I had never heard of Motern Media before I saw “Magic Spot,” and a quick Google search surprised me that the folks behind this film have a cult following. Directed by Charles Roxburgh (who co-wrote the screenplay with Matt Farley), this low budget sci-fi comedy about a time machine rock is not without its charms.
Walter (Farley) lives in the small New England town of Tussleville. He hosts a local talent show that only airs live, and hangs out with his friend and cousin Poopy (Chris Peterson). While chatting, the two men realize that their dear departed Uncle Dan (Kevin McGee) visited them as a ghost when they were kids, using his drop-in from the afterlife to plant a rhyme in their head about the town’s very own magic spot. If you stand on a certain rock during the winter, you’ll be transported back in time and into the beyond with the ability to observe but not interact with the past.
There’s a lot to like about this black and white, time traveling musical about a specter uncle, a close-knit small town with an affinity for melting provolone slices on top of pizza, and dynamic family relationships. The humor is hit or miss, but the cast of non-professional hometown actors and musicians is delightful, if not always talented. The film feels like the kind of project you’d make in the backyard as a vehicle to showcase your relatives and friends. With a more sophisticated and downright charming plot, this is the better of the director’s other entry at Fantastic Fest this year, “Heard She Got Married.”
“Magic Spot” has an engaging story and a nice sentiment about the joys of not living in the past so you can start experiencing the present. This is an example of true independent cinema that will be enjoyed by audiences willing to invest the time and take the plunge.