Static (1985)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  10 September 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 477 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 9 critic

A quirky, out-of-of place worker at a crucifix factory in the Bible Belt invents a device he claims can show pictures of Heaven. Discouraged and confused by the inability of those around ... See full summary »


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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ernie Blick
Julia Purcell
Barton Heyman ...
Sherriff William Orling
Lily Knight ...
Jane Hoffman ...
Emily Southwick
Reathel Bean ...
Fred Savins
Kitty Mei-Mei Chen ...
Joel Krehbeil ...
Deputy Tom Terrence
Eugene Lee ...
Jack Murakami ...
Mike Murakami ...
Uma Ridenhour ...
Janice Abbott ...
Tamma Allgood ...
T.V. Interviewer


A quirky, out-of-of place worker at a crucifix factory in the Bible Belt invents a device he claims can show pictures of Heaven. Discouraged and confused by the inability of those around him to see anything but a screenful of static, he charismatically hijacks a bus of friendly elderly people in order to get media attention for his invention. Written by Keith Tyler <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


STATIC... it's on a different wavelength.


Comedy | Drama


R | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

10 September 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Necessity  »

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Did You Know?


One of only two theatrical films where Mark Romanek wrote the screenplay for his films. The other was One Hour Photo (2002). See more »


Referenced in Closure (1997) See more »


My tears are overdue
Composed by Freddie Hart
Performed by George Jones
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User Reviews

A flawless example of what an independent film is all about
19 November 2000 | by (Palm Desert, California) – See all my reviews

Nowadays it seems indie festivals are the chic thing and filmmakers are trying too hard to get the status that winners of those "prestige" events get. If they would only look back to 1985 to a film like Static, they could learn a thing or two.

This film paces itself, and while never snappy, it uses its time wisely. While a melancholy mood prevales, we still are affected in many ways by the different characters we are introduced to.

The story is quite simple: A young man, not quite over the death of his parents, uses his skills as an inventor to come up with a device that may or may not monitor images of heaven. Through the interaction of several eccentric yet not exaggerated characters, they (and we) learn lessons about hope, desperation, and acceptance.

The film's use of desert landscape adds a lot to the feeling of loneliness (instead of film economics), the careful selection of songs for the soundtrack actually ties in with each scene--from songs by The The to Elvis! Keith Gordon obviously had a hand in that part, as with his choice of songs for his next film The Chocolate War. Goes to show you don't have to look for trendiness or a hit soundtrack to sell, which can date a film and make it lose its power over the years. Static was made in 1985 and hasn't lost an ounce of effectiveness.

There are so many little nuances that will have you hooked, from Ernie's collection of defective crucifixes to Ernie asking Julia why she kissed him: "'Cause you're a strange boy ...I wish I was more like you," it's brilliant. I've seen this film many times and it still has the power to hit me emotionally without fail every single time. I always have a really good cry when I see Amanda Plummer's last smile as she's driving.

Admittedly, films are a form of escapism and all don't have to be made exclusively for intellectual reasons, but when you want a story to touch you without trying to impress you with flavor-of-the-month stars and no "serious" documentary all ready to go for air on the Bravo network, this is the film to seek out. Static is a flawless example of what an independent film is all about.

After all these years, this is the one film that I cherish most and everyone I've suggested it to has admitted it stays in their minds. Without any dialogue to sum it up, the film's final lingering shot along with Amanda Plummer's thoughtful expression says so much more about feelings than any other film ever could!

14 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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