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In the vein of Good Will Hunting and Garden State, POPE DREAMS is a coming of age tale about a young man at a crossroads in life. Filled with heart, music, life, and loss. And a set of drums. Oh, and the Pope. POPE DREAMS is about a directionless nineteen-year old boy, Andy Venable, who works for his hard-case dad in a store warehouse during the day and plays drums in a loud heavy-metal band at night. His only clear goal at the moment is to get his sick mother, a devout Catholic, to meet the Pope before she dies. While he's busy with that, he falls for a girl who's totally out of his league and gets discovered by two Broadway producers for a musical talent that just might be his true calling. Andy's a dreamer. But dreaming is easy. It's reality that's hard.Written by
the official Pope Dreams web site
A very well told story, with characters you can like and situations you can sympathize with.
was lucky enough to see this film at the Newport Beach Film Festival, and I have to say that it was one of the best films I saw there this year. A good 'coming-of-age' film is hard to write, I think, because the conventions of storytelling lend themselves to practices which aren't reflected in our own life experiences. For example, it's tempting as a writer to tell a story where everything works out okay in the end, where all the loose ends are tied up in the places we would expect, or want, them to be. I think one of the things I liked the most about this movie was the fact that it didn't try to reconcile the irreconcilable, instead it gave us characters and situations we could actually care about because they reflect, at least a little, some part of ourselves. The resolutions in this film run the gamut from heartbreaking to happy, but none of them felt contrived or insincere.
I'm a very tough critic of films, especially independent ones, because I've seen so many. I've been to too many film festivals, and more often than not I find myself distracted by the technical shortcomings of low-to-no-budget film-making. I'll be frank and say that this film was not technically flawless in retrospect there were a few things that I felt took away from the film. Having said that, the aspects of the movie that were good were good enough to make me look past the film's shortcomings. It got the right things right: characters I liked and believed, a story that was satisfying, and an underlying message that didn't feel trite.
If I could change anything about the movie, I would change the title. Based on the title "Pope Dreams" alone I would (and did!) make any number of assumptions about the film that aren't true. The title doesn't reflect the seriousness or gravity of the film, and it doesn't do justice to the comedy or humor either. This movie is better than its title suggests. The themes of the movie are powerful, and the title should reflect them. Ultimately the title of the film doesn't really make it better or worse, but it does do a great deal in terms of making the movie more accessible and marketable. I wouldn't be making a suggestion like this unless I really felt it would help bring more people to the audience, because I'd love to see more people check this movie out.
Congratulations to the filmmakers, you've done a wonderful job and I was thoroughly entertained. A focus on story and character is what independent film-making is all about I'm glad to see that someone remembered that.
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