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This is the story of an extremely obese, rather immature, yet very bright and talented young man, and of his world and the people in it... mostly homeless young adults... who refer to their lives and where they live as their individual "planets," and everyone else as "refugees." But there are problems in his world, where a talent for the piano has been reduced to playing Chopin on a piano that has had the strings cut by his mother out of frustration at his incessant practicing... the same mother who now requires him to be there to administer her insulin shots. Still, because he is a 'good boy', he plays on the soundless piano, and takes weekly lessons from a piano teacher so eccentric that she will only allow him to strum out the notes on her dining room table... until, like real planets when other bodies get too close, he finds himself pulled and moved in a different direction. Written by
BOB STEBBINS <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Will an overweight teen piano prodigy ever reach his full potential?
Flipping through the cable channels, I came across the rotund visage of one Martin Villafana, dancing around a room in a stilted pirouette and not unlike rubbernecking at a traffic accident, I was compelled to watch. I later watched the film, The Planet of Junior Brown, in its entirety and I wished the rest of the film weren't so beholden in tone and mood to that initial scene I was exposed to. While I admittedly still look forward to read the novel on which this film is based, I have many problems with the piece of celluloid I have before me. Instead of grounding its many dreamlike moments with instances which harken to reality, we're given a film which feels like something remembered, forgotten, or indexed from someone's fevered yet bittersweet memories. Although I empathize with Junior's plight since I am a person with a weight problem, I really think some of the choices the director and scenarist made about this piano virtuoso ultimately betrayed what they were going for. What's left is a promising yet still empty afterschool special.
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