Directed by: Joseph McGee
Written by: Joseph McGee
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Joseph McGee's film, For Bobby, follows along with a grieving father ( J.R. Fortin ) who one year prior, lost his son Bobby ( Robert Bouvier ) during a gang related shootout in front of their home. At first, you think this short film may be about the perils of drugs, gangs, and generally shady characters - but you would be wrong. For Bobby is about a man who takes vengeance for a wrongdoing, for the death of his boy... and also about Bobby's ghost who seems to haunt his sister Ava ( Maggie Montville ) at every turn. I would "like" to say it is also about grief, but in truth, it really isn't. For Bobby takes a supernatural turn that quite frankly, doesn't really make any sense. It's like filmmaker Joseph McGee wanted to cram a few genres together as fast as he could, and this short film was the result.
There are numerous technical issues with For Bobby, but the "real" issues I had were with the story itself. It just didn't make a whole lot of sense. I knew going in that this was a micro budget film, so I wasn't expecting top end visuals or anything like that - but the editing and pacing of this film just didn't work for me. At all. I should also note the fast pace of the edits, mixed with a severe lack of understanding when it comes to transitions and how to use them, really impacted the way this film played out. Bad uses of transitions aside, the editing just "felt" all wrong - like it was purposefully meant to be distracting.
But it was the writing that "really" got me thinking, and not in a good way. It just made no sense at times, and it was also really cartoon like in presentation. The "gangsters" were literal parodies of gangsters. They were so dumb and cliche that I was shaking my head in complete disbelief. And then you have the death of Bobby himself to consider. The entire time, these "gangsters" were looking all over the place like bobbleheads, to make sure nobody was around as they conducted their business, and then guess what happens? They end up accidentally shooting Bobby in a crossfire between almost a dozen men. The thing is... nobody noticed Bobby at all, anywhere, before that. You could "maybe" chalk that up to Bobby being so small... but that doesn't work either for one reason. When the camera shows Bobby all shot up, he is RIGHT BESIDE the gangsters. Huh? What? So, the entire time, with all these thugs looking around everywhere to make sure they are alone, Bobby was standing right beside them? How exactly does that work? And then, we also have Bobby's father who was inside the house coming out, with cups of juice or something, completely surprised at finding his son shot... again... huh? He didn't hear the dozens of shots that rang out? Right in front of his house?
Adding to the confusion of the story, we also have the "ghost of Bobby" story thread. In the film, Bobby's sister Ava can see and speak to the ghost of Bobby. It's even cemented that the ghost "is" real because Bobby's ghost knows things that Ava couldn't have known. Here's the thing... ghost Bobby wants Ava to kill herself. I was left near speechless. WHAT? Why on earth would a loving brother, as depicted at the start of the film, want his sister to kill herself? Would he maybe want revenge on the thugs who shot him? Sure, maybe. His sister? Again, WHY?
Dialog like, "Is this the right house?" and, "Bobby? Is it really you?" are about as good as this short film gets because it's tough to watch visually, but even harder to make sense of the story in any credible way. I can't stress enough the fact I'm not trying to be an ass, or to discourage anyone who dreams of making movies. But the truth is that this film just didn't work for me. Figuring out what works and doesn't work by just doing it is the only way to gain valuable experience. As is honesty. In my humble opinion, For Bobby earns itself one and a half stars.