Deserves to be seen
Robert M. Penna | Albany, NY | 02/24/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"People in the film industry will tell you that every once in a while a film just deserves to be made. No matter that there is no money, no budget, no all-star cast. It simply deserves to be made.
And when the stars align just right, reviewers will tell you that same film simply deserves to be seen.
Pope Dreams is just that sort of film.
Made on a shoestring budget with only a handful of sets, an indie sound track, and a combination of young unknowns and seasoned vets working for scale or less, this film is a gem.
Combination boy-meets-girl and coming of age story, Pope Dreams weaves several subplots together to form a tapestry as rich as life itself. In fact, it is the interweaving of these subplots, so like the messy, cluttered, unplanned, and usually out-of-control reality most of us live, that gives this film its engaging attraction.
Andy (Phillip Vaden) is a going-nowhere 19 year-old. He plays the drums in a noisy alt band, works in the back of the stereo store his father manages, and seems mostly aimless. His one goal when we meet him is to fulfill what he believes to be his mother's dying wish.
He gets sidetracked when a local Valley Girl (Marnette Patterson), in an inane, unfeeling, and completely selfish attempt to con her father into something she wants, picks Andy virtually out of a hat to be her father's worst nightmare. The wrinkle in all this is that Andy is not only the sort of guy her father would like, but he is also the kind she might fall for.
The boy-meets girl parts are predictable enough...but the twist is that the clever script takes an unexpected left turn and delivers to Andy not only something he could never have foreseen, but something better than the girl. Andy DOES come of age, in more ways than one. We greet a boy at the beginning of the film, but say farewell to a man at then end.
This one come from the heart, and lodges there long after the credits have rolled.
Honest, earnest performances, a great score, and a compelling story that is largely believable move this film along.....and ought to move it off the video store shelf and into your hand. You won't be disappointed.
One of my favorites
Stephen Tobolowsky | Los Angeles, CA | 10/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I really shouldn't be writing this review in that I am in this movie. I don't promote every project I work on - but this is special and it is out of the mainstream enough that maybe you wouldn't likely see this film without a recommendation. Nothing about this movie is what you would think. It is a wonderful "coming of age" story that has not been told. The script is funny, very moving, and very unexpected. The performances are some of the best you will ever see in an ensemble film. Julie Hagerty gives a remarkable performance as does newcomer Philip Vaden - but everyone is at the top of their game. You will watch this movie many times. A film for grown ups and kids. Not to be missed...."