11 April 2003 | Docterry
Believe it or not, this is a good movie.
Having finally seen `Stolen Summer' I was more surprised than anyone to find the film extremely fetching. I thought it was well made and well acted. It was written and directed by a total novice, Pete Jones, who won a contest- as silly as that sounds. There are scenes that can be called schmaltzy but they seem to fit in with the mood of the picture and feel deserved; they're not simply tacked on as emotional buttons like in lesser screenplays. I hate watching kids in movies because they usually go hand and hand with loud noises and special effects. However, this screenplay gives these kids some heavy-duty subject matter to explore and their performances are intriguing. One might complain the film doesn't have any visual flair or creative camera angles and such. I think the film captures the austere sluggishness of the 1970's rather well.
After reading the external reviews for this movie I had to write a comment. One would think all the nation's critics united against this film. One reviewer said
`There are probably at least nine people who will sit all the way through the well-meaning but inert `Stolen Summer'. What's that mean? Did the guy watch twenty minutes of it and split? Are professional critics allowed to do that? I find that incredibly aggravating. I think all people involved in the film business are eventually driven to this kind of cynicism and contempt. I myself was rather turned off watching `Project Greenlight' on HBO. I realize making movies is an expensive enterprise but there's got to be a better way next time than what Jones went through. They had his you-know-what's in a vice the entire time and treated him like he was just touring Universal Studios for the day. I guess Hollywood is finally letting us in on their secret
that any schmuck off the street can make a movie because in the end it's the executives who really make all the decisions. The director might as well devote his time to the catering concerns.