Wednesday, September 17, 2008
The mood is set with desert shots that would make any Arizonan proud and some great southwestern music by BJ Thomas and Steve Dorff. We are introduced to the misfits of Jake's Corner who have accepted former NFL star Johnny Dunn (Richard Tyson) into their tight community after a family accident leaves him unable to cope with being in the public eye. The most touching part for me was seeing how this community pulls together to help Johnny when he needs it most - when his orphaned nephew, Spence, moves into his freewheeling life. The townspeople fumble and grope for a way to relate to the only kid in town. But eventually, Spence, played with naturalistic ease by Arizonan Colton Rodgers, is embraced by the whole town.
Writer/Director Jeff Santo does an admirable job of getting some nice performances out of some of his actors - especially young Colton Rodgers. Though it would have been better if Colton had expressed more distress. It is fun being in the world of this film. But I've noticed a problem with some recent indie films (including the recently reviewed, FLOAT). The filmmakers are trying to keep the running time down while juggling several characters' storylines. Santo keeps the running time down to 96 minutes but in the process loses the threads of some of his supporting characters' stories. There are some moving moments here, but the ending would have had more impact if he had connected all the dots. I would have been happy to stay in the world of Jake's Corner another 10 minutes so he could develop these characters' stories.