5-25-77 (2022) – Film Review
Director: Patrick Read Johnson
Cast: John Francis Daley, Austin Pendleton, Colleen Camp
By Roger Crow
When you spend a lifetime devoted to a movie, there comes a point when you wonder if it’s worth it. Take Star Wars, the original, which I first saw at the cinema in 1978. Now if I was a professional film maker, I’d have to wonder if making a movie about seeing it was worthy of a drama or comedy. Would anyone care that I had sausage rolls for tea, or that my mum got a headache after the film? Probably not, because everyone who saw that film for the first time had a different experience.
In his new movie, writer/director and visual effects artist Patrick Read Johnson recounts how he became the first outsider to see the almost-finished cut of Star Wars, and how this event changed his life.
Coming-of-age film 5-25-77 is set in the spring of 1977, in the tiny town of Wadsworth, Illinois. Pat is a sci-fi obsessed teenager making ambitious 8mm films in the hopes of heading for Hollywood one day.
As he tries (and fails) to balance running his “studio” with chasing his dream girl, Linda, a courageous phone call placed by his concerned mother results in Pat taking “the ultimate trip” to Hollywood, meeting a couple of industry titans, and getting an early look at an upcoming sci-fi film, unlike any he’s ever seen before.
5-25-77 is notable in the fact it was produced by the much-missed Gary Kurtz, (Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, American Graffiti), and Fred Roos (The Godfather Part II, Lost in Translation, The Black Stallion).
The cast aren’t bad, nor is the symphonic score by David Russo.
It’s an engaging movie, but I just didn’t like the lead actor, and I’ve seen this done before, and better. Yes, it’s an accomplished film, and Star Wars fans will probably love it, as well as anyone who grew up in the late 1970s, but it was all just a little too on the nose for me.
Worth at least one look, but if you’ll excuse the obvious pun, I’d have to force myself to watch it again.