Bad Boy Bubby has been upgraded and placed on the List of the 366 Best Weird Movies of All Time. Please read the Bad Boy Bubby Certified Weird Entry and direct any comments about the film to that page. Comments are closed on this review, which is left here for archival purposes.
DIRECTED BY: Rolf de Heer
FEATURING: Nicholas Hope
PLOT: Raised by his mentally ill mother with no knowledge of the outside world in what is
essentially a fallout shelter, middle-aged Bubby is suddenly released into a modern Australian society he can hardly comprehend, but must learn to fit into somehow.
WHY IT’S ON THE BORDERLINE: Bad Boy Bubby has a unique tone that’s hard to capture, but the first words I’d choose to characterize it are “relentlessly offbeat,” rather than “weird.” Sadly, the existence of a Bubby—a child raised in captivity by a crazed parent—is not some weird invention, but is actually torn from today’s headlines. Although the incidents depicted often strain the bounds of plausibility (only briefly breaking them in the later reels), for the most part de Heer chooses to tell his story using a straightforward, realistic narrative style that makes us believe bizarre Bubby is a real person in a real world.
COMMENTS: Bad Boy Bubby is a film that moves slowly from deep darkness into light. It’s often shocking and depressing, particularly in that dingy first third, where Bubby’s unnatural relationship with his deranged mom in their claustrophobic basement hovel is made into a suffocating reality in which we are forced to share. The saving grace is that the movie always treats Bubby with true affection. Most of Bubby’s misbehavior, such as his tendency to shake a woman’s breast instead of her hand when he first meets her, comes out of childlike innocence. But even when Bubby’s truly, purposefully being a “bad boy,” we understand what he’s suffered—even though he doesn’t fully—and we remain firmly on his side. The script, which could have been ruthless to poor Bubby, rewards him (and the viewer) in the end, and the happy ending feels earned rather than tacked on.
Comic possibilities that were buried with Bubby in the dingy basement apartment emerge when Bubby escapes into the relative light of modern Australian society, but the movie never really threatens to become a comedy. Bubby’s gift for mimicry raises all sorts of Continue reading BORDERLINE WEIRD: BAD BOY BUBBY (1993)