Starring: Bonnie Hunt, Aidan Quinn, Adi Stein, Mike Weinberg,
Kevin Pollack and Brian Dennehy.
Directed/written by: Pete Jones
PETE JONES INTERVIEW
Summer is infamous and it's hardly even out there yet. See,
writer/director Pete Jones is the winner of Project
Greenlight from Miramax, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. There
was a thirteen-episode show, on HBO, based on the making of the
film that tied into the contest. I have not seen the documentary,
but heard from the stars as well as audience members the show
made them look like a group of backstabbing inept filmmakers.
Did you know star's trailer, and on set cast love affairs aside
making a film is actually boring? A job. Obviously there's a bit
of Enquirer-like film making behind the filmmaking. First time
director Pete Jones is a super nice guy and all the cast openly
voiced their dislike for what the episodic show portrayed. Shame.
Stolen Summer's story in simple yet complex. A young Irish
catholic boy, Pete O'Malley (Adi Stein) is mentally tortured at
school by his nuns. Every time he makes a childhood error they
tell him he's going to hell. His young mind is gettin' scared
that very thing may just happen! That is if he doesn't change
his wicked ways.
decides, after learning Jewish folks don't believe in Jesus hence
don't get to heaven, he would set up a lemonade stand in front
of a synagogue and peddle free lemonade with a trip to heaven
on the side.
approaches the rabbi (Kevin Pollack) who agrees to the shindig
and assist in the stand. It's the 1970's and times were simpler
then-- you could do this kind of thing.
one comes and Pete is stead fast in his pursuit. Then lucky--or-not
so lucky- or pure script direction-- Pete's firefighter dad saves
the rabbi's kid fro certain death (and in Pete's mind exit to
hell). Pete befriends the boy Danny (Mike Weinberg).
has leukemia...so you, unfortunately, know where that's going
from his first scene. Danny agrees that the idea of not getting
into heaven kind of bites and thinks getting "communion"
would certainly not hurt. Problem is you get communion at thirteen,
they are about ten each, so they really have to fanagle.
come up with an adorable decathlon for God that they decide is
equivalent to the whole bible study gig you'd get in Sunday school.
Their tests for the lord include jumps over rotund men laying
on a lakeside beach, and swimming out to a buoy. Pete's stolen
a blessed wafer from the church for Danny for his completion to
make the whole thing very official...
gets very ill before the end of their quest. At the same time
Pete's dad, Joe (Aidan Quinn) and Rabbi Jacobson are starting
to get annoyed with the kids and their "quest."
will the two manage to save Danny's soul? Is there really a need
Summer's theme and story is very clever. The scenes are handled
with a bit of over-the-top fluff that frankly if you're able to
let the cynicism go, Stolen Summer's warm and filled with some
very funny real scenes. . It's just a tad telegraphed, too sweetsy,
and the cast too stereotyped to have made it a real winner. One
of my faves, Bonnie Hunt, plays Pete's over stressed mom squared
Margaret. And Aidan Quinn , a beautiful studly muffin of a man,
plays the close-minded city-job dad Joe. I love Bonnie Hunt as
well as Aidan Quinn, and they did a great job as the middle class
parents raising a zillion kids on one salary. Bonnie Hunt delivers
some of the best lines in the film while drivin' to give God back
a few hours at the families church. A real hoot. The two talents
definitely increased the films watchabilty and strengths.
Pollack (normally an immensely creepy little fellow) was pretty
good as the rabbi that help young Pete O'Malley on his quest to
save a Jew...well, get a Jew into heaven anyway.
Brian Dennehy makes a small appearance as the priest of Pete's
two kids were adorable. Young pros that really held their scenes.
The sad part of Stolen Summer, for me, is writer/director
Pete Jones had a real touching story, one the finest I've seen
in a while, and had it been less sugar coated and obvious in plot,
it really could have, should have, been a winner. Oh, wait it
Recommendation: Communion wafers and gelfelte.