Drafthouse Films Spotlight: RAIDERS! [Two Cents]
Two Cents
Two Cents is an original column akin to a book club for films. The Cinapse team will program films and contribute our best, most insightful, or most creative thoughts on each film using a maximum of 200 words each. Guest writers and fan comments are encouraged, as are suggestions for future entries to the column. Join us as we share our two cents on films we love, films we are curious about, and films we believe merit some discussion.

The Pick

Never tell me the odds!

OK, wrong Harrison Ford character, but Han Solo’s maxim rings true for a group of geeks who spent their teenage years crafting an almost shot-for-shot remake of Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Amazingly they completed it despite fatigue and infighting, with the exception of one scene which proved impossible to do on their limited resources.

Lost to time, their impressive tape traversed underground circles and eventually caught the attention of filmmaker Eli Roth, who was captivated by his discovery and introduced the film to geekdom at large. Since then, the boys, now men, have had their ups and downs, but with this new second wind decide to finally cap off their film with its one missing piece, and it’s the resulting documentary that’s the subject of today’s analysis.

At present, the “Raiders Guys” have just finished a coast-to-coast publicity tour screening the film, and it seems a great time to run it by the Two Cents gang. Captivating, hopeful, and in my opinion a perfect embodiment of the Drafthouse spirit, we finish out our Drafthouse spotlight series with Raiders! The Story Of The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made.

Did you get a chance to watch along with us this week? Want to recommend a great (or not so great) film for the whole gang to cover? Comment below or post on our Facebook or hit us up on Twitter!

Next Week’s Pick:

BOYS AND GIRL OF EV-ER-Y AGE, WOULDN’T YOU LIKE TO SEE SOMETHING STRANGE?

This is Halloween! And it’s our tradition ’round these parts to run an eclectic string of awesome horror for the month of October. The first title is streaming on Netflix, but the others might need some tracking down. Join us all month as we decide – Trick Or Treat?

Selections and Submission Deadlines:
10/06 – BASKIN (2016) – Streaming on Netflix
10/13 – HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH (1982) – Amazon Video
10/20 – NOSFERATU: PHANTOM DER NACHT [NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE] (1979)
10/27 – LEATHERFACE: THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 3 (1990)

Would you like to be a guest in next week’s Two Cents column? Simply watch and send your under-200-word review to twocents(at)cinapse.co!

The Team

Brendan:I’m torn on Raiders. On the one hand, it’s a very well-put together documentary, quickly and effectively bringing you into the world of the “greatest fan film ever made” and establishing the personalities of the three main kids. And when dealing with the do-it-yourself planning and problem solving that the kids used to craft their movie, the film is every bit as charming and funny as you could hope for. The problem is the adult stuff, when they reunite to finish their film by filming the big plane action scene. Suddenly, the guys are avoiding their jobs and families, spending thousands upon thousands of their and other people’s dollars for a maybe five minute sequence in their goofy movie, and endangering the life of people who are working on the movie because it turns out that being a clever 12-year old is NOT adequate preparation for making an actual movie. This is not fun, this is not charming, and these guys do not seem like healthy adult human beings. The fan film becomes a whetstone around their collective necks, dragging them back from adulthood. And I don’t know if the doc gets this, or if the film thinks these guys are still lovable dreamers working on a noble and totally-worthy project. It’s troubling, and it sort of sapped out what goodwill I had for the homemade remake. (@TheTrueBrendanF)

Justin:I truly admire kids like this and I envy their ambition. When I was a kid, I did some fun stuff like this, but never to the extent of making an entire film. I can’t imagine just how much fun it was for them.

It’s also pretty amazing that they were able to finish their dream as adults.

The documentary is a lot of fun and I enjoyed it, but mostly I just spent the whole time thinking about how much I wish my friends and I were like these kids when I was growing up.

I’m not sure it’s REALLY the greatest fan film ever made, but this documentary sure was a pretty damn good time. (@thepaintedman)

Austin:The Raiders Adaptation and its subsequent documentary have been well covered on the site; Victor Pryor honored the fan film as a Pick Of The Week, and I’ve reviewed the documentary as well as its recently completed Roadshow Tour.

Now family men, the boys who had buried their childhood project get enthused to wrap the unfinished scene of their boyhood project, burying their personal beefs and overcoming obstacles, now more grown-up in nature – balancing home life and employer expectations with their passion project. It’s an endeavor that easily could have failed, and that makes it pretty darn compelling.

I can see Brendan’s point about how the men who are the film’s subjects might come off as selfish or obsessed. This is in some respects a positive, as Raiders! doesn’t set out to make them saints, but to simply present them as they are – even the rough edges. But having met Chris (Indy) a few times and getting to know him a bit, not only as an audience member but just hanging out and talking movies, and I can attest to his enthusiasm and humility. (@VforVashaw)

Did you all get a chance to watch along with us? Share your thoughts with us here in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook!

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the author

Austin Vashaw is a technology and new media professional in Overland Park, KS (a Kansas City 'burb). Film yakker, wisecracker, tact lacker, and BK Stacker snacker; lover of photography, Victorian literature, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. @VforVashaw | letterboxd.com/VforVashaw