Director: Joshua Dragge
Writer: Nick Loritsch
Stars: Nick Loritsch, Jackson Pyle, Sandra Staggs, Dawntavia Bullard and Keith Hudson
Bubbs (Nick Loritsch) is the handyman for a dock in a small Florida town. He dreams of leaving his small town existence, but feels obligated to stay because of his mother, Mary (Sandra Staggs), who has been abandoned by every man in her life. Her father, Frank (Jackson Pyle), set sail for wild adventures when she was young, and her husband left her when Bubbs was only a few years old. Mary is paranoid of Bubbs and Frank’s relationship when he periodically sails into town, and fears letting Bubbs go.
It’s the summer and Frank has sailed into town. Bubbs’ girlfriend has dumped him for a man who plans to do something with his life and move away. The urge to escape his small town existence has never been stronger. But more than his mother is keeping Bubbs in town. His long buried feelings for Cory (Dawntavia Bullard), his best friend’s sister, start to be realized. She sees in him someone who is decent and different from her past relationships, but fears his longing to leave. With conflicting feelings between staying and going, Born & Raised is about one man’s journey to grow as an adult and learn what it means to grow-up and lead your life.
Though the story is predictable and you know how it is going to end, the writer & star (Nick Loritsch), does an excellent job with natural & believable dialogue and creating humorous supporting characters. The conversations between Bubbs and his best friend Kenny (Keith Hudson) are spot-on. The humorous asides by the lone drunk patron at Cory’s work–a very dark, depressing bar–lighten-up otherwise oppressive scenes. Another strength of the story is character development. Each person grows and learns as the film moves forward.
The film also succeeds because of the performances. Jackson Pyle is the grizzled old-man that has come to realize his life of doing what he wants when he wants and not committing to anyone has left him alone; in his own words a person that is never missed when he is gone. Nick Loritsch and Keith Hudson do come across as they have been life long friends. There is an intimacy in the scenes between Bubbs & Cory, as well as passion when they have their confrontations. The one week note is Sandra Staggs as Mary. You never feel for her or her circumstances, and do not entirely believe her character’s relationship with Bubbs.
Joshua Dragge (Director) and Robert Kraetsch (Director of Photograhy) have to be commended for delivering a high quality product with such a small budget. The look of the film is gritty, which fits the working class background of its characters. They weather also aided them by being consistently overcast and having a drizzling rain.
This was the world premier of Born & Raised, and hopefully it has a successful run through the film festival circuit and/or picks-up a distribution deal.
Grade = B+