As an avid movie lover, I also love a good documentary about making movies. I love to see the passion that goes into making a film and all the work that is required to bring a story to life. This month a new documentary is out that is not just about making a movie but also about life, growing up, love for movies, and friendship. And it blew me away.
Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made is the story of two 11-year-olds in Mississippi in 1981 that went to the movies and saw a film that changed their lives. That film was Raiders of the Lost Ark. The two boys were so taken with the film they set out to do a shot for shot remake of it on their own with some of their friends. This project would end up taking seven years to complete, mostly filmed in their basement, and with an extraordinary amount of creativity. But there was one scene they never filmed, the airplane fight. Years later after they all went their own ways; the film became an underground hit catching the attention of film industry people like Eli Roth, Steven Spielberg and Harry Knowles. But could they be reunited to film that final scene?
Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made, aside from having a very long title, is one of the most intimate and inspiring documentaries I have seen in a long time. The first thing it did so well was fill me with childhood nostalgia. Seeing the old video camera footage of kids acting out scenes from a movie that was very big for me as well was great. And these kids did not hold back at all. They have actual drapes and clothes on fire in the bar scene, actual stunts hanging on to the front of moving trucks, even going so far as to build a giant boulder to chase their own Indiana Jones and build their own Well of Souls. This was an impressive undertaking. But as the boys grew older, they eventually grew apart, some of their animosity coming from a situation with, of course, a girl. The story of their adult lives is even more intimate with stories of failures, successes, addictions and relationships. And when they come back together as men to film that final scene, they could never have predicted the many ups and downs that would come with it and the emotions, good and bad, that would return. Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made is an absolutely phenomenal story of passion and friendship that has something in it for everyone to relate to. Very highly recommended.