5-25-77 is not, as many think, the three guesses Boris Johnson had at the number of extra martial affairs he has had but actually the release date of the original Star Wars film or at least it is if you live in America and the bizarre system of putting the month number first.

But though Jaws was arguably the dawn of the modern summer blockbuster Star Wars took fandom to an unheard of level that remains to this day with fans arguing over the finest detail of George Lucas sci-fi franchise.  For teenager Patrick Read Johnson it took his level of home movie making to another level altogether and the film initially flits back to 05-07-68 with Johnson as a young boy watching ‘2001 – A Space Odyssey’ totally in awe of the on screen imagery whilst many in the cinema auditoria are bewildered by the film. It’s part of an excellent opening sequence that sees Johnson (played by John Francis Daly) making his own films in his backyard using anything he can get his hands on encouraged by his Dad and exasperating his mother irritated at her sons going to any lengths to, ‘get the shot’ whether it be painting a horse with stripes to be a zebra or overloading the filter to the house swimming pool and it’s that thing where as kids you are wholly oblivious to the turmoil you cause your parents when you have an overly creative imagination.

An autobiographical tale that’s starts with, ‘Most of this is true’ this film is very much a labour of love having been shot between 2004 and 2006  where Daly as Johnson’s onscreen self could pass as a 17 year old. Since then the real life Johnson has written for the big screen with far bigger budgets and many of the effects in ‘5-25-77’ were completed over the past ten years before the film was finally completed and many of them are engagingly imaginative and often very funny flights of fantasy that add to the charm of the film.

But on screen Johnson’s home movies are taking him nowhere, neither are they impressing the girls in his life and with his parents divorced and him living with his mother it’s her who gets him a kind of internship on a film magazine in which capacity he meets a fledging Spielberg shooting ‘Close Encounters’ but best of all for him he meets his idol Douglas Trumbull the man who, effects wise, made 2001 possible for Kubrick.

So for those of us having developed a life-long love of movies 5-25-77 there’s an immense amount to like about and maybe even identify with and there’s a pivotal scene where a friend challenges him about why he is so obsessed with films. His answer is an accurate insight that, however you were or are regarded in your school days, cinema is a great leveller, everyone is there for that communal experience and it makes all of us equal as we’re caught up with the excitement of the film we’re enjoying together.

Though this was conceived and shot years before Spielberg’s Oscar nominated ‘The Fabelmans’ this is very much cut from the same cloth and like that film this is overlong but with its comic touches and nods to Kubrick and Spielberg 5-25-77 , at its best, is deliriously good fun.

related feature: What happened to Star Wars Detours

related feature: The Mandalorian experience

Here’s the 5-25-77  trailer……

We chatted to writer-director Patrick Read Johnson about the making of the film….

5-25-77 is out now


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here