Nostalgia can be fun or tiresome in the movies depending on the viewer’s perspective. Thankfully the new coming of age comedy Ping Pong Summer is the ultimate “ThrowBack Thursday” movie that captures the essence of the 1980’s era of excessive tackiness.
Synopsis: The year is 1985. Rad Miracle is a shy 13-year-old white kid who’s obsessed with two things: ping pong and hip hop. During his family’s annual summer vacation to Ocean City, Maryland, Rad makes a new best friend, experiences his first real crush, becomes the target of rich local bullies, and finds an unexpected mentor in his outcast next-door neighbor. Ping Pong Summer is about that time in your life when you’re treated like an alien by everyone around you, even though you know deep down you’re as funky fresh as it gets. (c) Gravitas
What I liked about Ping Pong Summer was the setting and tone. The references to the 1980’s are a lot of fun in this feel good buddy picture. Many things from the decade on our display including gaudy fashion, slushies, & boombox hip hop. Susan Sarandon was very good as the protagonist’s mentor and an unexpected strong female character in a boy-centric movie. While at the South By Southwest Film Festival, this was my favorite movie. The audience adored this fun loving sincerely enjoyable, coming-of-age 80’s throwback so much that additional screenings were added to the festival’s programming, too. Ping Pong Summer is waiting to be discovered by audiences!
Back in the day, when smaller movies were nurtured to find an audience, a movie like Ping Pong Summer would’ve easily done very well blossoming into the little indie hit. As adaptation, sequels, and remakes dominate the multiplexes, we no longer live in that movie going era where a small, odd, quirky movie like Ping Pong Summer would be as big. I don’t think the decade old movie Napolean Dynamite could survive in this saturated busy market. It would be banished to Red Box and watched by few but hard pressed to achieve pop culture status. A small movie like this deserves an audience. Seek out Ping Pong Summer and tell your friends about it.
Now playing in theaters and available on VOD.