Our Very Own - Big Dog in a small town' goes for a ride.

Jason Ritter, Autumn Reeser, Derek Carter, Hilarie Burton, Michael McKee

The Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF) hosted the World Premier screening of 'Our Very Own' at the DGA (Directors Guild of America) in the Narrative Category on Wednesday, June 22nd.  Don't be confused by the log line; 'A coming of age story about a group of five friends passing through that special summer when their dreams are bigger than the town, and the first glimpse of adulthood waits just around the corner.'  This is a nostalgic story of relationships, painful family secrets, small town values and big city aspirations that life has to be better than this all brilliantly told in Cameron Watson's feature film directorial debut. 

Jason Ritter, Autumn Reeser & Amy Landers

In 1978, five Shelbyville, Tennessee teenagers put into motion their own hilariously desperate quest for fame and to meet Sondra Locke, when the once local turned Hollywood Star, makes a rare publicity appearance in her hometown.  It took me back to how life once was and wish it still were what a treat and delightful walk down memory lane!!

Beth Grant

Clancy Whitfield (Jason Ritter) and Melora Kendal, (Autumn Reeser) best friends and falling in love for the first time, set out to track down the star in hopes of grabbing onto her 'fur coat tail' and high-tailing it to Hollywood.  Rumor has it in town that she will be attending the Walking Horse Celebration (Shelbyville is the 'Walking Horse Capitol of the World' and 'Pencil City, USA'), as well as the Annual Variety Show before the opening of her movie ('Every Which Way But Loose') at the local theatre. 

Clancy and Melora, along with their three best friends, Bobbie, (Hilarie Burton) Ray (Derek Carter) and Glen (Michael McKee) devise a scheme to get Ms. Locke's attention, including an elaborate musical number at the Variety Show which leads to an all out chase to find the starlet.

The quest to find Sondra Locke comes to a climax at the Walking Horse Celebration where the teens are confronted with the uncertainty of chasing youthful dreams and the reality of the world in which they live, and what is really available to them there.

Allison Janney & Cheryl Hines

Interwoven with the hilarious antics of the teens, is the tragic story of Clancy's wounded parents' lives unfolding behind closed doors.  Billy, (Keith Carradine) Clancy's father, has suffered personal and financial misfortunes leading him and his wife, Joan, (Allison Janney) down the dark path of failure and self-destruction.  Joan fights to hold the family together, barely hanging onto her dignity and sanity while trying to protect Clancy from the fallout.

The film is filled with strangely haunting images (Rufus the Dog rides through town on the roof of a Ford Pinto) of a rural town nearly lost in time. The unique, real-life town of Shelbyville, Tennessee sets the stage for this journey of hope told through the eyes of Clancy, a teenager who witnesses the damage and heartache of the broken human spirit while discovering the possibilities of what the future holds in store.

Joan's best friend and confidant, Sally, (Cheryl Hines) helps her through the embarrassment and humiliation of it all, reminding her that these people have nothing better to do than to gossip and it will all work out.  This is 1978 life in Shelbyville and we feel it.

Jason Ritter & Keith Carradine

The unique support characters and back-stories bring Watson's wonderfully told memories to life.  Melora's cigarette-puffin' Mother, Virginia, (Beth Grant) never leaves her kitchen table 'Go ahead, use the car and wreck it, kill all those kids and leave me to live with that the rest of my life.'  Her sister, Rhonda, (Amy Landers) is stuck in a dead-end job.  To generate some extra income, makes purses from old jeans and when Ms. Locke is seen with one is catapulted to 'Providing accessories to the stars.'  Athylene Tucker (Faith Prince) the would-be-wanna-be Mayor, local busy-body and in charge of everything local Woman's Club, Tennessee Walking Horse festivities and talent show.  Skillett (Dale Dickey) the smart-alecky, local coffee shop waitress.  Dr. Denny Dunwitty (T. Scott Cunningham) talent show coordinator and town veterinarian.  Buzz (Steven Griffith) the local eccentric who would like to believe he wrote all of Elvis Presley's songs.  Danny Prescott (Richard Jenik) the local banker with a black eye at the hands of Billy Whitfield.  Ricky (John Will Clay) and Skeeter (Cody Block) the town red-neck losers and the rare cameo appearance of Mary Badham as Mrs. Nutbush, the one who helps Billy have his moment of clarity.  Ms. Badham was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at the age of nine for her performance as Scout in 'To Kill a Mocking Bird.'  'Our Very Own' was her first time in front of the camera in 38 years.

The performances were all outstanding.  So Carradine was not the most believable alcoholic I've ever seen, other than that, all the performances and I mean ALL, were right on the money.  They were real and put you there.  A rare and seldom-seen treat in this industry.  Cameron Watson put together a seasoned and gifted cast for his maiden voyage as a Feature Film Writer/Director.  I highly recommend 'Our Very Own.'  I can only assume and look forward to more quality film making from this team.

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