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Bubby is a 35-year-old man who has never set foot outside his mother's dingy apartment in the back of a printing press in an industrial area of Adelaide. In addition to beating and sexually abusing him, she confines him to the apartment, telling him that the air outside is poisonous and telling him he will die if he tries to leave. Bubby eventually escapes, joins up with a rock band, and embarks on a journey of self-discovery and shocking mayhem.
Bubby won four 1994 Australian Film Institute awards: Best Director (Rolf de Heer), Best Actor in a Leading Role (Nicholas Hope), Best Original Screenplay (Rolf de Heer), and Best Editing (Suresh Ayyar). It was also nominated for Best Film (Rolf de Heer) and Best Cinematography (Ian Jones).
If someone told me that I would end up nearly sobbing with joy over a movie whose first act consists almost entirely of extended and graphic scenes of incest, mental and physical torture against the mentally handicapped, and extremely authentic-looking acts of feline cruelty, I'd have said you must have the wrong guy. I don't like being grossed out, and to go in blind to a movie that, according to most teaser summaries, was promoted for its depravity is something I usually like to leave to the stronger-willed. Two hours later, with cheeks still drying, I can tell you: I am that guy.
Somewhere beneath all the # and the dirt and the ignorance and the hate, Bad Boy Bubby is a story with a message (potentially demeaning in less skilled hands) that even the most unlovely people can love and be loved. Even those that might not be understood by society can understand. The human garbage and wreckage that is tossed by the wayside is no different than the garbage that stays on the table just because they're nice to look at, or drive expensive cars, or preach empty messages louder than most. Bubby is proxy for all the unfortunates who are judged, for superficial reasons, to be unimportant or expendable. He's also an example that not all those who are lost can never be found again. A dirty, crude inspiration, but an inspiration all the same, just as those who see him for more than a dirty, stupid loser.