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“Without trucks, America goes dead,” a driver comments in Big Rig, a somewhat meandering but always interesting look at the lives of truckers. “Nothing you eat, wear, drink, or drive hasn’t been on a truck.” Director Doug Pray interviews a handful of on-duty haulers as they cross the country and gab about their families, how they got into the job, and the long hours and dangers that come with it. The men and women included in the documentary are mostly charming—or at least have colorful backstories. But audiences may be most compelled by the gas burden they share with these subjects: Try not to gasp when one guy stops for a $366 fill-up. Because the drivers pay for their own fuel, the soaring prices are making the work even tougher in terms of hours spent versus money brought home. The most remarkable thing about the people profiled, though, is their relentless sense of optimism despite the hardships they choose to endure—it seems that breakdowns, accidents, racism, and other trials have merely made these drivers appreciate the positive things in life even more. “You know what the nice thing about it is?” one asks. “None of us is taking a dirt nap right now.”