(director/writer: E.R. Nelson; screenwriter: Nathan Phillips; cinematographer: Brandon Christensen; editor: Brad Barber/Ludwig Einklang; music: Brady Ellis;cast: Kirby Heyborne (Kirk Redgrave), Larry Bagby (Drake), Trenton James (Flint Weaver), Emily Tyndall (Ruby), Joyce Cohen (Mrs. Redgrave), Steven Wayne Anderson (Detective Anderson), Matt Mattson (Lance); Runtime: 86; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Nathan Phillips/E.R. Nelson/Christian Vuissa; JCN; 2006)
“… genial, campy and silly.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Director E.R. Nelson’s stab at spoofing the pirate genre matches up against only the recently released two high-budgeted “Pirates of the Caribbean” films. Cowriters Nelson and Nathan Phillips keep their low-budgeted personal film genial, campy and silly, and manage to get good production value for the limited amount they spent (it was filmed on HD). Its limited appeal is mainly to the teen and young adult crowd, who might find its pirate fantasy concept just the kind of absurd entertainment they need to escape from their daily school doldrums, suburban boredom and whatever else may give them acne.

The quirky story revolves around two twentysomething loner outcasts, Kirk Redgrave (Kirby Heyborne) and Flint Weaver (Trenton James), dressing up as pirates in Salt Lake City and attempting to live a pirate life (as imagined from those Hollywood movies of the 1940s and 1950s, a time when the studios actually made pirate flicks). The pirate friends, meeting only three weeks ago, are both suffering from a case of arrested development and find pirate life only continues their losing ways until they come across an old treasure map. In their rickety rowboat, the would-be pirates set sail for adventure and to get respect (something the young viewers living at home might identify with). They must battle with the shady owner of a pawn shop, Drake (Larry Bagby), who steals their treasure map. The dreamy youths, in a comical way, must overcome the ruthless villain and the curse that comes with the treasure.

Other supporting actors making a significant contribution are Steven Wayne Anderson as a detective chasing down the pirates over a possible murder, Joyce Cohen as Kirk’s anti-pirate widowed Christian mom, and Emily Tyndall as the sexy local seafood restaurant waitress whom nice boy Flint wishes was his girl but who rides with a “bad boy” biker.

The indie film has made the rounds of the festival film circuit, playing and winning honors in such diverse venues as the San Francisco Independent Film Festival, Indianapolis International Festival and the Phoenix Film Festival.

Pirates of the Great Salt Lake Poster