West of Sunshine

A deadbeat dad picks up his son to spend the day. Scratch that: the deadbeat dad forgets to pick up the son, gets an irate phone call from his ex, and son reluctantly goes with him with dad finally shows up.

Of course, this day which must now be spent with his young son is also the day on which Jim has promised to pay back a loan shark. Jim has problems with dogs and casinos and gambling all his family’s money away. He’s not a great guy. And now he’s got to watch 35654-west_of_sunshine_1____photo_credit_thom_neal-h_2017Alex while also evading violent criminals. Instead of getting his son to safety, he drags him into all kinds of terrible scenarios which they often escape by the skin of their teeth. The thing about crazy loan sharks is that they don’t really allow for excuses. They don’t make special allowances for a child. It’s pretty clear that Jim doesn’t really rearrange his life for his son either. So that’s awesome.

Things don’t go well, and Jim gets increasingly desperate. Of course, I believed that things still went better than he had any right for them to. I wanted to see this guy crushed. The script seems to believe Jim is undergoing some sort of growth but I was just so steaming mad at the risk he took with his kid, the constant harm he dangled him in front of, I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t forgive the guy.

Little Alex seems to lean toward forgiveness, and that made me mad too. Mad on behalf of all the single mothers who work so hard to provide a loving and stable life for their kids only to have their deadbeat exes waltz in when it’s convenient for them and fuck shit up. Not all dads are crap, but far too many are. They act like they can also divorce their kids. And the kids will still want to adore their fathers, because he’s dad, and isn’t he awesome? Meanwhile mom gets all the flack. Because life isn’t fair. This movie doesn’t bother to really point any of this out, but it’s my honest reaction to it and I never warmed to the film, or to the dad who never redeemed himself in my eyes. I am slightly endeared by the fact that Jim is played by Damian Hill and Alex is played by his real-life stepson, Ty Perham, a really cute kid with apparently no prior acting experience. I hope they had more fun making the film than I did watching it.

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12 thoughts on “West of Sunshine

  1. Birgit

    Maybe it would have been easier that, after he drops his kid back to his mom, he leaves, slips on a banana peel, cracks his head open and dies. I’ll skip this flick

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  2. Katrina Morrison

    Good Review Jay😊
    Good Dads are not easy to find and kids love their Dads and Mums no matter what scum buckets they are; until, they become teenagers; then they hate everyone for awhile🤓
    My Mum used to say: When the kid does good, they had a great Dad; when the kid does bad he had an terrible Mum, of course, she was Complaining. This is life as we know it LOL

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  3. Lloyd Marken

    I hear you but there are bad parents on both sides. It does suck that kids always lack the one who isn’t constantly looking after them. Hopefully they learn in the end who had their back and thank them.

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