A Real Adventure

A Real Adventure [Video]

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By Omeleto

A Real Adventure

Jack is visiting his father Richard in prison for the first time since Richard was locked up. Their visit is ostensibly pleasant at first, as the two men catch up after a long time not seeing one another.

As Jack listens to his dad talk about life in prison and his plans for when he gets out, the son remembers key moments of his relationship with his dad, until reaching a point of confrontation on just why he’s in prison, to begin with.

Well-acted, sensitive, and ultimately compassionate in feeling, this short drama, written and directed by co-star Josh Zuckerman, has an eye and ear for ordinary yet resonant emotions and relationships. Alert to how small yet telling details reveals worldview and character, the story details a shift in how a son views his father, and where their relationship could go in the future.

Rendered in a low-key, naturalistic style, this kind of storytelling leans on beautifully delineated writing and performances to generate interest and hold attention. The dialogue here is excellent, specific to each character and what they reveal and hide in their words and actions. It sets up Richard as a caring, involved dad at first impression, someone who loves to share his thoughts and knowledge with his young son.

But he’s also quick-talking, a little glib, full of schemes — definitely a dreamer, and perhaps a little delusional about himself and reality. Though it’s never fully explicit about what happened at first, we get hints that it was this penchant for both self-delusion and grandiosity that got Richard in legal trouble, to begin with.

Actor Michael Laskin portrays this tension with both warm presence and subtle feeling, showing that this fault emerges out of his clear desire to do his best for his family. But Richard lacks a core of essential self-awareness to know the difference between right and wrong and perhaps isn’t being entirely honest with himself about his failings as a human and a father.

Jack is more reserved and observant — especially in the face of his dad’s garrulous nature — though it’s clear from the flashbacks that the bond between child and parent was strong. Zuckerman is able to capture the clear love between the two but also flickers of skepticism, and many times Jack is often holding back what he really wants to say.

The writing’s weaving of past and present can be a difficult structure for short films to pull off, but it works here because it’s yoked to the son’s interior experience. The structure captures how certain lines or feelings in the present evoke past resonances; a relationship never exists in just the present tense. When Jack finally speaks out, it disrupts Richard’s fantasies, and the son finally unloads the great emotional burden that’s been building — something years in the making.

“A Real Adventure” ends with Jack’s own fantasy, one that seems to integrate the highs and lows of his relationship, and he ends by seeing his dad for what he is — a flawed human being, with gifts and faults like anyone else. It is a journey that most children will take with their parents, as mothers and fathers go from being almost god-like figures to people just struggling with life. Sometimes this shift brings a disillusionment that neither parent nor child can come back from. But sometimes it can enrich and deepen a relationship and a bond, as acceptance becomes the foundation for moving forward.

Transcript provided by YouTube:

00:56

jack sorry i’m like the um

01:00

the traffic is a lot worse than i

01:03

all right i’m just glad you’re here yeah

01:05

so uh how do you like my outfit

01:08

i don’t yeah well listen uh

01:14

well thanks for coming guy it’s not so

01:18

hey do me a favor once you talk to your

01:19

mother and your sister maybe you can

01:21

convince them to come down here for a

01:23

no for thanksgiving maybe no yeah sure

01:27

okay good oh did you bring the quarters

01:34

no no i can’t uh i can’t handle money

01:37

they don’t no but i can’t even look at

01:39

the money but you know you could no

01:41

you could do me a favor just go out in

01:42

the hallway there’s a vending machine

01:44

i’d love you to get me a

01:45

hershey chocolate bar uh yeah oh and if

01:49

you have enough left over could you uh

01:51

get me a repair irregular

01:54

diet are you serious come on

02:14

oh i got it i got it i got it

02:24

that stopped what did i do

02:32

dad what why do they say money doesn’t

02:36

well but it does you just gotta know

02:39

well like this tree right here yeah

02:42

that’s a money tree no it isn’t yeah it

02:46

go ahead shake it see what happens give

02:48

it a good hard shake you’ll be surprised

02:52

that’s it little harder a little harder

02:57

wow look what you did 20 right

03:09

i didn’t have enough for the rupert no

03:12

i wrote you i i i told you to bring five

03:14

dollars i did dad the candy bar alone

03:16

was 4.25 can you check the prices first

03:18

they don’t let me go near those machines

03:20

well it’s ridiculous i mean that’d be 90

03:23

cents up the road at a gas station don’t

03:24

worry about it it’s four dollars

03:26

yeah well it’s easy for you to say not

03:30

the chocolate so good i’ve been planning

03:33

but i’m going to get from that vending

03:38

how are you i’m good you know what they

03:42

to feed a prisoner per day a dollar 30.

03:47

probably why they don’t have you to

03:48

touch the vending machines to start a

03:49

riot a dollar 30. can you believe this

03:51

i don’t remember the last time i saw a

03:53

vegetable and every once in a while

03:54

they’ll bring me one of these

03:55

gigantic gmo tomatoes you know it’s like

03:59

freaking casaba melon and forget about

04:01

it it tastes just horrible but

04:03

it’s chocolate oh boy this is gorgeous

04:12

what’s that this is a chocolate egg

04:14

cream all right now when i was a kid

04:17

every day after school we’d go to the

04:18

soda fountain we would have one of these

04:20

eggs take a sip have some

04:28

tastes fizzy little fizzy okay well

04:31

here’s the thing if you don’t like it

04:33

doesn’t matter we’re in the best deli in

04:36

and we’re gonna order everything on the

04:37

menu including a pastrami sandwich

04:43

this is good you should be eating that

04:46

it’s all right hey listen

04:50

whatever happened to that girl that you

04:52

introduced me to up in san francisco you

04:54

the one the one you were sweet on

05:01

okay um yeah jacqueline i think you mean

05:05

yes um she’s all right i guess i don’t

05:07

know we’re actually not together anymore

05:10

i’m sorry i thought she was great thanks

05:13

that yeah okay listen you know my

05:17

my science is doing really well okay i

05:19

got a job here at the library

05:21

and i can access all kinds of books i

05:24

for scientific journals and they it

05:27

takes a little longer for them to get

05:28

here a little bit of a process i have to

05:30

give somebody a can of tuna once in a

05:32

while you know but i get like

05:33

it’s amazing i can get any book in the

05:38

these guys call me the mad scientist

05:40

we’ve been calling you that for years

05:42

hey do you know about lake maracaibo no

05:44

okay look this up on the internet

05:46

they have more lightning strikes in that

05:49

than anywhere else on the planet they

05:56

listen you know about about steve jobs

05:57

guy yeah he’s the guy who built your

05:59

macintosh computer oh yeah

06:01

yeah oh another good one well

06:04

it turns out he wants to buy one of your

06:09

what do you think of that cool i made a

06:12

you know the difference between a

06:13

conductor and an insulator

06:15

nope oh we got to learn that along with

06:18

catching okay and so what i’m trying to

06:22

and i’m very close is i’m trying to

06:24

create a device that can capture

06:26

the lightning energy all right we’re

06:30

five billion joules of energy billion

06:34

okay you know how much that is any idea

06:37

that can power a 60 watt light bulb for

06:40

and it’s free okay and then what i’m

06:42

going to do is i’m going to

06:44

oh okay i’m all right i’m sorry

06:47

i’m boring you you don’t want to hear

06:48

about my science stuff no i’m

06:50

i just i i don’t even know what you’re

06:55

oh well a jewel is a unit of energy

07:07

okay what do you want to talk about i

07:10

mean we only have a few minutes left

07:22

okay you see all those gears in there

07:25

what are they doing telling time that’s

07:27

exactly right and the whole thing

07:29

is entirely mechanical isn’t that

07:33

will it go on forever yeah

07:36

how does that work um well every clock

07:39

has a main spring that has to

07:41

your mother sent me that article that

07:42

you wrote for the magazine

07:45

i i i thought it was great it was

07:47

beautifully written thanks

07:48

and i showed it to some of the inmates

07:50

here they also thought that see

07:52

oh so you were always a very elegant

07:56

you should write a novel no dad i don’t

07:59

want to write a novel sure i do

08:06

come on hey hey want to go on adventure

08:12

remember i used to say that to you

08:13

you’re a little kid i would say you want

08:16

and you would say yes but you wanted to

08:17

be something bigger than pee-wee’s

08:19

well indiana jones more likely yeah so

08:21

we would you know we would take a

08:23

we would take a bus we would go to no

08:25

destination in particular and we would

08:32

i don’t know well that doesn’t sound

08:34

like a real adventure that was the best

08:37

where do we go uh depends i mean i

08:41

one day we went to the zoo and uh we

08:44

putzed around there for a little bit

08:45

and i bought you an ice cream cone and

08:47

uh then we made our way back home

08:50

yeah i don’t remember that okay

08:54

you’re a cute kid you’re a pain in the

08:57

ass but you were a cute kid

08:59

i’m sure i was i’m gonna be getting out

09:04

soon and i just want you know things

09:07

things are gonna be better

09:08

okay we’ll have more adventures i’m

09:11

i’m gonna get a new house for your mom

09:13

i’m gonna take her to europe we’re gonna

09:15

maybe we’ll sail around scandinavia and

09:19

you know what you know we should go we

09:22

i always wanted to see the library at

09:24

the medical school where my father’s

09:26

name was up at the ceiling you know with

09:27

mcgill he was a very very famous alum

09:32

what are you doing nothing i’m just

09:34

trying to have i’m trying to have a

09:40

okay what what’s wrong what’s the matter

09:44

you you seem so upbeat well you gotta be

09:51

miracles can happen jack yeah right but

09:54

why does everything have to be so grand

09:56

you know you you can’t make plans to

09:58

travel the world when you’re still in

10:00

okay all right all right i mean you

10:01

don’t even have a job all right you know

10:03

what you don’t have to lecture me about

10:05

that please i’m not trying to steal your

10:07

plans away from you whatever you can do

10:08

whatever you want i just i just wish you

10:10

aimed low okay just stop picking on me

10:12

if you don’t mind maybe we wouldn’t be

10:14

maybe you could get a root beer

10:15

chocolate bar anytime you wanted the

10:17

seven months there’s nothing wrong with

10:24

okay okay i just want you to know that

10:28

i did for you and your mother and your

10:30

sister i just wanted to have

10:37

i never asked you to hit a grand slam

10:39

listen to it it’s gonna be okay

10:41

it’s no it’s gonna be okay you gotta

10:44

you gotta give me a little trust it’s

10:48

it’s the same thing you know

10:50

you’ve always been in trouble you always

10:52

be in trouble all right come on that’s

10:53

yeah just pick them that’s fine just

10:54

that that that’s you you know you you

10:56

will you’ll hide money from the

10:57

government you’ll steal money

11:09

we miss out on you and you’re the hot

11:12

ticket item dad you’re what’s your

11:15

three minutes you got three minutes

11:38

jack maybe you’re right let me try to

11:42

come on let’s go on a real adventure

12:02

where you headed going on a real

13:00

visitors please make your way to the

13:02

front desk to collect your ids

13:05

inmates filed to the back

13:10

listen uh i’m sorry if i

13:14

you know did the best i could okay

14:13

i’ll bring more quarters next time

This post was previously published on YouTube.

A Real Adventure


Photo credit: Screenshot from video

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