FISHBOWL CALIFONIA Independent Production Directed by Michael MacRae 2018
This is an independent film so we must consider finance, therefore this is like a budget 60's sports car. It takes a while to get going, lacks a little style, but once the engine is running it's a pretty smooth and enjoyable ride. With the passage of time those budget cars have gone on to be parked next to classics and hold there own, much like Fishbowl California next to the Studio produced coming of age drama's.
There are some dents and scrapes, and sometimes we are not sure who is driving. Most frustratingly at the end of the journey the male antagonist does not seem to have covered much distance. Although I quite like this honesty, many studio films have a character that completely changes and often this feels so false.
The film is driven (failed tried to shake the metaphor) by a stunning portrayal of a tortured woman, June, played by Katherine Cortez. June has no reason to live until she meets a man, Rodney, with nothing to live for. There is a strong difference between no reason to live and nothing to live for, if your unsure what it is then watch this film. Needless to say June is shown a reason and in turn offers something for Rodney to live for.
Rodney is played to a brilliantly annoying capacity by Steve Olson. What I love about this character is that, aside from repairing a push-bike, he has no redeemable characteristics. There is zero reason to bother giving him your time, but June takes a chance on him. This honesty to true character is admirable and I applaud the filmmaker. To often we see lovable losers suddenly become heroes and completely change character. If you are in a romantic relationship and the other person changes so dramatically then they are no longer the person you fell in love with, and the relationship often fails. In this film the lack of change somehow makes you want to know how Rodney screws everything up the next time around. I think the director knew this and the little end scene with his new car failing to start is a nod to that fact.
In summary this is a highly enjoyable film with some genuinely touching and emotional moments. If the team can achieve this with a limited budget then I am very excited to see what would happen if a studio gave them a chance. I think most social realist film-makers would find a place for this in their DVD collection, if not in their hearts.