Gonzales knows detail and character—and he knows what to withhold: there is something for everyone to identify with here. There is not a brittle moment, and no pretense at all: this is memorable entry into a world and a time and a young life.
What I didn't like
I wouldn’t change a thing here. This one’s a keeper. Hope that it’s on youtube in case you miss it.
My overall impression
Johnny ‘81 is a big and genuine pleasure at so many levels: the tone is perfect in this intimate coming of age story, and it takes material that could be tragic or silly slapstick and plays it with a light touch that is sometime fall-down and very humanly funny and sometimes shocking. Gonzales’ exceptional writing and never over-the-top presentation provide vivid verbal pictures of a remarkable array of West Hollywood characters in 1981, and each brings his or her own gift. There is transport here and the hour and a half slips by as you are caught up as this 12 year-0ld boy, at one of those hinges in every life, navigates a world he could not have imagined.