Paul’s review published on Letterboxd:
This is the laugh-out-loud funniest film of all time.
...if the dude in the seat in front of me is to be believed. No matter how mildly humorous something was, he gave it an uncomfortably loud guffaw. I wish I laughed half that hard at the funniest things.
Anyway, the Q&A afterwards was a lot of fun. It included a mildly intoxicated Dante Basco (Rufio) and James Madio (Don't Ask) and I laughed harder at their stories than at any point in the film. Fun tidbits about what school is like for a 15-year-old actor; the wonder of a $100 million budget set and having to literally walk the plank to get onto a real pirate ship; the difference between a Bronx kid and a stage kid (James brought boxing gloves to set because "I couldn't hit them with my fist"); a glowing Dante being called out by Dustin Hoffman for "getting some" and being given the sage advice: "Its not the size of the wand, but the magic it creates"; professional and life lessons from Robin Williams in how to treat people and work - lessons passed on in James's acting class; wanting to "look cool" and describing the un-cool piece-by-piece of Rufio's ridiculous costume (it's cool now...but from the perspective of a 15-year-old with no cultural context?); the immediate and dramatic approval of the costume by Spielberg; being taught how to ollie by Stacy Peralta; nonchalant interactions with some music guy named John Williams; James humming the music to lull his baby to sleep; knocking on veteran actors' trailer doors for advice on death scenes (Hoffman's "I'll be there" was both hilarious and sincere)... and plenty of stuff I'm forgetting. Very funny guys and engaging stories!
The older I get, the more I appreciate what this film has to say. It will always hold a special place in my heart, even if it doesn't rank among my favorites from Spielberg.