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Rustin

As "Rustin" demonstrates, the road to trite dramatic conclusions is usually paved with worn-out ideas. For their morality tale about an ethically conflicted hero's dark night of the soul, writer Jon Lucas and helmer-star Rick Johnson aim for nuance but create little more than melodrama of the small-screen variety.

Rick Johnson

As “Rustin” demonstrates, the road to trite dramatic conclusions is usually paved with worn-out ideas. For their morality tale about an ethically conflicted hero’s dark night of the soul, writer Jon Lucas and helmer-star Rick Johnson aim for nuance but create little more than melodrama of the small-screen variety. Echoing portions of “Everybody’s All-American” and other movies about athletes past their prime, pic — which took home the audience award for a feature at Method Fest — is riddled with contrivances and mannered revelations out of creaky ’50s theater, making for some daunting third-and-long commercial prospects.

The placid existence of local football hero and Rustin, Ala., town sheriff Billy (Johnson) is suddenly undone with the appearance of 16-year-old Lee (Ashley Johnson), who claims he’s her dad, and a nighttime highway fender-bender involving the high school’s star football players that conniving team coach Trellingsby (Meat Loaf Aday) wants Billy to ignore. Matters go from bad to worse for Billy, until he realizes he’s become the town joke and is rejected by Lee. Aday brings shading to his portrayal of a man without scruples, but Johnson’s only notable feature is his resemblance to John Elway.

Rustin

Method Fest

  • Production: A Grabba-Bat Films presentation in association with Dahlia Street Films and C-Dub Prods. Produced by Molly M. Mayeux. Executive producers, Steve Hines, Michael Papajohn, Clark Williams, Jason Patin, Bill Harbert. Directed by Rick Johnson. Screenplay, Jon Lucas, story by Johnson.
  • Crew: Camera (FotoKem color), Wally Pfister; editor, Karen Lee Smith; music, Jonathan Price; production designer, Phillip Vasels; costume designer, Hala Bahmet. Reviewed on videotape, L.A., June 15, 2001. (In Method Festival, Pasadena --competing) Running time: 101 MIN.
  • With: <B>With:</B> Rick Johnson, Meat Loaf Aday, Ashley Johnson, Zachery Ty Bryan, Shawn Weatherly, Michael Papajohn, Dean Biasucci, Shanessa Sweeney, Afemo Omilami.