June, 2003. During the final month of their year-long stay in Fiji, indie-film gurus John and Janet Pierson and their two children host a documentary film crew. John's been showing free movies at the 288-seat 180 Meridian Cinema, in remote Natokalan Village on the island of Taveuni. Reality intrudes in paradise: their home is burgled, the local Catholic priest criticizes John's project, their daughter's behavior may be threatening the reputation of her friend, and John's prickly personality follows him. Against this backdrop, the Fijians laugh at the Three Stooges, Buster Keaton, and "Jackass: The Movie." John finishes the year with ten movies in ten days: do movies matter? Written by
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This movie is well made. It's amusing. It is an interesting portrait of families, cultures, and their various clashes as well has harmonies. It has a bit of an arc to it - enough to keep it going.
But this is no "Stevie" and it's no "Hoop Dreams," either. The true drama and tension and weight simply isn't there. What we have here is a wealthy and successful family attempting a sort of experiment. Yeah, it's meaningful; yeah, there are lessons to be learned; yeah, you care what happens. But it's not moving or powerful.
Then again, let it be a testament to Steve James and how he skilled he is that he can take a REALLY scant subject like this and spin it into a doco worth watching. Still, I'd prefer it if he returned to the more weighty subjects
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