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Screen Play Review: Sonuvabitch

Image via Sonuvabitch Kickstarter

Stories involving a lead man-child have always resonated with me; the stubbornness towards growing up, the adolescent logic applied to real world situations and a sloppy kind of charm that shines through every action. There’s just something so... attractive(?) to that carefree lifestyle. Could this explain my affection for Kevin Smith’s work, and why Clerks 2 is one of my all time favorite movies?

Usually, by the end of the story, the man-child has accomplished something, learned about him/herself, and grows as a person. It’s wrapped nicely in a bow, and delivered to you with a smile. “You see; anyone can change!”

Maturity is fine and all, but most man-children I know don’t grow up or learn anything. What about them?

Jo Custer’s latest short script Sonuvabitch features man-childness in all of its wanna be macho-ness. Frank Hooey wants to be a cowboy, but, bless his heart, it’s just not gonna happen for him. After a very embarrassing robbery attempt, Frank lands himself in jail, amongst hardened criminals, who are forced to fight one another for the amusement of the guards; the kind of men John Wayne might portray. But Frank is no fighter, despite having “true grit”.

No, this is not an action thriller. It takes place within the same dimension as Jo’s previous film Hot Cakes - not really a prequel or sequel, but featuring some of the same characters:

HOTCAKES from Jo Custer on Vimeo.

That movie took place in a diner that acted as some kind of other worldly checkpoint, and had a very dark feel to it; a looming sense of something bad about to happen. In this story, there is a similar use of the setting, but a more lightly sarcastic atmosphere, reminiscent of how Todd Solondz treats his characters; Frank isn’t disliked by his creator here, but is certainly shown for who he is, and right to his face. Does he listen and learn? The sonuvabitch could use a jelly donut...

Thinking about it some more, maybe I relate to man-children in the same way I relate at times to Don Quixote. In the end, Quixote snaps back to reality. Depressing reality. Maybe being oblivious to others and to your own limitations is something to be cherished. Maybe Frank is just unlucky, meant for a Nickelodeon animated movie instead. Then again, that’s a potentially unlucky situation as well. Poor Frank.

Right now, Jo Custer has a kickstarter campaign for her story, and is raising funds to make it into a film. There are only 19 days left to help her meet the $10,800 goal. Chip in here.

Bill Arceneaux is a local film critic, writing for MovieBoozer and his blog Neaux Reel Idea.