director Rolf de Heer
I stumbled on the existence of Rolf de Heer’s Bad Boy Bubby from some lists on Letterboxd of various things like “weird”, “obscure”, and “mindfuck”. I wasn’t familiar with it, an Australian film from 1994.
It’s a story of a man-child, Bubby (Nicholas Hope), who has been raised in a hovel by his overweight, obsessive mother. He’s been kept in a state of childlike idiocy, believing that the outside world is overwhelmed by poisonous gas (his mother dons a gas mask for her ventures to the outside). When his long-lost father returns after some thirty-odd years and starts up with his mother, his world is sprung open and Bubby is released on the world and the world on him.
Oh, did I mention his incestuous relationship with Mum? Or that he winds up killing his parents (and his cat) by wrapping them in clingfilm? His mentally-challenged and completely delusional being is highly at odds with the world of which he has no concept. He learns phrases by repeating back what he hears. He hooks up with a sexually-active Salvation Army gal, a rock band, and heads out on a trajectory that seems certain for doom, including a brutal period in prison, but winds up instead as a rock star performance artist and ultimately discovers a level of humanity in the end.
Really, it actually struck me as an alternate Forrest Gump, which interestingly was also from 1994. He’s an idiot man-child who succeeds in the world despite his ultimate mental issues and challenges. Of course, there is a lot more extremity, bizarreness, and oddly perhaps reality than Gump. It seems like this might be an interesting contrast. I don’t think I’ve seen Gump since 1994 so I’m speculating from memory on this.
Really, ultimately, Bubby is a humane tale, dark and weird as it is.