2 November 2007 | rsoonsa
Tyro Director Relies Upon His Own Experiences In Primitive First Endeavour.
"B" movie schlockmeister Joseph Merhi is generally regarded with contempt by most critics, and indeed not surprisingly, due to a string of consistently inane "action" films wherein narrative is minimized, serving merely as filler footage between repetitive episodes depicting explosions and automobile chases; yet, while there is precious little variety to his work, he had to begin somewhere, and this piece is his debut. The storyline is autobiographical, being based upon Merhi's initial attempt at film-making, when he was owner/operator of several pizzerias in las Vegas that were known for being adorned with movie posters. Johnny Reed (Vic Vallero) is clearly designed to be Merhi for a production that records the effort of the budding director to create a film despite his complete lack of cinematic experience, and it soon becomes obvious as the tale advances that Merhi's perfectly terrible series of pictures is come by honestly. In addition to the technical ordeal of making his first movie, Reed also is faced with pragmatic objections from his wife Tina (Joan Levine) who naturally disapproves of Johnny's act of drawing $50000 from their shared $67000 retirement savings for the purpose of becoming a movie maker, and additionally must deal with challenges of his friendship with George Michael (Jerry Tiffe) who, while starring in Reed's amateurish affair, sinks more deeply into the abyss of his cocaine addiction. Reed somehow survives these travails, and viewers are shown how he manages to do so. Although flatly directed, this film within a film is not appallingly acted, a drawback that marks many of Merhi's subsequent ventures, and there will be interesting moments for viewers within nearly every scene, especially those that would appear to be most nearly related to incidents that may connect with the neophyte director's actual life experiences. Tiffe gains the acting honours with his performance as a cocktail lounge crooner supportive of his friend's vocational change.