Coming of Age
Inspired by the director’s memories of Michigan, and produced by a team of first-timers in the movie industry, Superior is Thelma & Louise with two high school graduates, Fargo without its dark humor, Easy Rider, without the drugs, and The Revenant in the form of a buddy movie. It is a satisfying experience of its own nature that is sure to please.
Two best friends in Vietnam War-era Calumet, Michigan are about to try out a hang glider along the beach of a small town. That is, until the car driving the hang glider breaks down, and the friend in the glider crashes onto the ground. It appears that he’s about to die, and his best friend leaves the broken vehicle to aid his friend. In his last dying words, he has this to say, “You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant.” It’s a pretty cruel joke, but this is the basis of Charlie and Derek’s friendship over the next hour and a half.
They both graduated high school and have their own plans ahead of them. Charlie’s planning on going to Michigan Tech University, and Derek is forced by his father to enlist in the US army. He in particular is fearful of his future: What will happen in life? How will he die? How will his face look at his funeral? Maybe it’s time to take this issue seriously…
Thus, he proposes to Charlie to take one last 1,300 mile bicycle excursion around Lake Superior. It is their last chance to live like they’re still free of responsibility while in each other’s company, not weighed down by societal pressure. Their trip is documented by a camera around Charlie’s neck and the ripped pages of Captain Hatteras. Their excursion eventually takes them off the planned detour and over the Canadian border, resulting in a dangerous trip that becomes less fun than they imagined. The survey of their buddy trip feels almost entirely complete, although I still wish that more of their lives before the trip was shown to get the full picture.
But maybe it works to its effect of focusing on their very real friendship. The screenplay written by the director avoids plot clichés to delve into honest, real conversations between these two through appropriately drawn out moments. With every stressful dilemma that tests their bond, there are plenty of lighthearted breaks including rock skipping and stick fighting; and on the side, plenty of jokes driven by circumstantial discomfort.
This film proves the tremendous potential the entire cast and crew has ahead of them, including the guitar score provided by Jeff Tinsley. The cinematography by producer Alex Bell also takes advantage of cool-colors and symmetrical shots to mark each important turning point of the journey. There were some moments where the camera was thrown out of focus, but the desire to visit Michigan is still sure to ignite.
As far as the actors go, they all are relatively average. It is composed of mainly unknowns native to Michigan, which helps, as star power would have removed the journey’s effect. None of these new actors gave an insufferable performance, aside from Brian Downing, who is creepy enough as the town folk who robs the boys of their money, but otherwise is simply not threatening in the way he was intended.
Superior is no The Graduate, but its depiction of facing the future and making decisions is hard-hitting for all men and women crossing that bridge of life. You could be leaving high school or leaving college or leaving a career, whichever stage of life you are leaving, Superior is for you. The ending is not entirely clear on its call to action, but for what it does, plenty of discussion and independent thinking will naturally ignite. Simplicity is currently available for rent or purchase on all media platforms.
Everyone is afraid of what will happen in their future. The fear does not stop after high school as we all know far too well, the inability to know where we will end up or how we will be remembered can be enough to paralyze us from enjoying the simple things. If it’s tough for a common person to get over not knowing about the future, imagine how much harder it is for somebody with autism, whose brain is naturally adept at setting a routine.
I for one can resonate with this concept all too well. These fears came to me when I graduated high school, when I graduated college, and whenever I have to move from one home to another.
Six-Word Lessons on Growing Up Autistic, Lesson #72: Moving Starts a Whole New Chapter.
When I first graduated high school, it was a time where I couldn’t exactly find a reason to celebrate. All my family that came to visit were ecstatic for me and my accomplishment, but I just knew that graduating meant I had to leave this school and the people there. Other fears racing through my head included an approaching job at a summer camp and moving into a new home for the first time in my life. Literally everything in my life was changing all at once, and none of it sounded attractive to me.
I felt these same types of fears again when I recently graduated from Arizona State University, except they were far more extreme. Unlike my high school graduation when I at least knew what was next for me, here, I had no plan on what was next for me. I had no job set in place, no plans to pursue a Master’s, and I had to leave the home I already established in Tempe the prior two and a half years. My autistic limitations in verbal communication were not helping either.
Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, Lesson #30: Will He Ever Have a Job?
Everything turned out well in the end for myself and everyone else I knew, but my point in this is: having autism makes it so much harder to get over fears of the unknown.
While yes, everybody fears the unknown, the fear is far greater for somebody with ASD. Autism means that expectations are always expected, we always love to know precisely what will happen and when. If there are any sudden surprises in the day, it’s usually not a settling thing. So just imagine how that must be in the long run, when the future is never guaranteed.
Six-Word Lessons on Growing Up Autistic, Lesson #33: They Plan Out Their Entire Day.
This movie tackles the fear of the future and how it affects the common everyday male. Derek is afraid of following his parents’ dreams of joining the US Army, but cannot otherwise think of who else he would rather be. Charlie seems to have his future set in place by pursuing a college degree, but even then he has set no real plan. They think that going for a bike ride around Lake Superior will clear things up, but all it does is cloud things further. Without giving away the ending, it essentially clarifies how we will never know what our future will bring, but the care of those who understand us will help us along the way.
The same can be said in real life. In my personal story, my parents were always there to calm me down when I felt wound up about what my future would hold. There’s proof for that in my current job (Consetta.com). While parents owning a business and hiring their autistic kids is rare, there is still a clear parallel: we all are in need of loved ones to get us through the difficult periods of our lives. We may not know what’s next, but with one another, we can at least get a hopeful idea.
- Take the time to understand your autistic child’s fears of the future. Know that it’s not the same relative fear that nonautisics have: it’s a matter of disorder in routine, not a disorder in life.
- For those with autism who fear the future, think back to when you felt a similar way you’re feeling now. Consider what happened after the disordering dilemma had passed. The same will happen with your current situation, it will all work out in the end and you’ll feel better once it’s all passed.
- Journal out exactly how you’re feeling. Getting the anxiety and fear out on paper will put things into a much neater perspective. You don’t have to share it with anybody, but if you’re willing, it’s an effective method to express your thoughts out to those you trust.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see reviewed, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Kemp, Susan. Superior (Dances With Films Review). Way Too Indie. Disqus, 5 Jun 2015. Web. <http://waytooindie.com/review/movie/superior/>.
Superior the Movie. Beyond the Porch Productions. Web. <http://www.superiorthemovie.com/>.