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5-25-77 2017
Description: Alienated, hopeful-filmmaker Pat Johnson's epic storyline growing up in rural Illinois, falling in love, and becoming the first fanatic of the film that changed everything.
Released: 25 May 2017 Director: Patrick Read Johnson Writers: Patrick Read Johnson Actors: John Francis Daley, Austin Pendleton, Colleen Camp, Neil Flynn Genres: Comedy, Drama
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5-25-77 Reviews:

This movie was shown at my local art-house theater tonight, and it far exceeded my expectations - I'd seen an earlier ver a several years ago and really didn't know what to expect. This is an indie gem, a coming- of-age tale built around the release of the first Star Fights movie on May 25, 1977. The filmmaker weaves the lead character's lovable, laughable attempts at Super-8 filmmaking into his high school loves and losses and his breakthrough experiences with another movies of the era in a method that is engaging, entertaining and thought-provoking from begin to finish. The actors are terrific and very professional, the attention to feature is outstanding, and the production values are top notch. Highly recommended.


Disclaimer: This film strikes a very private chord with me so I doubt this will be at all useful to others. Sorry 'bout that.5-25-77 is an necessary date for sure. I can't thank Patrick Read Johnson enough for sharing this bio-pic of his life, which hits many of the same notes of my own childhood as well (told you it was personal). When I heard about this film I couldn't wait to see it, and I was not disappointed!I'll keep my private stories a moment to tell that I thoroughly enjoyed going along on this young geek's life adventure - all the method to ILM and back! It was a very private story, full of heart and humor, honest angst and self doubt. The movie, though top quality, maintains a wonderfully "homemade" feel throughout, right through the credits. It boasts a terrific cast of actors for sure! Colleen Camp was simply fierce as Pat's mom! :-)So here goes… Even though my own Super8 filmmaking began just after Star Fights was released and spanned my wonder years, 12-18, leading up to a career in television, there were many moments throughout 5-25-77 that resonated perfectly with my own childhood. From the Testor paints and plastic model kits (the same models I had!) , to the bedroom film posters (same 2001 poster!), to the "friends and family" backyard Super 8 productions, it was all spot on for me growing up in a related tiny city in Florida.When I heard those nice Alan Parsons Project tunes peppered throughout I was grinning ear-to-ear, as they are my jam (…as not-cool folks tell trying to sound cool)! Although my own "love life" at that young age was all G-rated, I too had a first crush moment tied to a movie-date of Star Fights which, unfortunately for her (?), I was more smitten with at the time. (sigh)Alas, there was only a single showing on a single day, but I hope to be able to see 5-25-77 again (and soon!) because I know there were many more "déjà vu" moments that I just can't recollect now. This was simply a unbelievable film experience, allowing me to relive my youthful Super8 hijinks which, in my own mind, were each bit as adventurous as Mr. Johnsons. And although I never made it to Hollywood, my filmmaking buddies and I DID receive our 1982 stop-motion magnum opus "Too Much Star Wars" delivered directly to Lucasfilm to become part of their fan-film archives, and received a nerdily epic letter on Lucasfilm stationary in return. (yes, it's framed on my wall)5-25-77 forever!!


There are two methods to review this movie. On the one hand, it is obviously a labor of love, and you have to admire director Patrick Johnson's persistence. He worked for 13 years to receive this project completed. So I have to give him an A for effort. It's nice that an amateur filmmaker was able to bring his movie to the large screen. This is a worthy "student film", but it is what it is, and it could never have been released in theaters. Everything about it is amateurish, including the acting, the directing, the script, and the cinematography. For example, the director seems to think that having one of the actors stare into the camera with his mouth launch for 10 seconds is high drama (and he uses this technique repeatedly). I'm not telling that there is no audience for this movie. I'm guessing that sci-fi geek's, Star Fights fanatics, and amateur filmmakers will play it despite its flaws. But it could have gone straight to DVD and streaming. I felt ripped off having to pay eight bucks to see it.



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