I don’t even know where to start with this. I think this is a prime example of people setting out to make one kind of movie, only to have the finished product to be something they probably didn’t expect.
The plot in a nutshell – true story of a group of friends who spent their summers in the 80s attempting to recreate shot-for-shot ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. Over seven summers, they completed every scene…but one. The airplane scene. Because not a lot of airplanes sitting around Mississippi that teenagers can get their hands on. Skip ahead 30 years and the two leaders of this group have teamed up in an attempt to finally get that last shot.
I think these guys thought this movie about them chasing their childhood dream of re-enacting the entire movie of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, that the story of them achieving this goal would be inspirational. But it quickly morphs into a strange story of obsession. And as the movie goes on and we get little glimpses into what was going on in these boys’ lives, it quickly becomes apparently that this was more than just kids goofing around, but for at least one of them, it was an escape from what was happening at their homes.
Running parallel to the men recounting their childhood is the story of them as adults, gathering funds to get the airplane scene filmed back in their hometown. Again, what was probably meant to be inspirational (one of them even comments that he wants his son to see him not giving up on his dream) turns into obsession and it also becomes clear how little these guys really understand how film works. What was endearing to see them do as teenagers, pretending to be grown-up and on an adventure, feels a bit off when they are adults. And, again, as we learn about their personal lives as adults, it is clear that one of them is still running from the trauma of his past.
This was a strange thing to watch, especially knowing that it was all true and these men risked their family’s well-being, their careers, and even people’s lives on getting this final scene. I’m sure a psychiatrist would have a field day as these middle aged men grasped at a part of their childhood they have glamorized in their minds…until they started to share the stories and you could almost see it dawning on them that perhaps things were not so rose-colored.
I don’t even know how to recommend it. If anything I said has your interest piqued, it is a quick watch, if painful at times. And I don’t think any of it would have happened had their original movie not begun circulating in the underground film world…so there is a whole other story there about the celebrity of subculture.