On Saturday night, Youthlarge, Steve, Jim, and I went to the Brooklyn Lyceum to see Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation. Back in the 80's, a bunch of Mississippi teenagers made a shot for shot remake of the classic film. It took them seven years to finish it, but finish it they did.
After gathering dust for a number of years, a college roommate of one of the auteurs made a copy of the tape. It eventually found its way into the hands of a Hollywood insider who ended up passing it on to Steven Spielberg. It turns out that Spielberg loved it. Now Dan Clowes is in the process of writing a film based on the experiences of these kids in the making of their film.
The movie itself is hilarious. The kids were so incredibly resourceful. Every Christmas, they'd ask for new gifts from their parents - a hat, a whip, etc. They filmed every scene except for the bald mechanic gets sliced by the airplane scene. A few adaptations were made -- Indy escapes on a boat rather than an airplane at the beginning of the film. And the monkey that gets poisoned by bad dates is replaced by Snickers the Dog.
But who cares? Once you've seen a Mississippi basement go up in flames during the bar scene, watch a bunch of teenagers re-enact the "Indy is underneath a moving truck" scene, and have a chance to marvel at the audacity of a bunch of kids filming the submarine scenes on the USS Alabama, you will forever be hooked. I watched the whole 100 minutes absolutely stunned. I would love to see it again.
It is a testament to these kids (and you get to see them grow up in the film albeit out of order since they didn't film the scenes chronologically) that they stuck with their plan over the course of seven years. And it further reminds me that Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the best movies ever made.
Youthlarge gets interviewed in front of the Brooklyn Lyceum by BBC America.
3 days ago