Clipping Adam

20.09.03 San Diego Film Festival premiere

Director and Screenwriter: Michael A. Picchiottino

Shooting: 08.02

"Kevin Sorbo is set for a lead role in the independent feature "Clipping Adam." First-timer Michael Picchiottino is directing from his script. The project is lensing in Carlsbad, California. The coming-of-age drama centers on a young boy, played by newcomer Evan Peters, coming to terms with the death of his mother and sister. Sorbo will play a free-thinking priest, Father Dan, who helps the boy cope." (27.08.02 Hollywood Reporter)
"Kevin Sorbo: I just did a film called "Clipping Adam", which is a small independent film with Louise Fletcher as well. I play a priest that works with this kid that's kind of going through a lot of issues since his mother and young sister died in a car crash and his father's an alcoholic. It's kind of a heavy drama, very touching, and I hope it gets distribution. I think it's got potential to do well at maybe film festivals and things. But it was fun to do something different. I shot that in August on our hiatus." (23.10.02 Science Fiction Weekly)
Sorbo says that he would have taken the part regardless, because it was not only a well-written script and touching story. Also, having been raised Lutheran, he had a young clergyman who helped him along life's path when he was a teen growing up in Minnesota. Says Sorbo, "I had Pastor Lee -- who I based this character on almost entirely. He was a great guy and it's important those like him aren't forgotten or made to suffer because of others in the same profession who use their authority to commit heinous crimes." (1.05.03 Celebrity Gossip - check it for the full version)
At 5th Eclipse Film Festival (14-15.11.03 - St. George, Utah) "Clipping Adam" was recognized as Best Feature Film. At 12th St. Louis International Film Festival (13-23.11.03 - St. Louis, Missouri) the film was Audience's Choice for Best of Fest.


Some critics said that "Kevin Sorbo is wasted in what amounts to a cameo as a priest", some claimed that his "heartfelt performance enhance a wonderful story", some became sure that Sorbo was "effectively cast against type". Lets give the word to the non-critic, good lady from Romania.

Review by Adina

"Clipping Adam" is that kind of coming-of-age drama for any person who's ever dealt with grief, either as a child or an adult. The story winds round the main character's hair, which is the first viewly thing at him - a long, curly and unclean. According to the premise, it's obvious that the story will force Adam to cut his locks, despite his will. With the flashback's help, we can realize that Adam's mother was the only one who touched his hair. But since an automobile accident claimed the lives of his mother and sister, for sentimental reasons, Adam didn't cut his hair. Even he says he's fine, he's not. His dad drowns his grief in the world of alcoholism. He is at least as wrapped up as Adam is and provides no real guidance to him.

"Clipping Adam" checks over the different ways how people react to the mourning. Mister Picchiottino deals with the characters and their problems in a very humanistic way. He doesn't make the mistake to turn Adam's dad into a long hitter or overload Adam with stereotype adolescent problems. I mean, this movie doesn't have that kind of "obligatory" plot element's or character's. And this is great because there is possibility to open new insights.

As to the priest role - Father Dan acts as a buffer for Adam's troubles. He helps the boy to discover the strength one can find with the support of a community, to deal with his grief and to repair his heartache as well as ailing relationship with his father. Personally, I was very curious to watch Mr. Sorbo performing that character. And I was impressed by his style. A surprising adept in his small but pivotal role, with an understated, world-weary charm he never had much call to use on "Hercules", Kevin Sorbo is wonderful. {I like Dylan Hunt, I liked Dr.Kocinski, Rick, Kull, Charlie and Kenny, but Hercules is still my standard to compare other Kevin's roles.} Kevin is amazing in this role and I say that not because itís about Kevin, but he really is. Heís a great actor.

Though he "believes that playing a Catholic priest is dicey business in the world of entertainment these days" (Celeb Insider, Feb.2003) I think there is a lot of people who can find out the movie's message. Mr.Sorbo declares, "People aren't really high on seeing a movie about a priest who helps out a troubled kid. When I took the part, there was a little joking that went on about how people may see Catholic priests these days. I thought, 'Well, sometimes you've got to make comedies out of life's tragedies." (Celeb Insider, Feb.2003). I agree! The fact that troubled teenagers can and must be saved from a possible crime-life and a possible sparseness, could be a lost cause in these cynical times. But "Clipping Adam" renews the idea that helping kids doesn't mean a lost of time and gives the proof that teenagers need to have friends and safe lives.



Plot outline:

The summer before freshman year should be a time full of possibilities, but longhaired Adam canít get over his troubles. 14-years boy is hunted by the loss of his mother and sister in a car accident he survived two years ago. Aside from struggles with the past tragedy, he has everyday teenage growing pains, the very real threat of high school hazing, and scant relationship with his jobless alcoholic father. Yet the healing power of his friendship with his grandmother and another boy to his meetings with a Catholic priest (Kevin Sorbo), Adam emerges from the weight of his grief.


Scenes with Father Dan

description and screencaps by kindly Adina

After the conflict at school the teen's loving Granny took charge and told Adam to see a priest, which sets him up with Father Dan. First meeting wasnít so lucky for Adam. The teenager was late and Father Dan went to play basketball. Adam appears on the playing field and Father Dan comes up to him, asks if he is Sheppard and tells not to be late next time.

The second meeting was a little different. Adam comes into the house, when Father Dan works to write and sent a fax. (Kevin seems to be good at using the computer...) So, the two talk about why Adam must visit priest every Thursday all the summer. Now, Father Dan finds about Adamís fight at school, his trouble and his motherís death. With a few simple questions, he brings Adam hard memories Ė like his motherís name, how she smiled, how she died Ė but all these memories will help Adam to come back to a good life. Finally, they are agree to meet together, but Adam doesnít be late. Itís a little funny part here, when Adam tries to say that he doesnít believe in God or stuff like that. But Father Dan seems to be very amused and tells him they have a very good start, already.
Next time Father Dan and Adam talk about what Adam likes more to do. Sports? Fun? At first, Adamís mind seems to be in other places. His sight is fixed on the little statue of the church. But he likes very much to ride on his bike. But then he and his friend try to catch some birds and sell them. Itís about wild green parrots. Adam is very happy that there is someone who listen to him and seem to be interested in his activities, even he and his friend didnít catch none, so far. Anyway, heís sure theyíll catch some birds, before the end of the summer. But when Father Dan asks him what will he do with the money take, his memories came back again Ė a flashback with his mother and little sister into the store, buying a guitar Ė and his mind is gone away. Father Dan is like a buffer for Adamís troubles, he helps the kid to think, gives him a handle to make a self-analyses and to deal with his grief.
The 4th scene starts in the garden of the church, where Father Dan talks with the Reverend about his activity. Now, we find out what for he is dischuffed. Rich people come to him and complain for nothing. They need him only when somebody dies. All these things donít relate with the work he wanted to do. He worked in the Navaho Indian reservation and he believes he could be more help there than here, in the city. Then there is the discussion between Father Dan and Adam about Adamís hair. Teenager don't mind admitting that he may keep the lengthy hair for the rest of his life. It is not because of his liking the locks, but because of the sweet memories: the only person who ever touched his hairs was his mother. Father Dan encourages the boy, saying he is doing well despite hard situation.
During their next meeting the main discussion between them is about Adamís father, but Adam sees Father Dan as more interesting person. The boy gives heed to a photo with Indian children, made in reservation. Very insistent, Adam wants to know why Father Dan had to go from this place and why he is not allowed to go back. Father Dan tries to give him an explanation Ė a priest goes where his service is needed; itís about one of that priest thing; the church wonít let him go to the reservation... - and we donít find the real reason, because not even Father Dan does know it and because the time of meeting is out. In the end of this scene Father Dan breaks his laces and sets stare at the photo.
This is the scene which I like very much. Why? Because I like Kevin, I like his moves, his expression, I like the script, the environment and I like Adam who has an ďunchainedĒ smile. Adam says he had a dream with his little sister, who was on the roof of the house. She called him up there to play with her. But she didnít wait for him and disappeared. Now, Adam thinks heís loosing his mind. Joking with him, but with a very serious face, Father Dan says: Well, yes, in my ďprofessionalĒ opinion, you areÖ goingÖ crazy. Then he smiles and starts to play the ball faster and faster, so Adamís smile grows into a real laugh. His dream just means he has missed his sister, thatís all.
The end of the summer runs short as the end of the movie too. At the last meeting Adam states that the priest helped him. Father Dan: You are the only one. -- Adam: I doubt it. You help people all the time. The boy claims he would like to help the people too, especially his father. He really believes Father Dan assists people, even if he just doesnít know. The main idea from this interesting discussion is that: itís almost impossible to save someone from his grief. But trying to do this for others can make you happy. Finally, Adam goes beyond his condition, catches the parrots and cuts his hair (his dad does it) and Father Dan goes back to the Indian reservation.
...You never know who helps whom.


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