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Big City Dick: Richard Peterson's First Movie (2004)

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This is a captivating journey into the world of a savant street musician and his lifelong struggle to become a successful recording artist, and to be loved. He is a street trumpeter and ... See full summary »

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Credited cast:
Pat Cashman ...
Gary Crow ...
Dean DeLeo ...
Robin Erickson ...
John Keister ...
John Maynard ...
Scott McCaughey ...
Muriel Peterson ...
Richard Peterson ...
Mike Rhodes ...
Ken Schram ...


This is a captivating journey into the world of a savant street musician and his lifelong struggle to become a successful recording artist, and to be loved. He is a street trumpeter and part-time guest on a local rock radio station. Richard Peterson fills his world with obsessions, like "Sea Hunt" (and the "Son of Sea Hunt," Jeff Bridges), the "The Golden Age of Television" production music (which inspires four albums/CDs produced with help from the Seattle music scene), stalking local TV celebrities, and a fanatical interest in Johnny Mathis. The unique relationship between Richard and Mathis is the catalyst for one of Richard's most remarkable compositions, "Love on the Golf Course". Between street gigs and a stint as a piano player in a grunge club, mega-band " The Stone Temple Pilots" discovers Richard's music. Richard's moment in the spotlight is short-lived when he is confronted by the human cost of obsessions, revealing the dark family secret he has lived with his entire life. Written by Press Release

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20 January 2004 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

Beyond Excellent
23 February 2005 | by (new york) – See all my reviews

I had the pleasure of seeing this film at the George Eastman House theater a few days ago. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since. A good sign that a film has done much more than expected.

With the film "Ray" practically everyone knows who Ray Charles is. But with the subject of Big City Dick, not many can say they know who Richard Peterson is except if you've lived in Seattle. And that's a shame. This man should be seen. This film should be seen by as many people as possible. With all the violence in the world and other docs covering such negative subjects, it's refreshing to see a film of this epic scope have such a sincere and emotional core to it.

I think the filmmakers did an Oscar worthy job of telling this man's story. A challenging endeavor for sure. The vast amount of footage used old and new is all on the screen. A huge reward should be bestowed on the editor for this. Almost flawless. A real story teller at work here. As a working filmmaker myself, I was humbled at the skill evident on the screen.

The story?

Richard Peterson looks like a street musician to the passing masses, but there is much more on the surface that meets the eye. This man has made some beautiful music. And without revealing anything, has found more success in one recording than most bands and musicians find in a whole career.

Richard is (from what I can tell) autistic but in a highly functional way. His artwork, his memory, his obsessions over old TV shows like Sea Hunt. Jeff Bridges appears in the film, at first in an interview, and next right along side Peterson himself. A great GREAT scene. Jeff seems a little aware of the camera and uncomfortable in a few quick shots but I would be too. You just never know what this guy will do next. The scene is ultimately very touching. Kudos to you Mr. Bridges for allowing such a unique and diverse person in your Hollywood world. Now I'm onto watching every Bridges film he has been in.

But what really grounds the film with it's emotional pull is the story of Richard and his group of TV and radio personalities that he has consistently visited since his youth. Richard is in his fifties.

His relationship with his mother. A woman with a secret of her own that is revealed to Richard but has promised to keep it to himself. A secret that will tie into his obsession with the personalities. This is where I think the film really pushes the norm. What could of easily been something thrown in at the beginning, it's saved for the right moment in the film.

It's hard to cover everything about this film. Such a rich tapestry of info even though some of which is missing. But it doesn't matter. I was much more interested in the world he lives in than the world we live in.

If you have the chance to see this. See it. My only disappointment is that no distribution company has picked it up. Which means I won't get to own this wonderful film anytime soon.

And I've seen all the Oscar nominated films, this one should be on that list. It would win if it was.

Great job on a great film.

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