VIMEO Awards 2012: Ham Sandwich

Here we are for the last review on the contestants for the narrative short film category at the VIMEO Awards 2012.

You can find more information about this year’s VIMEO Awards clicking here. For the list of short films taking part in the narrative lineup, click here.

Our last reviewed short film is Ham Sandwich, by Dave Green:

The beginning is sharp, no credits. Our main character asking for a promotion. And being declined by his boss. Then he approaches the dumb hot secretary with some papers. She complains that they’re pink. Baxter approaches a room where his colleagues are eating some spaguetti. But they close the door at his face. Poor bastard.

Baxter looks out for a place to eat and Pappy’s Sandwich Shoppe gets his attention.   The place looks like a haunted butchery. A hunchback comes out of nowhere, behind the balcony. His smile is malicious. He offers a ham sandwich, Baxter agrees. He receives and leaves. The hunchback declares in a devilish tone “Be the wishes of your heart noble or damned be your soul”. Baxter seems not to hear.

— We’re 7 seconds earlier than usual. It’s 1:53. Pausing here to bring up some great thing about this film. Even as we don’t know the real PROBLEM we’re still locked in the ham sandwich’s mystic. That office scene takes 0:40 seconds, it’s like PERFECT. His boss takes advantage of him, the dumb blonde secretary is a bitch and the rest of the employees simply despise him. 40 seconds. Great character introduction. Besides that the way he works with the dumb blonde secretary stereotype is superb. The others 1:13 minutes are all about the mystery surrounding the sandwich. We know there’s something promising about it, we just don’t know what yet. This is enough to keep us tied.

Baxter gets back into the office, unwraps his sandwich, but before the first bite his boss storms in the room, complaining about him screwing around. The boss leaves the room with his coffee cup full. Baxter bites the sandwich and instantly the boss is back, using the same speech. It freaks our main character out! Suspicious, he gets another time and teleports back to the spaghetti room. And back to the bitchy secretary. Aware of his new power, he pulls the secretary from her chair and kisses her in the mouth. Before the slap comes right at his face, he bites the sandwich again and vanishes. Back to the first scene. He lights a match in the middle of his boss’ mumble jumble and fires his tie.

After that Baxter steals banks; steals a motorcycle from a badass guy, punching him in the face. And crashes at an old man, crossing the street on a wheelchair. Willing to avoid the aftermath, he gives another bite. Standing up in front of a drug dealer, to whom he asks to buy all the drugs.Baxter goes partying, travelling the decades of disco and rock until the Belle Epoque by biting his sandwich.

He finds the sandwich shoppe and confesses his issue to the vendor, but then a little hunchback kid shows up and Baxter puts him against the wall. Accusing him. Until his father points a shotgun at his face, ordering him to let go the boy. Under this situation, he bites the sandwich and travels back to the colonization, with a marshall punch-fighting an indian. He concludes that he must find a way for this sandwich to never exist. With an idea, he swallows the entire sandwich (what was left out of it, at least).

He goes back in time to find a man trying to create the perfect ham sandwich. He orders the food inventor to stop. “I’ve come from the future to stop you from making this sandwich” goes to the quote of the day awards. Our inventor then decides to call it sandwich, since it had no name so far. Baxter calls his attention again and is accused to be an intruder. The inventor picks up a sword and makes a move against Baxter, whom grabs the sandwich and puts it in the line of the slash. It cuts the sandwich in half. Which simply gave another great idea to the inventor, whom then slips in the ham and falls on his sword dying instantly. Baxter is immediately transported back to the office and he’s really happy with it. The secretary asks him to help her out and when he sees the reason is a fresh killed moose being dragged through the office. His boss with a chainsaw as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

— There are several reasons to enjoy Ham Sandwich, it’s a 6-minutes film with quick development, funny situations and quirky dialog. And you possibly know how hard it is to strike a decent comedy these days.

— Yet what i really want to talk about is the MAGICAL AMULET, an unknown object discovered by the main character which has super-hero powers, normally timespace travel. This is a resource i suggested in my article about location, illustrating with the short film Plot Device, by Seth Worley. Story-speaking, they’re almost the same film, as most timetravel magical amulet films are.

— You might already know that a story has at least 3 acts. Feature or short, three is the minimum and the standard. Really summarizing everything: first act is for introduction, second act is the journey and third act is the conclusion. In the first you’ll propose your problem, the second act is a long way through obstacles towards the goal and the third is the resolution.

— The trick with MAGICAL AMULET short films is that they introduce you to the core of the story (the amulet and its power) while complicating the plot. So it covers part of the first act while simultaneously developing the second act. This is a great solution at short films since it saves quite the time.

— And this is it :(

RATING: 8/10

Review’s schedule:

19/05: The Ghosts, by Eddie O’Keefe; (read)
20/05: Prologue, by Bradley W. Ragland; (read)
21/05: Webcam, by Zbros Productions; (read)
22/05: A Bitch, by Matthew Miller; (read)
23/05: Left Right, by Tom Willems; (read)
24/05: The Hive, by Blind Aura Pictures; (read)
25/05: Hooked, by Stuart Howe; (read)
26/05: Pothound, by Christopher Guiness; (read)
27/05: The Division of Gravity, by Rob Chiu; (read)
28/05: Blinky™, by Ruairi Robinson; (read)
29/05: Human Beings, by Jonathan Entwistle; (read)
30/05: Ham Sandwich, by Dave Green.

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