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Bill the Galactic Hero

Bill the Galactic Hero (2014) Movie Poster
USA  •    •  90m  •    •  Directed by: Alex Cox, Danny Beard, Merritt Crocker, Amanda Gostomski, Alicia Ramirez, Raziel Scher, Jordan Thompson.  •  Starring: James Miller, Devon Wycoff, Jesse Lee Pacheco, Katie McManus, Eddy Jordan, Hayden Winston, Brittany Handler, Nicholas Wagner, Shayn Herndon, Bradley Allf, Lily Grisafi, Pablo Kjolseth, Anneka Kumli.  •  Music by: David Bashford.
Bill is a pizza delivery driver who is drugged and shanghaied into the Space Troopers. Bill initially works as a fuse tender but when his ship is struck by enemy fire he finds himself the only remaining soldier capable of firing back.


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Image from: Bill the Galactic Hero (2014)
Image from: Bill the Galactic Hero (2014)
One day I walked into Alex Cox's intermediate filmmaking class and he informed me and my colleagues that we would be helping him shoot a kickstarter video. 2 years later, I sat in his living room and stuffed envelopes with DVD's, scripts, fake ipads and other intergalactic recruiting materials to be sent to the project backers as reward for their donation. Yes, the film bears his name and writing credential, but the film really belongs to us... the students.

The book 'BiL the Galactic Hero' screams millions of dollars when thought of in a cinematic sense. Slipways, fusebays, helivators, refreshment robots, different planets, spaceships, alien species.... you get the point. What's interesting is that for some reason, this factuality didn't mar Alex's enthusiasm or confidence in any way. Ever. At every turn and hurdle Alex was there asking us our thoughts and writing us checks to explore our ideas. Without a doubt, this movie is riddled with frustrating errors and puzzling inefficiencies, but between the rough edges, if one cares to look, is an incredible act of generosity and a remarkable teaching tool.

We were learning the broad strokes of filmmaking. Despite our inexperience and sometimes lack of confidence, all departments functioned diplomatically and moved as a unit from concept to completion with lots of fun along the way. At the end of our last shoot in Cathedral Gorge, Nevada, we still had the energy to break out into a boys vs girls rock fight. I think the girls won. I definitely got hit in the head with a rock, but I was OK. When we got back to camp we had enchiladas (a coveted experience as it was a break from the regular routine of cosmos pizza). It was like some anti-authoritarian fever dream. A real treat.

Sometimes the conditions were far less than ideal. Pizza, let me tell you, loses it's luster after the 30th consecutive serving. Furthermore, we had only 5 complete spacesuits on the entire picture. I don't think they were ever washed. We all took turns wearing these suits in various environments ranging from the blistering heat of the desert to the muggy bowels of the university's power plant. Yet, somehow, complaints were always slim to none. In fact, it was a badge of honor to zip up one of these foul garments and take a laser blast from a Chinger rifle.

I want to sincerely thank everyone who donated to this project. You bolstered the education of nearly 70 film, theatre, dance and art students who would have NEVER had this opportunity otherwise. You supported something that stands for cooperation and perseverance, but also urges independence. All of us twenty somethings who worked on this project could have easily enlisted in the military had we so desired, but instead we present to you this modest picture.

Review by merrittcrocker from the Internet Movie Database.