Your finest camcorder production

Sonoframbow_lLast 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”)

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  • Ep Sato

    I just got a camcorder and plan to make a video of the Buzz Scooter Stereo in action.
    BTW, “Close to Me” won me mega brownie points with my wife when we were still dating. Our ipods got mixed up and she ended up loving my music selection, that song by the Cure in particular. IMHO the version from the singles collection (with the horns) is much better than the original.

  • paige

    ugh- i did the same thing as your friend mandi, only with Frozen. sadly, i know who has that tape and i try to be completely good to her every time i speak to her

  • Amanda

    Being from the South, my friends and I definitely recreated Steel Magnolias in the 5th grade – complete with Sally Field’s emotional breakdown by yours truly.

  • Annie

    My little sister, when she was 5 or so, idolized Mandy Moore. So when A Walk to Remember came out and subsequently the music video for Cry, she made me film it and my other sister hold a fan to recreate the wind tunnel machine that Mandy was in. We got about halfway into it before her eyes got too dry to continue, hah!

  • new yorker

    This is kind or embarrassing, but in 1994, when I was a wee 9 years old, power rangers premiered on tv. Now to say that I was OBSESSED with the show would be an understatement. I was visiting my parents in New York (I lived in Africa then) so I got my parents to buy me the VHS (wayyyyyy before DVD)tapes and I proceeded to play it for my friends when I went back. My dad let me take his camcorder with me back, and my friends and I reenacted EVERY episode I had on tape. My dad has all the videos we made to this day as proof. Speaking of which, Mandi can we see yours, because I’m sure it is ‘oh so good!!’

  • Kristi

    My best friend’s older brother had an Indiana Jones fedora and a whip, so we ended up remaking the first 2 movies in their basement/backyard. I was always stuck in the villain role.

  • Kate

    My two best girlfriends and I did a rousing rendition of The Nutcracker for our families for Christmas when we were about 10 – I played the Prince (I was abnormally tall for my age), Laura played Clara, and Katie played “everyone else”. The costumes included the use of a hula hoop, a mumu, black spandex pants, and of course, tutus. Siblings worked the lighting and music. The best part – the “chest hair” we put on my chest with eyeliner, the standing ovation and tissue paper roses given to us by our adoring parents (I still have mine) and of course, the “Patti Duke” between Clara and the prince. We actually thought that’s what the “pax de duex” was called. My dad actually taped it and we watch it everytime we see one another at Christmas. Ah, priceless memories.

  • Kate

    My two best girlfriends and I did a rousing rendition of The Nutcracker for our families for Christmas when we were about 10 – I played the Prince (I was abnormally tall for my age), Laura played Clara, and Katie played “everyone else”. The costumes included the use of a hula hoop, a mumu, black spandex pants, and of course, tutus. Siblings worked the lighting and music. The best part – the “chest hair” we put on my chest with eyeliner, the standing ovation and tissue paper roses given to us by our adoring parents (I still have mine) and of course, the “Patti Duke” between Clara and the prince. We actually thought that’s what the “pax de duex” was called. My dad actually taped it and we watch it everytime we see one another at Christmas. Ah, priceless memories.

  • tad

    Oh, this brings back memories that I hadn’t thought about in a long time!! My two childhood best friends and I were constantly borrowing a video camera and recording our exploits or making really ridiculous home movies!! The best, though, was when we decided to do a recreation of the Final Fantasy III video game (yeah, we were hardcore nerds!!) I still think it was one of my best performances as I got to play the villainous Kefka!! The production values were minimal at best but surprisingly well-done and convincing!! I’m still proud of our work to this day even though I have no idea who actually has the tape now!! Ah, childhood memories!!

  • professor74

    I made an animation movie of a war between my GI Joes and my Transformers. I did all the voices as well as the “special effects”

  • boze

    My friends and I actually made our own oringinal production when we were 10. It was called the’Haunted Happy Meal’. We made a costume with flaming eyes, french fry fangs and ketchup drooling from the mouth. I played the monster, my friend was the hero, another was the first casualty, and the girl down the street played our heros mother (she was 12 and taller). We had a chase seen where I lumbered after the hero (both as a normal size, and later as a giant chasing a remote control car). We pulled out the plastic army men and legos for some godzilla like action. We even had some quick cuts to leaping stunts. Music was provided by a boombox. In the end a ray gun was designed by the hero (he became a scientist half way through) and I melted into a pile of chicken nuggets, ketchup, and brown patper sacks. It was pretty good.

  • Ceballos

    For a high school chemistry class project, me and a group of three friends had to do a demonstration on hydrogen.
    For some reason, we thought it’d be a good idea to do a music video, and for yet another reason we thought it’d be a good idea to base it on Will Smith’s “Men In Black” video.
    We shot the video in the garage, which was great because we only had like three minute windows to shoot before the temporary garage light shut off (the garage light made the lighting for the video ideal.)
    The video was kinda awesome, mostly brutal, but tons of fun to make.

  • Eric Friedmann

    When I was 16 years-old in 1984, my friend and I made some parody music videos with a simple 16mm camera to popular rock songs like ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man”, Motley Crue’s “Looks That Kill” and even Weird Al Yankovic’s “Eat It”. This other time I made a scenic film with the same camera and set it to Pink Floy’d “Hey You”.

  • Jane

    Funnily enough, my friend and I made several installments of “Rambi” (as in “Rambo”) with her cat Bambi as the star. They mainly featured her cat being held in place with a sock over someone’s hand while one of us provided the dialogue. Though Bambi always had to travel somewhere for a mission, so we had lots of fun designing “travel” montages with fishing wire and her brother’s collection of toy planes, heliocopters and boats.
    Boy, now I want to go find those video casettes…

  • mark in nyc

    While my friends and I made several sketches in High school later to be stored on one disk affectionatly known as “Mr. Blonky Wonky’s Home (boys) Movies”.
    Our best production was a 42 minute spoof of On the Waterfront…..which included such great lines as “I could have been a Bartender instead of being a mub, which is what I am” and “the grapevine said you picked up a supenis”.

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