Knockin' on Heaven's door
Stolen Summer
Review by Ross Anthony

Yes, Yes, this is the Affleck/Damon "Project Greenlight" winner. Yes, the one whose creation aired on cable. In fact, for those of us who missed those episodes, the film is accompanied by a short prelude of "behind the scenes" highlights.

Even at those times when the production value clearly rolls along the sometimes-bumpy Indie road, when the acting or cinematography and score resembled only student work, the script still feels strong. And then, when the production and especially acting rise above all expectations ... the script still backs it all with meaning.

As a writer myself, I was very curious (and skeptical) about this "winning" script, but save for a few rough edges here and there ... I think it's a deserving winner. The dialogue, especially for the adults, works very nicely. The central character Pete often speaks a mouthful for a kid, but he's not intended to be average. Each character has depth and distinction; their interaction is a pleasure. And the story is one that has definite good-hearted purpose.

Aidan Quinn and Kevin Pollak must be commended for their good work; Quinn's Chicago accent eerily hits the mark (I grew up in Chicago). Adi Stein (Pete) does a respectable job of carrying the movie with the endearing Michael Weinberg serving as the bright-eyed sidekick.

Growing up in an Irish Catholic family with "Heaven and Hell" so close "they're neighbors," eight-year-old Pete decides to stop being bad so that he won't go to hell. His quest involves executing some good-old-fashion Christian accomplishments. Namely, converting Jews. Pollak, plays the local Rabbi that welcomes Pete's sincere mission. Pete sets up a lemonade stand in from of the synagogue advertising "Free tickets to heaven."

None to happy about this whole ordeal, Quinn, the too-proud father reprimands him, "You should be worrying about baseball and swimming and going to bed by nine! Don't try to change the world at eight." Or even a better line, "You don't worry about Jews! You don't worry about Catholics ... You worry about me!"

Though at times the characters can get gritty, the tone of the story is light and cute, balanced with a touching serious side. Nicely paced as well. Overall, a worthy first effort (despite the dull title) ... expect to see more from this writer.

  • Stolen Summer. Copyright © 2002. Rated PG.
  • Starring Aidan Quinn, Bonnie Hunt, Kevin Pollak, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Adi Stein, Mike Weinberg.
  • Directed by Pete Jones.
  • Screenplay by Pete Jones.
  • Produced by Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Chris Moore at Miramax/LivePlanet.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:54:28 PDT