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5-25-77 Review

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“5-25-77” resonates despite being unfocused at times.

After being in various stages of production for over a decade now, writer/director Patrick Read Johnson’s anticipated coming-of-age auto-biographical film “5-25-77” is at long last expected to be released sometime in 2018. The film, for those that don’t know, revolves around Patrick Read Johnson himself (the filmmaker who is perhaps best known for helming “Angus” and “Baby’s Day Out”) as played by actor turned director and screenwriter John Francis Daley. The story is primarily set during Patrick’s youth in Illinois where the creative sci-fi and cinema loving Patrick has his head in the clouds as he makes proto fan fiction and homemade movies with his friends. With high school nearing an end and adulthood approaching, Patrick looks to the future and and dreams of being a Hollywood filmmaker as he navigates the rough waters of his teenage years.

As a sucker for coming-of-age films and anything “Star Wars,” Patrick Read Johnson’s personal passion project “5-25-77” was definitely in my wheelhouse and, indeed, the film resonated with me at many points. As a fellow geek with dreams, it was hard not to be moved by seeing a young Patrick’s first magical Hollywood trip, his life altering first viewings of “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Star Wars,” him finding his calling, and things not necessarily going how he’d think (perhaps the truest lesson of all). The film is at its best when it’s focusing on Patrick’s career bound journey.

On the subject of Patrick, John Francis Daley really shines here as the wide eyed dreamer. He’s the heart of the movie and is truthfully what makes it so compelling in parts. Credit should also be given to the charming Emmi Chen as Linda (Patrick’s girlfriend).

Where “5-25-77” stumbles a bit is with the combination of the editing and screenplay. While I admire that the film has a full circle DIY spirit, the story is paced in a rather puzzling frantic manner as it juggles far too many subplots. Ambitious as the clearly personal story may be, Patrick Read Johnson’s film seems to be in a constant state of hurry as it jumps around between fantasy and reality and between Patrick’s home life, school life, friendship circle, movie making, career aspirations, romantic interests, personal feelings, and, of course, the “Star Wars” element (which is what the title refers to). I realize that changes might be made from the current form I viewed it in which could potentially be beneficial. Not only would it tighten the pacing and flow of the story, but it would let scenes and characters have more breathing room so to speak. As it stands, the story is a bit too busy and cluttered.

 

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December 28, 2017 - Posted by | Movie Review | , , , ,

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