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12 year-old Trey Caldwell (Nathan Gamble, A Dolphin's Tale) is shattered when his father is killed in Afghanistan, leaving a hole in the boy's life and an unfinished Soap Box Derby car in the garage. A final gift from his dad, the car is a constant reminder of all that could have been. But when Trey meets Roy Gibbs (Corbin Bernsen, L.A. Law, Rust) a grizzled Fire Chief devastated by the loss of his firefighter son on 9/11, a new relationship forms and old wounds finally begin to heal. As the unlikely team works to complete the Soap Box car and train for the upcoming Derby, they'll learn that life isn't about the starting line or checkered flag - it's about the incredible journey in between.
Trey's father had gotten him a Soap Box Derby car, it was something they were going to build together and Trey was going to enter in the annual race but before it all could happen his father was called for duty in Afghanistan and he never returned. Then you have Roy Gibbs a old Fire Chief who has never gotten over the loss of his firefighter son on 9/11. When the head of Trey's school suggest the two of them meet they same an unlikely pair, Trey is wise beyond his years and Roy is a man that that's given up. But Trey is determined to get that soap box car done in time for the upcoming race and after awhile Roy decides to give the kid a hand.
"25 Hill" is a film the entire family can enjoy together. It's a story of faith and courage, two things Trey's father taught him to always have. The film's focus is on the decline of the Soap Box Derby and a young boy's journey of faith and courage as he fights to save it. Along the way an endearing relationship forms between young Trey and a grumpy fire chief. You can read more about the Soap Box Derby and the efforts of Corbin Bernsen to help save it after the review below.
The Soap Box Derby is so close to Bersen's heart that he not only stars in the film but wrote and directed it as well. He is terrific in his role as Roy and young Nathan Gamble is amazing as Trey, he has the acting skills of a real pro and I see a long and very successful career in Hollywood for him. Maureen Flannigan also stars in the film as Trey's mom and gives a wonderful performance as well. Production wise the film looks great and the soundtrack is fantastic as well, it really helps set the mood for each and every scene.
In today's world where kids are busy texting or playing video games it's great to still see there's wholesome and wonderful things still left for kids to do like the Soap Box Derby, the film really has you thinking back to when times were so much simpler. I recommend this for the entire family, it's not often when you can sit down and watch something this wholesome with your kids so it's always something special when a gem like this comes along. "25 Hill" is a touching, honest and tender film about two lost souls who come together for a cause in begin to heal as the mmake the journey together. This is a film that deserves to be seen and one I highly recommend owning. You can order the DVD HERE.
Released by Echo Light Studios
***** Out Of *****
Corbin Bernsen, Emmy and Golden Globe nominated as Arnie Becker in L.A. Law, heard about the Derby’s financial woes by chance in 2009. The actor, now featured in USA Network’s Psyche, also produces and directs films for targeted fan bases. He knew immediately the Derby could benefit from his efforts. The result was his new film, 25 HILL.
“Ultimately 25 Hill began as a journey to help save the great American tradition that is the All-American Soap Box Derby,” Bernsen said. “The fact that they are now celebrating their 75th Anniversary with FirstEnergy as a new title sponsor makes me more proud than you can imagine. If the film only served as a spark to ignite a movement, it demonstrates, like the Derby itself, the power of community coming together for a common purpose.”
When Bernsen first approached Derby officials, the event was looking at its own finish line, hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, no major sponsor and participation skidding. 25 HILL’s help included a significant fee to feature the Derby in the film, a percent of the film for the Derby and the notoriety a film can bring.
Now the Derby’s only checkered flag is the one that race contestants will see. The organization’s loans were guaranteed by the city of Akron; it has landed FirstEnergy Corp. as a new title sponsor; and local, regional and national publications write glowing coverage about its association with 25 HILL.
"Corbin's movie 25 HILL raised awareness about Soap Box Derby racing and exposed our program to a wide audience in addition to providing a well-needed financial contribution,” said Joe Mazur, All-American Soap Box Derby president. “Like in the movie, we now have a new title sponsor, FirstEnergy Corp., which enables us to expand our racing program to more youngsters"
Bernsen has tirelessly promoted the film and the Derby, often in communities that support regional races, and he’ll be on hand for the July 21, 2012, 75th anniversary events. Interestingly, one of this year’s participants will be there because the film inspired him to get in the race. Akron-area seventh-grader Christian Viering and his mom volunteered as extras during the 2010 filming of 25 HILL. Following that experience, he built a car, accumulated sufficient points and will race on the 21st in Akron.