Monday, April 21, 2008

Inspiration Weekend, part I

In the Willamette Week's review of Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation, a movie the Company and I saw this weekend, the author says the “homemade Indiana Jones movie is exactly as amazing as it sounds.” A wholly incorrect assessment. A homemade Indiana Jones movie does not sound awesome at all. It sounds tedious and unnecessary. After the first 10 minutes, the cuteness or novelty of such a thing should most certainly wear off.

But this movie…this movie was genius. A group of Mississippi kids in the 80’s so loved the Spielberg film they lovingly and quite painstakingly remade it shot for shot over the course of seven years, building, borrowing, and improvising all the major props, settings and costumes. The beta max video quality was awful, the sound was worse and an entirely sold out theater full of hardened, irony-weary hipsters and nerds could not have cared less.

The big rolling boulder? Check. They dug a hole in the ground and made the two halves out of fiberglass, then glued them together and sent it rolling after Indiana. The part where Jones gets dragged behind the Nazi truck? Check. Someone gave them a broken truck, they pulled out the engine, painted it army green and pushed or pulled it with another vehicle, depending on the angle of the camera. Snakes? Check, thanks to a local pet store.

They pleaded and bargained with parents, land owners, a Navy Captain, and little brothers to get what they needed. They built detailed sets in family basements, sewed Nazi flags, invented explosive devices out of Tylenol gel caps, doused things in gasoline (then lit them on fire), and almost got arrested to make it happen. And make it happen they did.

If anything has ever been a testament to the magic of film or to the tenacity of the impassioned human spirit, this is it. And here I’m worried we won’t be able to find a proper doorman’s uniform. Pshaw.

To come in Inspiration Weekend, part 2: AudioCinema is our new best friend.

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