Written by: Contributing Writer Sara Unrein and Mindel Hale and Edited by: Mindel Hale
Photos used with permission by: Sara Unrein
The film “25 Hill,” Corbin Bernsen‘s newest production, has been touring the East Coast for 6 weeks now. They’ve taken the film to small town America in order to promote not just the movie, but also the fading tradition of soap box derby races. As always here at BTS, we endeavor to support all of the Psych cast and crew in their projects outside of the show. Since we personally couldn’t be there, we’ve invited a guest correspondent to write-up an article about the “25 Hill” Tour Experience! Thank you again, Sara! -BTS
Corbin Bernsen (Henry Spencer, Psych) has written, produced, directed, and stars in a new movie called “25 Hill” based around the All-American Soap Box Derby. The film also stars Tim Omundson (Detective Carlton Lassiter, Psych). Bernsen has been touring the country showing free previews of “25 Hill” in select cities around the nation, with soap box derby races in conjunction with the tour stops.
I was lucky enough to have the chance to travel to Morganton, NC on August 12th to see “25 Hill” and Corbin himself for a preview of the movie. Taking the three-hour drive across North Carolina in the fall was scarcely a hardship in order to see this wonderful movie. Having over-estimated my driving time, I got to the theatre a bit too early, so I took the chance to enjoy driving around Morganton, a town of about 17,000. I personally love going to smaller towns, being a city girl myself, and love that Corbin has included some of smaller town America in this tour.
After a late breakfast, I returned to the theatre to find they were finishing setting up; unloading a truck. I drove around a few times, and by the time I had located a parking space and gotten to the theatre, the set-up was finished and about 30 or 40 other people were already inside milling around with about 30 minutes before the premiere would start. Many were buying popcorn and soda like you would do at any movie. As I roamed around the lobby, I came to understand that some of the kids there at the screening compete in soapbox derby and were probably running in the race the next day.
Set up in the movie theatre lobby were three soap-box derby cars. Two of the cars featured in the movie were on display. There was also a soap box derby car featuring the name of the movie and the sponsor, Smuckers. On one wall of the lobby drawings and their captions about derby racing done by schoolchildren had been hung. At least I’m relatively sure all of them were around the derby, as I am out of practice on deciphering younger children’s artwork and writing.
The crowd slowly grew as we were told that we would be going into the theatre soon. I am really bad at estimating numbers of people, but I would guess there were over 100 people who had come out for the movie in this small town.
Before the movie started, Corbin spoke about the movie and why he did it. He first pointed out that, as it was Veteran’s Day weekend, the meaning of the screening took on an extra significance, as anyone who has seen the “25 Hill” trailer or read the movie synopsis would know.
I loved Corbin’s introduction. I wish I had a transcript of it to share with you, as he was far more eloquent than my memory of his words can be. However what resonated with me was that the movie was about tradition and community; about trying to preserve a part of the history of this country. It is about families working together and spending time together. Corbin stressed the importance of parents taking times to do things with their children and get involved with them.
The words about community really struck a chord with me. While I have never been involved with soap box derby racing or even seen a race, community is something I understand. I participated in various organizations and events growing up that gave me a sense of community. Now, as an adult living half a country away from my family and most of my friends, I find community in quilting, another activity that may be lost if it is not passed on and shared amongst the generations.
With a final dedication of the movie to all the Veterans and those serving our country, Corbin joined us to watch the movie even though, as he commented, he had seen in hundreds of times.
I won’t tell the story of the movie for you, as I hope you will get the chance to see it, but I absolutely loved the movie. It is a wonderful movie with family values at the heart of it. The need to keep up American traditions and save those that are threatened is a strong message that goes beyond soap box derby. Though I hope that this movie can inspire more families to get involved in the derby. If I was younger or a parent, it would be something I would be interested in participating in.
The movie was incredible and so heartfelt. It ended up being quite a tear-jerker for me, which is actually saying a lot as I am not generally the type to cry at movies. I can say with some certainty that I have never cried that much during a movie (except maybe when I was a toddler terrified of the Dodos in “Follow That Bird”). I also strongly related to the theme in the movie of loss of a parent, though I lost my dad much more recently, not as a child.
I think Psych fans will love this movie. Not only will they see Corbin Bernsen and Tim Omundson in the movie, they may also recognize Psych alum Brad Raider, who guest starred in the episode “Feet Don’t Kill Me Now” and also co-founded Red Dog Squadron with James Roday. Psych-Os watching “25 Hill” may also keep their eyes and ears peeled for shout outs to a couple well-known Psych crew (at least I noticed two and assume they are intentional).
Following the movie preview, Corbin was out in the lobby to greet and talk to people. I congratulated him on the movie and let him know I really enjoyed it. I told him I was a Psych-O and he thanked me for coming out to see the movie. He asked me if I thought other Psych-Os would go see and enjoy the movie with some of our favorite Psych stars (my words, obviously, not his). I immediately agreed, knowing of two or three other Psych-Os eager to see the movie when it comes near them. Corbin took a picture with me and I said I would be telling all my Psych-O friends about it.
Personally, I strongly support the Psych cast in all they do and was more than happy to spend no more than a tank of gas to get to see this amazing movie. Every one of the Psych cast and crew I have ever met, spoken to, or tweeted with online have been nothing but genuine and giving towards me. They freely give of their time to interact with us fans and I can imagine doing nothing less than supporting them whenever possible. Whether that be in seeing new movies they are involved with or going to plays (Dulé Hill is currently in Stick Fly on Broadway, if you’re up that way or headed there), I hope us Psych-Os can continue to show these wonderful people that we aren’t just fans of Psych, we are fans of theirs.
This year’s “25 Hill” tour has two more stops coming up. Corbin and “25 Hill” will be coming to Atlanta, GA and Houston, TX in December. If you are close, I strongly recommend that you take this wonderful chance to see “25 Hill “in a free, exclusive premiere. For more information on the tour stops, go to http://www.25hill.com/derbytour.html.
Corbin has also indicated on his Twitter that he plans to have a preview in LA. The 25hill.com website also says that they hope to expand the tour next year–so keep checking if you didn’t get the chance this year to see this incredible movie.