OCEAN CITY – Local residents and town officials offered positive reviews this week after viewing “Ping Pong Summer” at its Ocean City premiere last Saturday.
On Saturday, a red carpet premiere of “Ping Pong Summer” was held at the Fox Sun and Surf 8 Cinema in Ocean City where residents, visitors, and town officials gathered to watch their home town featured on the big screen, along with the film’s young actors and actresses and production team.
“The movie was really funny and it had me going from the very first scene. Anyone from this area, or who grew up during that era, should enjoy it,” Ocean City resident Jeanette Deskiewicz said.
Adon Russo, a young local who scored a role in the film, attended the premiere with his father, Bryan Russo.
“It was crazy, but in a good way,” Adon Russo, 11, said. “Seeing myself on the big screen was really cool, especially since I want to be an actor someday. The premiere was a lot of fun and seeing everyone there again from the cast and crew made me happy. I thought the movie was really funny and it was amazing to see all the places that I go to in Ocean City in a movie.”
“Ping Pong Summer” reminded Bryan Russo of John Hughes’ films. Such as The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, that gained acclaim from the 80’s.
“I thought the film was well done. It was very funny, it didn’t take itself or the time period too seriously, and it told a great coming-of-age story,” he said. “I think Ocean City was very well represented, and the funding was very much worth it. It’s easy to sit on your hands and do the same thing over and over again, and I’m glad there was a decision to do something that supports something that pushes the envelope in an artistic way. It’s not every day that a movie gets made in your town, and I think for everyone involved, especially for the kids, it will be a memorable moment in their lives.”
Bryan Russo couldn’t help but be a proud father after seeing his son on the movie screen for the first time.
“I’ve been watching films and enjoying cinema for my entire life, and I will admit that seeing my 11-year-old son on the screen for three minutes, and uttering one line was without a doubt, my favorite moment in cinema … ever. And that moment alone, and seeing the wonderment on his own face as he watched himself on a gigantic screen, was priceless,” he said.
Ocean City Communications Manager Jessica Waters reported the film reminded her of what it was like growing up in Ocean City during the 1980s.
“I thought ‘Ping Pong Summer’ was adorable,” she said. “It really reminded me so much of growing up at the beach and how special summers in our town truly are. What stood out to me the most was how many Ocean City landmarks made appearances in the film. In almost every scene, you were reminded of a memory that you had in those very same places during that very same time period. What also stood out was the young actors and how talented they are.”
Waters’ favorite part of the film was watching the Miracle family feasting on crabs with their goofy relatives.
“Mostly because it reminded me so much of growing up and having crabs at the beach with my family. Not to mention, who doesn’t have a goofy relative that they can relate to,” she said. “I think this film is going to be very popular with teens and tweens. It has a very youthful and a fun message that will remind audiences of all ages what the true meaning of summer is … having fun with your friends. And of course, a little ping pong is fun too.”
Ocean City Councilwoman and Tourism Commission Chair Mary Knight found “Ping Pong Summer” to be an excellent family-friendly film.
“It portrayed us [Ocean City] as the family resort that we are, and in a very safe manner. This was the 80’s but for the people that come here it will still resonate with them that we are family-oriented and extremely safe,” she said.
Knight also felt the Ocean City’s funding allocation toward the film was well worth the investment.
“Because it shows Ocean City, Md., in a very positive manner, and Ocean City is a key part of it. Whoever sees it across the country or on VOD they will be made aware of Ocean City, Md. It will prompt people to go to our webpage and consider Ocean City as a vacation destination,” she said. “The other thing I liked was it was really fun watching these young kids that did such a great job and seeing the local kids as extras. Also, seeing all of the local names involved in the credits. To me, that was almost worth the money that we invested in itself.”
Today, June 6, “Ping Pong Summer” will release in theatres in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, Minneapolis, Boston, Nashville, Toronto, Ocean City, Baltimore, Silver Spring, Rehoboth Beach, Bethany Beach, Wilmington, Del., Dallas and Denver.
It will also be available OnDemand with nearly all cable providers.