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I'm Short, Not Stupid Presents: 'Boobie'

In Boobie, writer and star Brian Petsos is playful with his violence, taking it to obscene levels but leveling it with deadpan comic delivery. Going head-to-head with a mustached Elijah Wood, he hosts a Mexican standoff in a sick take on the...
Jeffrey Bowers
Κείμενο Jeffrey Bowers

Induced by booze, blues, and drugs, I’ve often found my mind wandering into strange places. One peculiar recurring vision I have involves an insane fight scene where the laws of physics bend and I reign supreme. I like this delusion. Whose wet dream isn't beating up bad guys, mastering kung fu, and coming out of a fight totally unscathed? There’s also something playful about violence that is instilled in us during childhood. Replicating gunshot sounds with our mouths and cocking back our thumbs is as much a part of our wonder years as cartoons and cereal. Those good old days of finding wonder and excitement in violence was the idea behind Brian Petsos and Bryan Gaynor’s short film Boobie. To pull it off right, they got a big warehouse playroom, some white jumpers, a fake mustache, a teddy bear named Boobie, and a shit ton of weapons.


Writer and star Brian Petsos is playful with his violence, taking it to obscene levels and leveling it with deadpan comic delivery. Going head-to-head with a mustached Elijah Wood, he hosts a Mexican standoff in a sick take on the classic kids' pastime. Director Bryan Gaynor heightens the experience by taking something so annoying as boys being boys and pushing it to its most exaggerated conclusion. If you let yourself drip into Boobie’s warped trip and cozy up to its peculiar logic, you’ll really enjoy it.

Director Bryan Gaynor makes, writes, and edits a bunch of movies that have played at Sundance, SXSW, Slamdance, HBO, Funny or Die, and many more. Boobie was in the 2011 SXSW film festival. He usually makes movies with his company, Last Pictures.

Writer and star Brian Petsos does more of the same in his newly released feature Revenge for Jolly, which stars Kristen Wiig, Oscar Isaac, Elijah Wood, Ryan Phillippe, and Adam Brody. The film has a similar hyperrealistic vibe, but instead of defending the honor of a teddy bear, he defends the honor of his adorable dog and kills WAY more than just one person. I reached out to Bryan Gaynor and Brian Petsos to answer some questions about their goofy film.

VICE: Where the hell did this idea come from?
Bryan Gaynor: Petsos and I talked about making a short film with a big machine gun, a little guy, and slow motion. That was the egg, I wasn't there for the fertilization process.
Brian Petsos: Mr. Gaynor and I had collaborated on several things prior to this, and we discussed incorporating an extremely large machine gun into something. From there, for me, it was a matter of infusing and juxtaposing as much childlike/absurdist essence as possible in order to create a desolate minidisaster. The violence is crucial, as is the teddy bear.


Did you ever have a stuffed animal that meant the world to you?
BG: No, but I kept Boobie and we still hang out a lot.
BP: When I was slightly younger, I had a little stuffed buddy named Zeke. He and my imaginary friend, Spike, were instrumental in my life. They argued a lot. It was difficult to mediate.

What's it like to have gigantic machine guns on set?
BP: It's both frightening and exhilarating—tantalizing even. Somebody could die.
BG: I remember being pissed the arms guy wouldn't let me play with it. I'm actually still upset about that.

Why the mustache? I have a mustache, and I know they're cool. But why here?
BG: The mustache has a lot of significance. I can't explain it though, that would be cheating. All I can say is look closely.
BP: The mustache is fake. They're funny. Right?

What are you working on now?
BP: I just made my bed. I think I'm going to eat something, and then watch cartoons.
BG: Arms and chest. My abs need work too.

Jeffrey Bowers is a tall mustached guy from Ohio who's seen too many weird movies. He currently lives in Brooklyn, working as an art and film curator. He is a programmer at the Hamptons International Film Festival and screens for the Tribeca Film Festival. He also self-publishes a super fancy mixed-media art serial called PRISM index. @PRISMindex Previously - I'm Short, Not Stupid Presents: 'The Rambler'