Full Steam Ahead
Billy The Kid
Review by Ross Anthony

Opens as if it's a study on a teen with some social/behavioral issues. The film makes sure never to label, then gently tangents from the study into a sweet spontaneous love story. It's simply beautiful and surprisingly universal despite the teen boy and girl being what we grown-ups feel so mature calling "challenged" or "special." Actually, it's Billy's "special" attributes that make the documentary possible in the first place. Unlike most of us who are bound by society's expectations of our behavior - especially when being recorded - Billy expresses himself in a way that seems rather indifferent to the presence of a camera crew. For this reason, I felt privileged to witness his pure emotions, thoughts and sincere awkwardness.

But again, what makes this picture all the more moving is that sweet innocent nervous interaction between boy and girl. Is that not such a core part of all or most of us? Can't you remember back to those raw teenage years, as you struggled to understand your role in your own life, in the world and next to the one who made your legs turn to rubber? Of course we all get better at handling such things as we get older, but do we get any closer to the energy of it? Or were we closer to heart of things as unsure teens? Director Jennifer Venditti...

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... had this to say, "In making the film, I wanted to convey to an audience the feeling I had when I was with Billy. While many adults were amazed and patient with him, the majority were suspicious alarmed and cautious. My urge to figure out what was wrong with him was quickly replaced by uncomplicated appreciation and empathy. I became tethered so readily to his feelings and perceptions. His commentary on so many subjects was unwittingly wise and bright, but it was always ignored by his peers and his community. I saw him in some ways as a young Don Quixote."

Me, I'm just a reviewer of the film, but Billy, if you're reading this, here's my modest observational bit. 1) Wow, you are awesome, I so admired you for being brave enough to talk with the girl who put you in the clouds (regardless of the outcome.) 2) I appreciate your search for lessons in life, and for your thoughtful commentary, but if it seems like others are ignoring you – it might be because you ignored them first. Never underestimate the power of listening. Even if you learn nothing (and that will be seldom), people love to be listened to. You'll make friends more surely by using your ears more often than your tongue. 3) Thanks for being so open and brave with the documentary – you reminded me about a part of me that I love, which sometimes gets beat down by social skills, laziness, and experience. Thank you for that!

-- Book Contest --


  • Billy The Kid. Copyright © 2008.
  • Starring Billy.
  • Directed by JenniferVenditti.
  • Produced by JenniferVenditti, Chiemi Karasawa at Elephant Eye.

Grade..........................A (3.5/4)


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Copyright © 1998-2012 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.


Last Modified: Monday, 25-Feb-2008 09:23:38 PST