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"Bobby Loves Mangos"
A Spoiler-Free Look at a Great Short Scifi Film and its Inspiration on Fallen & Risen
Person in grocery store/chow hall line/farmers market: Should we get some mangos?
Me for over two decades: Bobby loves them.
Back in the early 2000s, the then Scifi Channel had a show called Exposure. The program was dedicated to showing short science fiction films, ranging from classics like George Lucas’ Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB to the latest independent shorts going around film festivals. It was a fun show to watch, and if something wasn’t a hit, you just had to wait 10 minutes for the next short.
One short stood out beyond the rest, though. Stuart Acher’s Bobby Loves Mangos blew my mind. Growing up in the late 1980s and 1990s, my exposure to science fiction stories was limited to the fantastical adventures in such things as Stargate, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Babylon 5. On the other hand, Bobby Loves Mangos was about how the weird world of science fiction could touch regular people in our universe. In the story, an elementary school principal receives a mysterious package. Inside is a VHS tape. When played, a person on the videotape identifies himself as a 32-year-old man named Bobby. Bobby (in 2018) says that at the “present” time (1998), he is a student in the school. Bobby says that when he was at the school, he had an allergic reaction to mangos. This reaction caused him to miss a field trip in which 50 children were killed in a bus accident. Bobby pleads to the principal to alter the principal’s future/Bobby’s past.
In its 21-minute run time, Bobby Loves Mangos shows how a person would react to this situation. Is the message real? Does one try to test it out? How far would one go to ensure people were safe?
Before I describe Bobby Loves Mangos’ influence on Fallen and Risen, let’s watch it (introduction ends at 1:08)!
I love this short film for its storytelling. Bobby Loves Mangos focuses the action and story on the people, showing the battle within as people attempt to process epic events. The scifi element of time travel is critical for the story’s background, but the plot is deeper than that. Never before had I seen a story this.
With Fallen and Risen, I try to capture some of this internal battle in reaction to scifi events. In Fallen, Brendan’s PTSD and his attempts addressing it drive the action, with the scifi elements providing a vehicle to move the story along. Now, with Risen, I am working on how Brendan, in a much better place than he was before, internalizes his growing recognition that he is cut off from Earth, with aliens with agendas’ he has not been aware of until now. The Sabia’s action will drive the story, but it will hinge on how he deals with it.
I hope to provide more snipits of Risen soon! Until then, think of Bobby when you see Mangos.