Set in 1985 in the city of Palo Alto, California,this movie written and directed by Gabrielle Demeesterre, is based on 2 short stories from James Franco's 2013 book "A California Childhood". Upon reading the premise of the film, I wondered if it it would compare in any way to Rob Reiner's 1986 classic "Stand By Me",but it really doesn't compare, like very few, if any movies could.
The story revolves around the coming-of-age adventures of 3 fifth graders Chris (Everett Meckler), Joe (Alec Mansky), and Ted (Calum John), who are all newcomers to the silver screen. The boys are trying to cope with friendships, broken families, the death of loved ones, missing family pets, as well as an encroachment on Palo Alto by mountain lions, who are feeling the pinch of expanding cities into their natural habitats and thus have been entering neighborhoods looking for water and food.
Although this indie maintains a good sense of foreboding throughout, it never seems to actualize enough dramatic tension to be engrossing. Also, there are some plot elements that remain too ambiguous, such as the actual intentions of the young man Henry (Henry Hopper), who rather creepily befriends Joe and invites him to his house to read comic books.
All in all, I thought this movie has some good moments, but there weren't enough of them to cohere into an absorbing and enjoyable film.
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