Two short films to watch out for…

by Martin Hafer

Attack of the Incredi-ball!

Grade: A-

Silly…completely silly

This is cute short from Andy Touchton.  And, when I say it’s by Andy Touchton, I mean he seemed to do almost everything in the film!  He not only plays the poor unfortunate schnook who you see throughout the film but even the guy on TV advertising the Incredi-ball!  And, incidentally, Andy directed, wrote and produced the film as well!  And, it was all made for next to no cost at all.  While he was likely exaggerating, he claimed at a Q&A following the showing of his film by saying the budget was $2.99….the cost of a cheap rubber ball!

When the film begins, a guy is watching an infomercial.  The host is an even more overbearing and obnoxious sort of salesman and he claims that his Incredi-ball can do just about anything.  And, if you act now, he’ll include free shipping and even include a 7-day money-back guarantee!!  So the guy watching the ad calls the toll-free number…and within seconds, there’s an Incredi-ball waiting for him at his doorstep!  But, because it arrived so quickly, he left to get the ball without heariAndy Touchtonng all of the spokesman’s spiel.  It seems that this miracle device must not get wet…or else.

This Incredi-ball looks exactly like a cheap Walmart ball…the type they’ve been selling for decades.  However, when he pushes the button, this proves to be a wonder!  It has GPS and will do practically anything for its owner…turning off the television, fetching things around the house and even punishing the stupid neighbor’s dog.  What’s next?  Well, just remember the warning not to get the Incredi-ball wet!!

This is a wonderful film because it manages to tell a fun story with almost nothing.  The set is simply a house…an ordinary house.  The film crew is minimal and the special effects, due to budget constraints, are minimal.  Yet, Touchton manages to make a funny and most enjoyable film.  The folks in the theater sure seemed to like it…and folks were often laughing out loud.  See this one if you can.


Grade: A+

It deserves my highest rating – 5 Stars

Rated is a comedy short that manages to be exceptional because, in addition to being funny, there is a heck of a lot of depth and social commentary hidden within a simple plot.  It was my favorite comedy short of the day.

When the film begins, a woman awakens and gets her children ready for the day.  However, her young daughter is shocked…so shocked that instead of telling mommy something, she drags her to the mirror to show her.  It seems that Mommy has stars that are floating above her head!!  And, as Mommy moves, the stars move with her and they won’t disappear.  It’s a neat little special effect and it literally looks like rating stars are hovering above her throughout the movie.  It turns out this is true of all the adults…each person has a rating that apparently was generated by some website where folks can rate each other!  What’s worse is that Daddy has five stars over his head….and Mommy only has two and a half!!  He tells her not to worry, but she is panicked and doesn’t want to leave the house.

Soon, you see that her fears are not groundless.  All the adults at her daughter’s school have the stars over their heads and a few of them are quite sanctimonious about this.  A few, on the other hand, are surly…and the stars above their heads seem to reflect this!  What can Mommy do?  And why does she only have two and a half stars?  Well, the delightful little actress that plays the daughter gently reminds her that she needs to ‘remember her tone’!  In other words, if you are nice and treat people well, you would have a higher rating.

What happens next is what takes this from a simple comedy to the next level.  Soon, the four and five star folks start feeling superior and mistreating the lower starred folks.  After all, these people only have themselves to blame.  So what’s next in this insightful little film?  See it for yourself…I highly recommend you do.

Not only did John Fortson star in this film as the nice husband, it turns out he wrote and directed it as well.  Up until now, Fortson has been strictly an actor and while it’s hard to believe it, this is his first attempt at writing or directing.  Some guys apparently can do it all and he elicited a marvelous performance from budding young actress and real-life daughter, Abby Ryder Fortson.  What’s he going to do as an encore? Perhaps play all the parts and film it at the same time?!