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

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 39 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 2 critic

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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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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too long, too wrong
2 June 2004 | by (Seattle, WA) – See all my reviews

I saw this at the Seattle International Film Festival (with 3 of the filmmakers, the star and several "personalities" in attendence) because I've seen Mr. Peterson walking the streets of Seattle on a few occasions and was curious about him. To see him in person is to know that there's a story to the man. The reviews and anticipation were pretty high in the city for this locally made film and the theater was a full house.

Then the film. Although I can't agree with many of the sentiments about Peterson expressed by the previous reviewer, I do agree that the filmmakers provided a documentary that was either far too long for their subject, or far too superficial to justify 130 mins.

I would have expected the film to begin by directing our attention to his odd character (autism, obsession with "Sea Hunt" and golden-age tv shows, musicianship, hugging 'personalities', etc.) and then slowly reveal the real man, his past, his inner thoughts, etc.). We did get some of that; however, it's efforts were ingenuine, almost as if what was received was secondary to his goofy present.

I sensed that I was not alone; that many of those in the theater grew kind of bored with Peterson, that he wasn't that interesting, wasn't that funny, wasn't that talented that we would want to spend over 2 hours watching this film. But I'm not sure that he wasn't.

I feel like the filmmakers could've made a better and more revealing portrait of the man. Things were hinted at (abusive upbringing, inability to relate to his father, etc.) but never explored at length. Instead, our time was spent on his hugging and horn-blowing.

After the film, when the stage was filled with the makers of the film, it's interesting that questions were few to nil. I think that tells you of the level of emotional involvement we the audience had in the movie. Anyway, I give the movie a 3/10.


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