Sean McNamara’s new film MIGHTY OAK may have all of the earmarks of a rock and roll journey to redemption, but the road to nirvana is lost somewhere along the way. The story centers around the connections and lost moments in the band Army of Love. From slow climb and big break, to tragedy and and a decade lost. The rebirth and re-connection feels predestined but often forced. One thing that shines through in every scene is Oak Scoggins (played with humbling honesty by Tommy Ragen). A prodigy in every sense, Oak is the strong center that is holding the band together and Gina (Janel Parrish) from falling apart.
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There is a lot to enjoy in the film: excellent music, some stunning performances, some unexpected (and expected) turns. It is an enjoyable ride, though much of it felt overworked and too heavy handed. The adult language felt off putting at times and often unnecessary as if to make it more “edgy”. Same could be said with the rock and roll lifestyle. The use of alcohol felt as though they were trying to be considered cooler. There was so much heart in this movie that was being taken away from by some of the more unnecessary distractions. When the story and actors connected there was truly something special there.
Without a doubt the young lead portraying Oak, Tommy Ragen is a gem and deserves the front man position. He brought layers and heart on top of talent and range to every scene he was in. Also, Gianna Harris was like sunshine as Oak’s supportive best friend Emma. The band felt very connected and the director did a great job making them feel like they had a lot of history. By the end I felt very invested in there being a happy ending and I didn’t think I would connect to the story that deeply.
Tommy Ragen as Oak Scoggins in “Mighty Oak”
There were many moments where the film felt as though they were pushing too hard to make things happen and unfold in ways that were awfully convenient. Oak’s interactions with his mother (portrayed with layered subtlety by Alexa PenaVega) for example. It is very hard to believe that all of these adults cannot see or ask what is going on there. Those moments felt juvenile in an after school special sort of way. The same can also be said for Gina and her ongoing fall out over losing Vaughn. Almost every character in the film seems to understand her connection to her brother, but no one seems to want to deal with it. It doesn’t seem as though either of the females major issues are handled in more than a one dimensional brush stroke.
Parental Breakdown- Is it okay for kids?
Are there spiritual elements?
Yes. Reincarnation is a recurring plot point in the film.
Is there sexual content?
There is one make out scene that heats up quickly and ends with the woman passing out drunk. Also, there is a reference to “getting laid” and Oak questions what getting laid is (the conversation is quickly redirected).
What about violent content?
There is a car crash that contains some blood and is shown several times. In this scene there is also a dead body (though not graphically depicted). No fighting, though domestic violence is implied in one scene.
How about curse words?
There is a bit of cursing in the movie. From the adults and the kids. Here are the potentially offensive words and number of times they are said:
Yes, both are prevalent in the movie. Many alcoholic drinks are consumed, displayed, and discussed. People are shown intoxicated and the the car accident is a drunk driving incident. With the drug use it is implied though you never see them ingested. There are pill bottles, needles, and references to drug use. There is also a drug related death.
Should you stream it?
In the first part of the movie I had a bit of trouble getting past the set up of the reincarnation plot line. But by the second half of the film I felt like I invested enough in the characters to really want to see it through. I feel like if given a chance, you may feel the same sort of investment as me and that is in large part to the young actor who plays Oak Scoggins. He is definitely a talent far beyond his years and I cannot wait to see him in future projects.
MIGHTY OAK is premiering to streaming platforms on – JULY 7TH for it’s global digital release on AMAZON PRIME and APPLE TV!
Gina and Vaughn are the sister and brother duo taking the SoCal music scene by storm with their band Army of Love. Gina “Jean Jacket” Jackson (Janel Parrish) is behind the scenes as the savvy and determined music manager while her talented brother Vaughn Jackson (Levi Dylan) is the gifted frontman of their popular band.
On the night of their biggest break yet, the siblings’ bond is shattered when Vaughn is killed in a tragic car accident and Gina is unable to pick up the pieces of her life.
Ten years later, a 4th grade guitar prodigy named Oak Scoggins (Tommy Ragen) enters Gina’s orbit, and she becomes convinced that this child must be the reincarnation of Vaughn. While Oak does have Vaughn’s talent and some of his traits, Gina’s friends become concerned with her decision to re-launch their long dormant band with Oak as the frontman taking Vaughn’s place.
Oak comes from a disadvantaged household and as he is thrust into the spotlight, he finds that music is the perfect escape and the much needed outlet for his pain. Gina in turn finds an outlet for her grief and a way back into living life out loud and to the fullest.