Sam’s note: R.D Francis is back with another movie I’ve never seen. Imagine what that entails. Please enjoy!
About the Author: R.D Francis is the writer of The Ghosts of Jim Morrison, the Phantom of Detroit, and the Fates of Rock ‘n’ Roll and Tales from a Wizard: The Oral History of Walpurgis. Both non-fiction works explore the myth and mystery behind the 1974 album, Phantom’s Divine Comedy: Part 1—an album many believed to be a solo album by Jim Morrison of the Doors. You can read his music and film criticisms on Medium and learn more about the Phantom on Facebook.
In the space of one of my favorite sci-fi movies, a breakthrough in gravity control allowed mankind to colonize the solar system . . . and someone has to haul the 20,000 pounds of Texco’s Iowa-bred hogfat-fuel from Earth to Titan Station outside Saturn’s rings. The year is 2067. And the name of one of those fat-haulers is Bruce.
A computer programmer for the State of Alaska by day, writer-director Anton Dorion’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy-meets-Tom Baker era Doctor Who-meets-Red Dwarf space opera was shot on a $10,000 budget over six years in Juneau.
“Did you say, ‘$10,000’?”
And when your film’s total budget wouldn’t cover the catering on a day’s shooting of the latest Disney-produced Star Wars glutton fest, what you do: You gather all the grocery-store cardboard in Juneau you can dumpster dive and build the film’s sets in your home and backyard; your son’s bedroom becomes one of the compartments of a space ship (one of the film’s impressive eight sets; including space suits!) and a 2001-inspired, 35-foot long cardboard and 2×4-lattice hallway rises in your backyard. On your daily film “budget” of $35, your film’s impressive rival-the-Colorforms-CGI-pasted-effects-of-a-SyFy Channel extravaganza materializes courtesy of Blender, a 3D freeware program.
Space Trucker Bruce is a road movie set in space as a bored and lonely space trucker (the perfectly droll-for-the-lead-role Karl Sears) captains the Nessus (operated by his “Hal” in a cardboard box: Nessy, the sexy-female computer) and rescues Max (Anton Dorion), a bored and lonely pseudo-hitchhiker adrift Aliens Ripley-style in an escape pod.
Now they’re bored in space: together.
Here we are, the kiddie version of our 1.0 brain awash in dreams of Death Star dogfights and light saber battles, and it turns out space travel is analogous to being stuck in an Escher infinity mirror. Be careful what you wish for, Armstrong: space travel is boring. And watching someone equally boring traveling in “boring space” eating Mostly Meat! snack cakes is boring—even with the comic relief of your cardboard, beer-delivering P-13 robot (played by Anton’s son, Max) and the chatty, digital face of your RJ-7 engineer-computer.
So, what do you do when those porn issues of Galactic Buns, you know, in between your reading the books of noted Catholic historian Gary Willis, don’t do it for you anymore: you crack up and talk to Mr. Sour Cream, a potty-mouth (no F-bombs) container of Daisy brand sour cream with craft store stick-on jiggle eyes. (Don’t worry: he finds his Mrs. Sour Cream along the way.)
Hey, wait a minute. Space isn’t boring. It has surprises. Pressure destabilization of the cardboard hull is repaired with a futuristic-caulking squirt and a slap of duct tape. Then a 2001-strange transmission alters their course and The Dark Object behind the message is on a collision course. And there’s Jane Doe the frozen woman—in a cardboard hypersleep chamber—they thawed along the way.
When 48 percent of 105 Amazon customers give a film more than a 3-star-out-of-5-star rating and post 7-and-9 ratings on the IMDb, you know you’re about to watch a quaint labor of love overflowing with a heart and soul that’s devoid from most of Hollywood’s bloated CGI festivals.
So give Space Trucker Bruce a watch on You Tube or Amazon Prime while you learn more about the film on the official SpaceTruckerBruce.com website. Anton Dorion is currently working on his anticipated second indie feature, Girl, Yeti, and a Spaceship, which he video diaries on You Tube.
Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!
This movie is not to be confused with Stuart Gordon’s (Re-Animator) Space Truckers (1996), which users on the IMDb rank no higher than a 5.2 and as low as a 0.1—despite a bigger, major studio budget and having a cast of established actors: Stephen Dorff (The Gate) and Dennis Hopper (Queen of Blood) as the space-truckin’ buddies, and the villainous Charles Dance (Clemens in Alien 3 and as Tywin Lannister in Game of Thones).