Son of Rambow
Credit: Maggie Ferreira

Last night, I saw a screening of the feel-good Sundance hit Son of Rambow (in theaters May 2). It’s about two young British boys — one a misunderstood, movie-loving bully; one a member of a religious sect that shuns entertainment (!) — who set out to make a sequel to First Blood. It’s set in the ’80s, so you get a great soundtrack (my favorite Cure song, “Close to Me,” plays over the end credits). And since it’s really about the powerful imaginations and friendships we’re capable of as children, you will also get weepy — and nostalgic.

According to Rambow‘s production notes, writer-director Garth Jennings actually did shoot Rambo-inspired action-adventures with his friends after seeing a pirated video copy of First Blood when he was young. “Our stories, stunts, and special effects were outrageous in both ambition and stupidity,” he admits, “but we thought our films were fantastic.”

Did you ever commandeer the family camcorder and shoot your own productions? I only did it once, in high school, when my friend Mark wanted to film a solo recreation of the “Like a Prayer” number from Madonna’s Blond Ambition Tour. I remember walking into the bathroom, with the camera on, and saying “Oh…My…God,” when I first saw him in his stuffed bra (underneath the black choir robe he’d borrowed from his church), putting on makeup and a somewhat sad, half-finished wig he’d made out of a rag mop. But the show had to go on… because my parents weren’t gonna be gone all night. We dimmed the lights in the family room, lit a few candles, positioned our friends Amy and Susi as adoring audience members, and I pressed record. Mark was amazing, right up until minute six, when he got dizzy doing those spins, stumbled around the room, and fell to the floor. I’m amazed that my laughter didn’t ruin the shot. I’d been standing on the couch, so I got a great angle. I wonder who has that tape now…

What was your finest camcorder production?

addCredit(“Bill Milner and Will Poulter: Maggie Ferreira”)