I was on the PA Turnpike Saturday riding on a doughnut and not too happy about it when I pulled into the rest stop and peeked at the phone after hearing all the dings over my loud ass music. Twitter was blazing with the news that ‘Sons of Ben – The Movie’ was released on Netflix.

After leaving the men’s room, I celebrated with a Starbucks venti latte and a slice of that lemon cake (it was the closest thing to cake and ice cream on the turnpike).

I know many of you haven’t seen the movie as much as I’ve insisted you should. It never made it to the big theaters, but the streaming outlets starting showing it this summer. Now that it’s on Netflix means that there’s no more excuses. Watch this great documentary on a big piece of current Chester history.

I watched it last night and it’s just as funny, and sad, and motivating, and educational, and emotional, and familiar as the half dozen times I’ve seen all the versions leading up to the final cut. There’s some scenes they left on the cutting room floor I wish they could have kept, but I never made a movie, so who am I to complain.

Thanks to this blog, I was discovered by the director Jeff Bell who politely asked if I would like to go on camera with my opinion of the soccer stadium, good or bad. I had no idea how big the production was until he showed up at my home with lights, cameras, and a lot of action.

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Director Jeff Bell (left) and crew running up my electric bill

Jeff asked me if I could find other Chester residents who were willing to speak. In typical Chester fashion, I couldn’t find any one who wanted their opinions documented. At the last minute, I got Robert Smith to chime in after he saw us filming by the soccer playground across from his house.

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Robert Smith pulling off his best Denzel impression at the premier

Now that all the hype with making the movie and the premier is long behind us, watching the movie on Netflix in my bedroom gave it a different perspective. When I appeared up on my own TV screen, it hit me that I’m on Netflix. Oh, what a feeling.

What was even more amazing was that I was on there in my home town…hell, in my home…surrounded by people I know like Rob Smith, Mayor Butler, Tom Moore, Senator/Judge Pileggi and Pat Trippley-Demiranda. But then there’s the heavy weights like Gov. Rendell, Anthony Gargano, Ike Reese and Nick Sakiewicz.

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Thomas Moore and Jeff Bell working on his lines at one of the gatherings when the movie was still a hope and a dream

Through it all, I got to meet the real stars of the movie, some of the founders of the Sons of Ben, Bryan James, Corey Furlan and the rest of that crew. On the day the Sons of Ben was doing their annual fundraiser for the Bernardine Center, the film reminds you of how that got started and how they raised, what seems to be now, a meager $2000 for the food kitchen.

photo Left – Sons of Ben founder Bryan James and wife. Right – The Poster Boy, Corey Furlan

‘Sons of Ben – The Movie’ is a must see. It will certainly justify your Netflix subscription by watching this documentary. After watching, make sure you give it a 5-star rating. I’m not asking you to lie because it’s a 5-star story and a 5-star movie.

Congrats Jeff Bell!

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