On The Bus (2011)
Director: Tracy D. Smith
Writter: Aaron Chan
Genre: Short movie
Stars: Jeffrey Bowyer Chapman and Giles Panton
Review By Kevin Schultz
Reviewing this little-film-short-that-could, On the Bus, requires me to approach director/editor Tracy D. Smith's short cautionary tale from a personal perspective. By personal, I mean floating through the last few years of high school, longing for the unobtainably hot crush. And by cautionary, I mean fearful confession of a same-sex attraction to said crush who sits high atop the social pillar of heterosexual “cool kids.”
A handful of high school teenagers are waiting on an idling school bus. Sean, portrayed by a quietly handsome Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, is seated by himself as the disconnected gay student who's intimate conundrum becomes apparent when gorgeous Jeremy (the steely Giles Panton) spontaneously appears in the seat next to Sean. What unfolds between the two young men is a calm (and well-written) dialogue that strikes a particular chord, resonating back to yesterday's teen years of just about anyone that had to endure the scariness of exposing that which you knew was too different for the social majority in any given era.
Conveniently for Sean, this is only a fantasy, as evidenced by the “inner-conscience Jeremy” who confronts and persuades (and even teases) him to have the courage to approach the real Jeremy. But Sean defies his own budding feelings of love, only to be surprised when the real Jeremy actually gets on the bus and plops down right next to him, setting an open destiny in motion during the roll of credits. I would have loved for On the Bus to be lengthier, but thought provocation within a 5-minute timeframe is a powerful skill. This universal coming-of-age memory with a sweet undertone serves as a perfectly humble, little cinematic treat.