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Science-fiction juvenilia -- and wish-fulfillment stuff, to be sure, but not so much what an actual child would wish as what a protective grown-up would wish him to wish. A junior-high-school student (at Charles M. Jones Junior High, in salute to the animator of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, et al.) has been dreaming in computer graphics. His egghead friend translates these visions into his personal Apple, and conjures up an indestructible bubble which can then be programmed to any diameter and to any geographical co-ordinates. With a third friend, they convert a discarded Tilt-a-Whirl car into a sort of spacecraft to be contained inside the bubble, and christen it "The Thunder Road," after the Bruce Springsteen song. It takes more than an hour of turgid storytelling until they finally make contact with some benevolent (to the point of teeth-rotting) aliens. If you could have seen these creatures earlier, you'd have known you needed to see no more. With Ethan Hawke, River Phoenix, and Jason Presson; directed by Joe Dante. (1985) — Duncan Shepherd

Rated PG | 1 hour, 49 minutes
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