Friday, May 22, 2020

Flyin' Ryan

Flyin’ Ryan
Linda Shayne

Ryan Maguire (Andy Weiss) is a twelve-year-old kid. He and his mom move in with Aunt Rita (Connor Snyder), an odd woman with some sinister habits. The local skateboard gang starts picking on Ryan because he is new in town, or has red hair, the movie is unclear on this aspect. Soon, Ryan comes into possession of some shoes with magical reflectors on them that allow him to fly. This helps him save a dog or something… I don’t know...

"I don't know what's going either."
The plot of Flyin' Ryan is all over the place. It begins as a fish out of water story as we have a dorky kid forced into awkward situations, in this case, a new home, and local bullies. We are also introduced to some supernatural undertones as his house may be haunted. This goes a step further when a cowboy ghost shows in the wild west town on the outskirts of the city that is totally real and not some tourist trap place that sells you t-shirts. It is from this unholy specter that Ryan receives the magical reflectors that make his shoes fly.

Why would reflectors make shoes fly? Why would an old-timey ghost have reflectors? With all this investment into the flying shoes as a plot device, they are all but forgotten during the middle of the film. Instead we deal with a local skateboard gang and a dog that is introduced very late into the movie. The whole thing turns into a 'rescue the stolen dog story' that is completely bereft of anything supernatural.

Visual masterpiece.
There are many disjointed story elements that never amount to anything, a random karate stunt, a belly dancing scene that comes out of nowhere, a bit of drama as Aunt Rita is hospitalized. This disjointedness is really the most notable thing about what is an otherwise formulaic kid’s movie. Ryan’s shoes help do things he can’t normally do and they always work. I defy you to come up with a message behind this film other than, “We got some money to promote Heelys and made a movie around it.”

Ryan’s magical shoes are Heelys, the shoes with wheels that kids used to love, Here they are provided by the company for some free product placement. I don’t understand the connection with flying, it seems like a better promotion for your wheeled shoes would be, well, skating. There is even a natural set-up here as Ryan runs afoul of the local skateboard gang. This could have been the Gleaming the Cube (1989) of wheeled shoe movies, but instead, it’s a worse Skateboard Kid (1993).

Does his shirt say TERRACE BOOB?
Flyin’ Ryan is shot on digital video and every interior looks cheap and flat while the exterior shots look rather nice with their natural lighting. Knowing that this was a low budget kids movie, I figured that the flying effects would be unimpressive, they are not good but also not remarkably terrible.

This seems to be a good summation of the Flyin' Ryan itself: Not good, but not remarkably terrible.

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