Bad Boy Bubby is a movie that has the violence of Mad Max, the dealing-with-the-tough issues of Annie's Coming Out and the light Australian humour of movies such as Spotswood and The Dish. Australia's answer to Pulp Fiction. A boy is raised completely isolated from the world, with just his mother and a cat for 35 years. The ultimate human experiment unfolds, as he then has to learn how to make a way in our world.

This movie is not for the faint-hearted. It is both graphic and uplifting at the same time. It has something for everyone, except possibly for Meg Ryan fans. A black fairy tale, if you will.

My first contact with this movie was years ago, listening to the blokes* at work go on and on and on about it. This was not a good sign. These blokes* were all beer-swillin', testosterone-filled, football-playin'/watchin', chauvinist blokes* who came with assorted extra individual character traits including: womanising, swearing, lazy arse, excessive gambling, neanderthalic ways.

So what does male-bashing have to do with this movie? For the intellectually challenged subgroup of these *blokes, this movie was riotous, probably because of its obsessive focus on tits. Using the word, showing big ones, small ones and quite a few bouncing around while... you know.

For the few *blokes who were able to think, it reached them, well, on the tit level, of course. But they also seemed to be moved, hmm, to tears of laughter by Bubby's sadistic behaviour that was the direct result of 35 years of abuse: emotional, physical, psychological and sexual.

It has been years since I have seen those *blokes, but I finally got to watch the movie. I was amazed at how these guys had effectively missed the point of the movie. And a little puzzled about the line: "Squeal like a pig, boy!" which they kept attributing to this movie, but they must have been thinking about quoting some other movie. (Funnily enough, they would use a thick southern American accent, which is why I was taken completely by surprise to find that Bad Boy Bubby was an Australian/ Italian movie).

The Plot (Mostly spoiler-free): Bubby is kept prisoner from birth by his mother for 35 years in a small room in the heart of a city. It could be Adelaide where the film was made, but that is not relevant. The film starts in his world/room. His mother abuses him, and he interacts with the cat she has given him. These are the only two creatures he has contact. He learns everything from either his mother or Cat. From his mother, he learns abuse and deception which he in turn inflicts on the cat. From the cat he learns how to hunt cockroaches.

Eventually another human being, his father, enters the picture. This opens up possibilities for Bubby and he escapes. The movie then follows his life on the outside. It is a lot like the homework assignment joke about the boy who repeats lines he hears in completely unrelated scenarios. Often for catastrophically funny results. Of course, this is no child's joke. Or maybe it is; it is just that the boy in this case is physically a man.

The movie at the very least touches on the following topics: Christianity, innocence, psychosis, sex, incest, indigenous affairs, hoons, violence, charity, pizza, the human condition, learning, money, police brutality, cerebral palsy, amongst many other things. For no good reason, I was trying to avoid the c-word, but this movie is classically cultish.

Maybe I just liked it because it is anti-"no fat chicks".

Vital stats:
Director: Rolf de Heer
Producer: Domenico Procacci
Original Music: Graham Tardif
Bubby: Nicholas Hope
Angel: Carmel Johnson
Year: 1993
OFLC rating: R (restricted to people over 18 years old).

*Must use a gruff, deep voice when saying "blokes".

Useful Website:
http://www.angelfire.com/movies/badboybubby/ (Last visited: 14 Apr 2004)


Ashley Pomeroy says My fascination for Bad Boy Bubby stems from his peculiar musical style, which reminded me of Wesley Willis. Also, I like cats.

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