Jamie, a young man in a rural town, becomes fascinated by Norberto, a Spanish exchange student.

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Jamie
Graciano Nunez ...
Norberto
Melanie Wehrmacher ...
Sheila Mazer
Hadley Tomicki ...
Duane Mazer
...
Jamie (voice)
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Jamie, a young man in a rural town, becomes fascinated by Norberto, a Spanish exchange student.

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9 June 2001 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

You are...what you drink...
21 October 2008 | by (San Francisco, CA.) – See all my reviews

When I flashback to my "formative" years, one of the most prominent memories of my childhood were the long trips to 7-11 under the hot, sweltering summers in Reno, Nevada. We'd often take breaks in a nearby park to drink Big Gulps and pass away the lazy afternoons doing absolutely nothing before we went back home. Other feelings dominate my memories: the unspoken understandings of friendships, the solace of friendship against the hostile environment we grew up in...we escaped to escape. Even if it was for a few short hours, we learned more about ourselves than anybody cared to in our own homes. We knew when to joke and when to stop before it became a fight, we knew how to laugh even though we were reprimanded for doing so among our own families. We also asked questions - those we couldn't bring ourselves to ask our own parents. We also confessed school crushes...of which some surprising names were brought up... Similar feelings are evoked when one watches Patric McGuinn's excellent short feature "Sodapop". Set around the same exact time as my growing up years, "Sodapop" tells us of the rural, coming of age story of a young man immediately smitten with a new exchange student. There are some serious sensibilities at work in this film. All are brought to life by a narrator who sounds startlingly like the voice in my head...if one were to vocalize a narration of my own memories, I'm certain they would sound exactly like the narrator in this film. All at once eschewing obvious schmaltz but evoking a rather universal feeling of wanting to be wanted, the films dives right in to a year that is most special to our main character...and most difficult at the same time. Our main character is not above tolerating his worst enemy, the local homophobic bully, in order to befriend the exotic exchange student who has come to town. Much to his disdain, the new Spanish student is staying with the family of the local bully who seems to zero in on our main character whenever Roberto is around in order to openly ridicule him. As soon as he sees Roberto for the first time at a nearby gas station, he is confident enough to want to induce a friendship but he is unsure if Roberto can reciprocate. Inexpereince and adolescence-be-damned, he is about to find out as much as he can. By the film's end, one never knows if he was successful in getting the object of his affections, but it doesn't really matter. Many of us have been there. We have been clumsy in our attempts to seek out, befriend, charm or flat-out seduce the one we have feelings for. Successful or not, we can, at the very least, look back on those (sometimes) humiliating memories with a certain fondness and innocence. Our main character seems to have an uncanny ability to wear his humiliations as a badge of honor - at once proud he could actually take the abuse of his enemy yet out-breakdance him in front of Roberto. When life gives you lemons... Just like the memories this film evokes, "Sodapop" is cold and it burns a little when it goes down...but the after-taste is oh-so-sweet.


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