Director: Cameron Watson
How small is Shelbyville, Tennessee? It’s so small that a group of five teens in 1978-- bored of borrowing cars to ride glass elevators at the Hyatt Regency or shopping carts in parking lots on quiet Friday evenings-- end up toilet papering one of their own homes just to have something to do. In writer/director Cameron Watson’s charming, earthy, yet forgettable 2005 debut film Our Very Own which premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival and won awards at both the Sarasota Film Festival (for ensemble acting) and Bluegrass Independent Film Festival (Best Feature), the five friends dream of being discovered by Hollywood actress Sondra Locke. Locke, who’s something of a recluse, is rumored once again to be returning to her Shelbyville hometown for the premiere of her latest movie. While attractive “good girl” Melora (Autumn Reeser) has her head in the clouds in her ambition for fame, her friend turned boyfriend Clancy (a winning Jason Ritter) is brought cruelly back to reality with his dysfunctional home life that consists of a town drunk out-of-work father who brawls on the courthouse lawn in broad daylight and his mother (Allison Janney) who is beginning to grow weary from trying very hard to keep up appearances of normalcy and domestic success. However, it’s far from melodramatic, and at its heart Our Very Own is like a clean-cut version of The Last Picture Show with teens all fighting against the limitations of their town and it’s refreshing to see such a close-knit group of kids who genuinely seem to support and respect one another, making the ensemble acting award for Reeser, Ritter, Hilarie Burton, Michael McKee and Derek Carter seem all the more justified and while the film is a slight but well-crafted time waster, it shows a great deal of promise from new filmmaker Cameron Watson and I look forward to the director’s follow-up.