The Spud Phenomenon

Spud 3: Learning to Fly

spud_three_learning_to_fly

 

Director: John Barker

Cast: Troye Sivan, John Cleese, Casper Lee, Aaron McIlroy, Sven Ruygrok, Grant Swanby, Ben Voss, , Blessing Xaba, Luke Tyler, Alex McGregor

31 Million Reasons director John Barker takes over the helm of the third Spud film, Spud 3: Learning to Fly as the story, based upon a series of hugely successful novels is written for the screen by its author John van de Ruit, follows John Milton aka Spud as he enters Grade 11 or what was known as Standard Nine the year prior to Matric.

The crucial year is 1992 the year of the South African referendum in which white South Africans could vote on whether the then Nationalist Party’s current steps to dismantle apartheid was endorsed by the minority electorate, obliquely referred to in the film by a Sunday Times headline. This is a South Africa pre the 20 years of democracy scenario, and the setting is a wealthy all boys’ boarding school in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands – many of which still exist today.

John Milton, wonderfully played by South African expat, Troye Sivan, escapes the turmoil of his domestic life as his crazy parents seem intent on splitting for divorce after his mother catches his father (played by Durban comedian Aaron McIlroy) flirting with the voluptuous Portuguese neighbour. Back at school, there is trouble with the Crazy Eight (the group of friends who forged their ties in silly antics involving a secret tree house in Spud 2) led by the arrogant Rambo played by Sven Ruygrok, as some of the members aim to be confirmed and become a school prefect.

To make matters worse a new boy arrives from Malawi, Garth Garlic played by teen Youtube sensation Casper Lee, who desperately wants to be accepted into the Crazy Eight. Milton also has the threat of his school scholarship being revoked should he not prove himself both academically, theatrically and on oddly enough on the sports field.

Milton often seeks advice from the caustic and brilliant Guv, wonderfully played by veteran British comedian John Cleese from the Monty Python movies not to mention Faulty Towers. This really was a monumental casting coup for the Spud Trilogy to get someone as prolific as John Cleese to star in a South African film and really improved the marketability of the Spud franchise abroad especially in the UK and Australia where there are large South African expat communities residing.

To make matters worse a new boy arrives from Malawi, Garth Garlic played by teen Youtube sensation Casper Lee, who desperately wants to be accepted into the Crazy Eight. Milton also has the threat of his school scholarship being revoked should he not prove himself both academically, theatrically and on oddly enough on the sports field.

Milton often seeks advice from the caustic and brilliant Guv, wonderfully played by veteran British comedian John Cleese from the Monty Python movies not to mention Faulty Towers. This really was a monumental casting coup for the Spud Trilogy to get someone as prolific as John Cleese to star in a South African film and really improved the marketability of the Spud franchise abroad especially in the UK and Australia where there are large South African expat communities living.

spud_two_the_madness_continues

Whilst Spud 2: The Madness Continues was meant to be humorous and silly in parts, Spud 3: Learning to Fly has a stronger script giving more flesh to some of the supporting characters especially the rest of the Crazy Eight gang including Fatty played by Blessings Xaba. The female characters are also better written and Van de Ruit cleverly frames the action of Spud 3 firmly within the third term antics of a disastrous production of Midsummer Night’s Dream at St Catherine’s all girls’ boarding school.

Spud 3: Learning to Fly is a more coherent and less juvenile production showing not only that the characters have matured more as they should have, but the cast has become naturally more familiar with the Spud Phenomenon. This is a humorous family film, with all the recognizable trials and tribulations of teenage boys navigating puberty, peer pressure and that urge to survive high school with their male pride intact. Think a more diluted Dead Poets Society, specifically South African yet unfortunately not filmed in KwaZulu-Natal.

If there is going to be a fourth installment of the Spud franchise let’s hope that it is actually filmed in KZN, showing off Durban and the Midlands for their unique beauty. Director Barker has done this before in the heist thriller 31 Million Reasons in which he really showed Durban off as a superb cinematic location. Spud 3: Learning to Fly is highly recommended viewing, proudly South African, poignant, nostalgic and appealing adding to the huge success of the first two movies.

 

 

Comments are closed.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
December 2014
M T W T F S S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  
  • A24 Buys Paul Mescal Tearjerker ‘Aftersun,’ Charlotte Wells’ Hit Movie, Out of Cannes
    A24 has snapped up the Paul Mescal-led tearjerker “Aftersun” out of the Cannes Film Festival. The distributor has picked up North American rights for the movie, which premiered as part of the Cannes’ Critics’ Week section to rave reviews last week. The movie stars Mescal and newcomer Frankie Corio. “Aftersun” is produced by Adele Romanski, […]
    msravindran
  • Johnny Depp Loses Bid to Dismiss Amber Heard’s Counterclaim
    A Virginia judge on Tuesday denied Johnny Depp’s motion to dismiss Amber Heard’s counterclaim, ruling that the issue should be decided by the jury. The counterclaim alleges that Depp’s attorney, Adam Waldman, defamed Heard and damaged her career when he accused her and her friends of perpetrating an “abuse hoax.” Heard’s side rested their case […]
    gmaddaus
  • Sci-Fi Film ‘UFO Sweden’ Lures Buyers at Cannes Film Market (EXCLUSIVE)
    REinvent International Sales has closed major territory sales on “UFO Sweden,” a science fiction movie adventure from Crazy Pictures, a Swedish film collective whose past credits includes the 2018 hit movie “The Unthinkable.” Described as a mix between “X-Files” and “Stranger Things,” “UFO Sweden” is set in a small town and follows a teenage rebel […]
    elskes
  • Jen Psaki, Former White House Press Secretary, to Launch Streaming MSNBC Show in 2023
    One of the news industry’s worst-kept secrets is finally seeing the light of day. Jen Psaki, the White House Press Secretary who resigned from the role a few weeks ago, is slated to join MSNBC in the fall, where she will host a new streaming program that is expected to launch in the first quarter […]
    Brian Steinberg
  • Adobe’s Kakul Srivastava Named New CEO of Splice (EXCLUSIVE)
    Splice, the online music marketplace for rights-cleared sounds and beats, has hired Adobe’s Kakul Srivastava as its new CEO. Founder and CEO Steve Martocci will transition to executive chairman and chief strategy officer. Srivastava arrives from Adobe, where she oversaw and led the company’s $9 billion Creative Cloud business along with building and scaling platforms […]
    Thania Garcia
  • Read More
    Different providers offer different cell phones, so take a look at the options from each provider to choose the right one for you. You may also want to look into any promotions that the providers have to offer, such as free cell phones in exchange for signing a contract. Tags: 2gmhass90