What do poison death frogs, culvert-sized snakes, fiberglass-eating piranhas and Winthrop resident Jamie Petitto have in common?
If your guess is “They’re all fearsome mythical creatures found in the Amazon,” you’re close. But the answer I was fishing for is that they all co-starred in a 2021 feature film called “Jungle Run.” Filmed and released to capitalize on “Jungle Cruise,” which stars Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt and Paul Giamatti, the “Jungle Run” mockbuster features a cast not quite as star-studded, but none shone more brightly than our Jamie.
You may know Jamie as the marketing director for the Twisp Chamber of Commerce, but before she moved to the Methow she had a bona fide acting career. Recently, Jamie has been repolishing her acting chops, and when the call came last winter from a director friend about an opportunity to fly to the Amazon (whoops! I mean Florida) to make a film, Jamie hopped on a plane, and then a boat, finally ending up on foot in the rainforest.
I won’t spoil the plot for you, but rest assured “Jungle Run” contains all the cheeseball terror you’d expect from the jungle: supersized reptiles, hostile natives and a fire-breathing anthropomorphic lagoon creature, who maybe was or wasn’t the legendary Curupira (or was it the Copacabana, or the Cubalibre?).
Jamie plays a crotchety entrepreneur twice her actual age and all I can say about this is that when Petitto eventually moves into assisted living at Jamie’s Place in Winthrop, the other residents better brace themselves for some zany charades nights.
“Jungle Run” premiered at The Barnyard Cinema last week at a private screening, complete with a paparazzo, a photo booth, autographs and yards of high heels. As other fancy valley events have proven time and time again, we Methow folks clean up real good, and this event reinforced that tradition.
One attendee sported a pair of Gucci sneakers worn only once, to the Cannes Film Festival. Another showed up in her grandmother’s beaded evening dress. Someone else wore his wife’s grandfather’s silk paisley sport jacket; another guest channeled Frida Kahlo, flower crown and all. Faux-fur apparel abounded, as did serious bling of all manners, and even tulle underskirts that made dresses poof fetchingly.
After Jamie gave a gracious speech and alerted us to a couple of filming bloopers to watch out for, the screen scrolled down and the mood ramped up. The witty banter from the audience — consisting mostly of stage directions shouted at Jamie’s character — enhanced moments of palpable tension on the screen.
The repartee continued throughout the film, sometimes drowning out some of the more-subtle plot lines and dialog, but still, most of us managed to grasp the complexity of the film’s structure, right up until the point when out of the blue Jamie’s character …
What? You think I’m going to tell you how it ends? Nope, it doesn’t work that way. You want to learn the conclusion of “Jungle Run,” you’re going to have to watch it. And if you know Jamie, that’s reason enough to rent it.