Space Waves Image

Space Waves

By Alan Ng | July 5, 2022

The coming-of-age genre can take on so many meanings, but for the most part, it refers to that moment when you take that reluctant step into adulthood and can never go back. In his comedy, Space Waves, writer/director Spencer Whiteout wonders what if you’re the last of your friends to take that inevitable final step.

Space Waves opens with a spectacular view from a massive microwave tower overlooking a rural Northern California town. With recording equipment in hand, Marvin (Andrew Gabriel) and Joey (Rudy Pankow) are best friends chatting on top of the tower about what makes the best 80s movie for their podcast, Space Waves. After months of hard work, their podcast is finally gaining speed, and their show is on the verge of hitting the top ten podcasts on iTunes.

What should be the start of a fantastic Summer for the pair, instead, there are storm clouds brewing. Joey has been accepted into an internship program and is leaving in Fall, while Marvin has still yet to choose a major for college. So with Joey leaving, what does that mean for the podcast?

Committed to getting the podcast into the iTunes Top Ten, Marvin and Joey hope to create some synergy with their buddy Duke (Tyson Pestner), who is filming his masterpiece, Death Core and Skate. It features incredible skateboarding along with a dose of Jackass -style stunts. The gang then goes on a series of pranks targeting the crazy locals around town for more content for the film—some scatological in nature. Cool, right?

“After months of hard work, their podcast is finally gaining speed their show is on the verge of hitting the top ten podcasts on iTunes.”

The theme running behind Space Waves is the idea of growing up and crossing the bridge into adulthood while never looking back. For Joey, he’s already done it, but Marvin doesn’t feel ready…in fact, he resists it believing there’s still more time. Even Marvin’s girlfriend, Sidney, has to accept that there are no more free rides in life for her and that she has to work for a living. For Marvin, fear soon turns to anger, and he slowly resents the fact that his friends are leaving him…leaving him behind.

Writer/director Spencer Whiteout’s coming-of-age tale is both thoughtful and personal in nature. Space Waves is very much Marvin’s story, and narratively, Whiteout balances perfectly the fun of his final summer with the impending implosion of his life. Also, as a first-time feature film for Whiteout, Space Waves is a gorgeous film to watch, particularly for an independent film. Connor Griffin is the cinematographer, and his work simply elevates the entire quality of the film, giving it a much-needed cinematic feel you’ll be hardpressed to find in most low-budget indies for obvious reasons.

Andrew Gabriel is excellent as Marvin. Not only does he carry the narrative line through the film, but he adeptly manages the growth of his character. He’s both likable and unlikable when he needs to be, though I wished his character arc…arced more than it did. Like many coming-of-age tales, Space Waves is more about a gradual self-discovery versus some traumatic life-altering event that forces one into maturity. So the story is much more character-driven than event-driven, which speaks to the film’s overall lower-key tone.

The appeal of Space Waves is that for most of us, who remember our young adult days, will find much to relate to through Marvin’s existential crisis. We’ve all been there—that moment we stepped into adulthood, knowing we can never go back.

For screening information, visit the Space Waves official website.

Space Waves (2022)

Directed and Written: Spencer Whiteout

Starring: Andrew Gabriel, Rudy Pankow, Tyson Pestner, Andie Mueller, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Space Waves Image

"…Connor Griffin is the cinematographer and his work simply elevates the entire quality of the film..."

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