Director Rich Christiano mentioned "Before we showed this movie in theaters, we first screened it in some Christian film festivals, and the first one we ever showed this movie at was in Boston ..." (at 36:13 in 'Behind the Secrets of Jonathan Sperry'). That was The Merrimack Valley Christian Film Festival in Lawerence, 29 miles north of Boston (3/16/2008-3/23/2008). Rich Christiano also refers to this screening at 25:07 in the DVD commentary, saying the film "wasn't even finished yet." See more »
When Mr. Sperry challenges the boys to form a chain stretching from a tree to a $5 bill he places on a picnic table (at around 1h), shots from behind the boys show half the table in sunlight, while the reverse shots (which had to be shot on a different day) show the table completely in shadows. See more »
This is the Christiano brothers' best film (thus far), a lovely coming-of-age story about several youths in a sleepy upstate New York town circa 1970. In some ways it seems like the '50s, and the boys' shorts are definitely post-1985 length, but these are minor quibbles. Gavin MacLeod solidly portrays the title character, perhaps the meatiest role of his entire career, and quite likely an accurate reflection of his offscreen personality.
I saw this in the theatre, and the Gospel message is completely at odds with what the other films were selling/saying. It was a sad reminder of what this nation has fallen from.
For what could have been a pedantic, by-the-numbers evangelistic tract on film, this is instead a moving, well-crafted, tightly scripted bit of cinema. If this is any indication, we can expect even better things from the Christiano brothers in the years ahead.
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