After finding an old high school yearbook at a Value Village, four friends become intrigued with the members of that school’s senior class. Judging the hairstyles and attire of the late 80’s, Michael, Clay, Sam and Andrew spend the next few years choosing their favourite girls and guys from the grad photos, making some assumptions about personalities, and guessing at various levels of popularity – all based on the photographs they see in the yearbook. Their choices of ladies may vary, but the four are united on their pick for top male grad – a cute guy with great hair and a killer smile: Timothy Truelove. In fact, the friends become so curious about these long ago students that they embark on an unheard of journey – they decide to crash the 20 year reunion of Chico High School’s graduating class of 1990. Wedding crashers, we’ve all heard of. Reunion crashers? Not so much!
In a move befitting Ferris Bueller himself, the guys purchase tickets to the reunion dinner online, annoint their 1988 shuttlebus with the name of the yearbook – Caduceus – pack in more hot dogs than any human being should consume in such a short period of time, and drive from Portland, Oregon to Chico, California. Their quest? To spend the weekend reuniting with complete strangers more than a decade older than them, seeing how former students turned out after graduating from a high school these four friends had never heard of before, let alone attended, and hopefully tracking down their new feather-banged pseudo-celebrity hero, Timothy Truelove.
This documentary could have gone the way of a social experiment gone wrong, but instead, the first half plays like a buddy roadtrip movie, filled with heart and humour – and an awesome soundtrack. Complete with hitchhiker Bruce, the boys make the viewer feel so much a part of the trip that, by the time they actually roll into Chico, there is a palpable nervous tension filling the air. The whole documentary – not to mention the trip itself – hinges upon the kind of reception they will receive from the actual graduating class of Chico High 1990. From the cool and popular Tree People, to the alternative outsiders and nerds; from the girl who once resembled Lea Thompson, to the search for Timothy Truelove himself; this fun doc captures all the nostalgia of the John Hughes generation and wraps it up as a gift to the aging high school student in all of us. I loved every ridiculous moment of it.
Finding Truelove has its World Premiere screening at the Hot Docs film festival in Toronto April 30 at 11:30pm (Bloor), May 1 at 9:15pm (Cumberland), and May 6 at 6:45pm (TIFF Bell Lightbox).