It’s amazing some of the films that are uncovered after actors become stars. I’m not just talking sex tapes and dirty little secrets. There’s some legitimate curiosities out there waiting to be unearthed.
Case in point, Ron Teachworth’s 1984 drama Going Back. It’s a small independent production that likely wouldn’t garner much attention now except for the fact that it stars a young Bruce Campbell.
The film takes place in the exact moment of limbo between childhood and adulthood, the summer after high school but before college. It’s a Western rite of passage. Brice (Campbell) and Cleveland (Christopher Howe) go on a walkabout of sorts, leaving behind generic suburbia for a journey through the quiet countryside. Brice falls in love with a quiet farm girl named Cindy (Susan W. Yamaskai) while Cleveland finds the father figure that’s been missing from his life since he was a child. His name is Jack (Perry Mallette), an aging farmer who lets the boys bunk at his farmstead.
The two weeks the boys spend in the countryside answer a lot of the important life questions the pair have and open up a world of even more possibilities. About two-thirds of the way through the film, it skips ahead four years. Cleveland and Brice have drifted apart and grown much facial hair. They meet up and decide to head back to the country to see how things have changed – or rather dream of the way things were. But things can’t stay perfect forever. Time goes by. People move on. The present fades into memories.
Set in the easy-going backdrop of rural America, Going Back is laid back and simple, everything the “traditional Bruce Campbell” film is not. Its greatest strength is that its heart is out there and on the line. Much of the film revolves around gentle banter. There are some heavy conversations when nothing is left to the imagination but there’s still a gentle simplicity and honesty to it that makes it work. For example, there’s one scene where Brice and Cleveland are out for a walk and Cleveland lays out his heart about losing his father. All the dots are connected to the point where he says exactly how he feels and the issues it has caused in the years since. Generally I’m not a fan of such exposition, but there are several small details that make this scene, and others like it, feel genuine rather than forced and awkward.
Going Back is a simple joy. Although its attention might come from a star who has gone on to do big things in the two decades since, it’s nonetheless deserving. Filled with solid performances, gorgeous cinematography and realistic dialogue, it captures the same sad feeling of nostalgia watching it that the film’s characters experience.
Going Back Gallery
Going Back Trailer