fun, and frightening road flick.

6. Dumb & Dumber

It's the oldest film on my list, but still deserves to be recognized. Why? Because Dumb & Dumber features the one movie road trip where nobody learns anything. There's zero personal growth and the same lack of self-awareness at the end of the road that Harry and Lloyd started with at the very beginning of the movie. Ignorance is bliss, and also impressive under these circumstances.

Road trip movies are the next best thing to an actual road trip, especially when Ryan Reynolds is involved.

Images: A24 Films; Giphy (6)