Director Stuart Acher knew he had something really great on his hands when he was finished making Bobby Loves Mangos, a short film clocking in just over twenty minutes. In fact, Stuart Acher knew it was going to be great from the beginning, as he financed the films production with money he got form his Bar Mitzvah. He had so much faith in his film that he even trekked all the way to Utah for the Sundance Film Festival, even though he was not a registered participant.
At the Sundance Film Festival Stuart just happened to find himself dining in the same restaurant that Roger Ebert was. Stuart convinced the restaurants owner to put Bobby Loves Mangos on the big screen TV in the room Ebert was dining at. Needless to say, Ebert completely loved the movie, as he wrote about Bobby Loves Mangos in his next column for the Chicago Sun-Times.
Bobby Loves Mangos really does deserve such high praise from Roger Ebert, because the film is incredible. All of the necessary elements to make a great short film are present in Bobby Loves Mangos: a very clever story that will keep your attention, solid acting performances, great cinematography, and a perfect running time.
But of course the most important of all those elements that came together in Bobby Loves Mangos is the incredible story that is told. One part sci-fi thriller, one part suspense, with a dash of comedy and mystery, Bobby Loves Mangos will keep you guessing throughout the whole film.
The film opens up on a playground in Troy, Maine. Two children are talking on top of a map of the United States, and in walks Dwight Stevenson, the principal of the school to whose playground they are standing on. Dwight Stevenson knows all of the kids in his school by name, and he has a little chat with the two on the map about an up coming fieldtrip before they run off to class.
Dwight Stevenson enters his office shortly afterwards and he greets his secretary of thirteen years, April. The two jump right into their routine, as they begin to talk about last nights episode of Murder She Wrote. After the usual chitchat, Mr. Stevenson takes a seat at his desk and April brings over the mail.
A silver envelope falls onto Mr. Stevenson’s desk. He looks at curiously before he cuts it open with a knife. Inside the envelope there is a videotape. Mr. Stevenson puts the tape into a VCR and watches it.
What appears on the television screen is the image of a middle-aged man, looking straight on at the camera. The man on the television seems nervous; he chuckles and explains that it was nearly impossible to find an old video camera to record this on. He also happens to mention that it’s 2018 in his world.
As the tape goes on the man explains that his name is Bobby Derrick, and that he went to Troy Middle School, but he didn’t send the tape for any nostalgic reasons. Bobby explains that in a few days, on the bus ride to the museum, the bus will get into a horrible accident that will kill all of the children onboard. He explains that he wasn’t on the bus because the night before he ate a mango, which he didn’t know he was allergic to, and became too ill to go to school. Bobby pleads with Mr. Stevenson to tell the bus driver to take a different route to the museum, and the tape cuts.
Dwight Stevenson shows the tape to his secretary and the two are completely amazed: the man on the television looks exactly like the Bobby that they know today. But of course, they are completely baffled and skeptical. The two decide to not tell anyone else about the tape, and try to figure it out by themselves.
SPOILERS AHEAD: This is a film you have the chance to watch, so I recommend you go and do that.
What follows in the film is Dwight and April trying to figure out what’s going on. The two accidentily meet at a supermarket where they are both there to buy up all of the mangos. Both of them have different reasons, Dwight to add them into the lunch to see how Bobby would react, and April to prevent Bobby from getting to a mango, hoping that his inclusion on the bus would prevent the accident from taking place. But to their surprise all of the mangos are already gone.
Finally the day of the fieldtrip has arrived, and Bobby is, in fact, on the bus. Dwight Stevenson has makes his decision: he tells the bus driver to take the alternate route provided by future Bobby. The bus drives away.
When Dwight comes back to school later that day he is greeted by a slew of police cars. Dwight assumes the worse, that Bobby had really sent him a warning from the future and that the bus had gotten into an accident anyway.
But when Dwight asks the police what’s happened they tell him something completely different: Bobby was abducted at gun point by his father, who stopped the bus on the planned alternate route provided in the tape.
Even before the chance encounter with Roger Ebert the film had already taken off, having made an incredible amount of festival appearances and also receiving many honors as well. Stuart Acher even has more celebrity fans, as Tom Cruise personally sought out Stuart to congratulate him on making such a wonderful film.
Director: Stuart Acher
Writer: Jermey Catalino
Producer: Ben Cleveland
Frank Ridley as Dwight Stevenson
Paula Plum as April
Ken Cheeseman as Future Bobby
John Los as Present Bobby