I joined a large throng of local folks at the 4pm Saturday showing of "Doughboy:The Movie" and a good time was had by all. I'm told "Doughboy" was the #1 movie at the Highlands cinema this weekend.
Obviously, the first thing the locals loved were the Ohio Valley locations and the many local folks who were in the movie. Wheeling Park, Wheeling Park High, Saseens, Center Cup Cafe, even a quick shot of my old friend Tom Stobart stocking shelves at his Paradox Book Store. Each time a new local venue was shown you could hear the buzzing in the audience.
The patriotic theme clearly resonated with the crowd as well. The story of a cynical young man who learned about the sacrifice of veterans and developed a different understanding of patriotism plays well as we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
But the real joy for me was some wonderful acting.
Barrett Carnahan from Caldwell, Ohio showed really professional acting chops and had an easy screen presence that could lead to big screen success.
Emily Capehart is just a delight. Every time she came on screen I wanted to smile. She has an engaging screen personality that reaches out and draws you in.
One of my favorites was Claudia Esposito who played the veterans home director with such simplicity it didn't seem like "acting" at all.
The local veterans who shared their stories on screen were stunningly powerful. My wife cried. Simplicity, sincerity, intensity, and passion were visible in them all.
Virtually all of the performances were well done and entertaining.
The producers, Rob Capehart and Kristin Nixon-Seibert, deserve great credit for gambling on a feature film made entirely in the Ohio Valley. Director JW Myers and writer Ty DeMartino are great guys who put together a really enjoyable film.
Still, a couple of small things bothered me.
There were a several story lines that seemed unnecessary: "jock beats up the new guy in school", the surprising story of Jill's Nana, even "Weekend at Bernies" Terry Kiser's character seemed superfluous (or at least without adequate foundation). They popped up without foreshadowing and faded away without any real meaning.
The main story arc is strong and the Jill-Torey relationship adds a second layer; there wasn't really a need for the other ones.
I would rather have seen the time used on those story lines used instead to develop more fully some of the other developments that seemed to just "drop" on us in the final 3rd of the movie (there were unanswered questions about Michael Allen's character that could have been more fully explored and explained, for example).
And I was bothered by the unfair stereotyping of Tory's family because of their anti-war philosophy. I understand this was a film designed to spotlight the flag-waving style of patriotism--and it achieved that wonderfully. But portraying the other side as shallow out-of-touch elites is unfair. They were shown with British accent, eating Vegan meals, doing Yoga stretches and hypno-therapy, as well as having a lack of sympathy for Jill and the veterans side of the story.
Most of the characters were shown in multi-dimension---the veteran particuarly showed a variety of attitudes and opinions. But the other side was portrayed in a thin stereotype.
With those small comments made, I encourage you to head to the Highlands in the next few days. This limited run ends on Wednesday and the entire town is talking about this flick.
You don't want to be left out.