Everyone I knew in the ’90s owned a copy of “The Buttercream Gang.” At the time I believed this was a global phenomenon. But as my worldview has expanded beyond the Utah suburb where I spent my childhood, I’ve since learned that the Buttercream invasion was a pretty Utah-specific event.

“The Buttercream Gang” was a Feature Films for Families production. Feature Films for Families, a Utah company I was surprised to learn still exists, brought us hits like “Rigoletto,” which I watched once at a sleepover, and “The Adventures of Scamper,” a film about a penguin that my family ordered and, due to a shipping error, never received. It was the most devastating thing to happen to me in my first five years of existence. Instead of “The Adventures of Scamper,” we received “Seasons of the Heart,” a harrowing tale of a pioneer mother who loses her two daughters to cholera along the Oregon Trail. There’s a scene where wolves start digging at the children’s graves and I gotta tell you, that was not the vibe I was looking for from a casual Saturday afternoon watch.

If my memory serves me correctly, my family came to possess “The Buttercream Gang” when it was included with a purchase from R.C. Willey, the home furnishings store. I think I saw it around 17 times at the homes of various friends and relatives (all of whom had purchased furniture from R.C. Willey) and then once again in seventh grade health class in 1998, toward the end of the year, when our teacher had given up.

But I’d largely forgotten about the movie until I got a text from my editor asking if we could revisit it. That’s how I became one of the (then) 620 viewers to watch the full-length feature film on YouTube.

The premise of “TBG” is that a group of boys — three blondes who look like almost every child in Utah in the ’90s and one brunette with a Brooklyn accent who looks distinctly not from Utah and about 15 years older — are part of a gang that goes about doing good. They call themselves “The Buttercreamers” after the town’s original gang who helped women churn butter. There’s been a Buttercream Gang ever since.

We meet the boys as they’re bidding adieu to Pete (the brunette), who is off to Chicago to help his aunt with her two kids. When Pete leaves, he’s wearing a cardigan. When he returns from Chicago, he’s not wearing a cardigan, and that’s how we know Pete is in trouble.

While in Chicago, Pete fell in with the wrong crowd. Kids who wear — I’m not joking — fedoras and roll up the sleeves of their T-shirts which they’ve tucked into their high-waisted khakis. Pete has a run-in with the police in an alleyway, which I’m pretty sure was actually a charming thoroughfare in downtown Salt Lake City that the production crew attempted to make look scary by placing a worn chair and a few boxes in the courtyard. Pete ends up getting sent home to his grandpa.

In Pete’s absence, the Buttercreamers are led by their newly elected president, Scott, who is a dead ringer for the boy I wanted to marry in the third grade. They’ve been helping elderly widows do their shopping, winning baseball tournaments and befriending a bespectacled bookish peer named Margaret who is an expert on gangs in the Big City after giving exactly one report on the subject in school.

When Pete returns, things do not go great between him and Scott. Pete’s wearing new clothes, which look like the costume designer picked up at Madewell after reading “The Outsiders,” and Scott’s pretty sure Pete stole some candy from the town store.

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With Margaret-the-gang-expert’s help, Scott determines that Pete joined a gang in Chicago. And it seems he’s well on his way to forming a new gang with a couple of local ne’er-do-wells who spend their time breaking glass bottles, tagging buildings and punching each other in the arm.

The final act is a suspense-filled dance between Pete and Scott — Scott wants the old Pete back, Pete wants to wear more fedoras. Their feud culminates in Pete’s grocery store tantrum wherein he screams, “I want you to hate me because I hate myself.”

Pete is shipped back to Chicago, a weird choice given that’s where he joined a gang in the first place. He won’t return any of Scott’s letters. But just when you think all hope for Pete is lost, Scott is presented with a newspaper article about a young Chicagoan being honored by the mayor for leading a gang that does good. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I bet you can guess who that young Chicagoan is.

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When my editor asked me to revisit “The Buttercream Gang,” my first question was “How mean can I be?” Because even though the last time I watched this movie was more than 15 years ago, I knew even then that this movie is not great.

And on this rewatch I was reminded of all the reasons why this movie has a 5.8/10 on IMDB. The filmmakers had clearly never been to Chicago or any major metropolis. Scott’s dramatically mustachioed father shares an unnecessarily dark Vietnam war story. There’s a British DJ at the school dance who, I suspect, is not actually British but an extra who wanted to make the most of his time on screen. No one involved in production had ever met a teen. The script relies on not one but two songs for expositional heavy lifting, and the baseball scenes are 20 minutes longer than they need to be.

But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a great time watching. From the opening credits to the closing, I was enveloped in the cozy blanket of ’90s nostalgia. The gauzy, warm lighting and the folksy instrumentals swept me away to a time when I spent long, summer afternoons in my friends’ basements watching the new VHS their mom had picked up at R.C. Willey.

The movie is not any better than I remember it being. I found the writing clunky and misguided at times, the acting subpar and the production decisions confusing. But also I found the overall message to not give up on your fedora-wearing friends, honestly, touching. It was a good reminder to stick by the ones you love even on their darkest days and to never visit Chicago.

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