WAIMEA, a short film directed by Steve Herold and written by Herold and James L. Palmer has all the earmarks of a trope-y and mope-y indie drama at the beginning. A lonely character in black and white walking with slumped shoulders to the tune of a solemn piano. But things take a quick turn when you find out that the reason for all the gloom and doom is that the lead character, Rick O’Neill (played by Kevin Kolack) lost the winning lottery ticket that could have changed his life. No one seems more irked about it than his wife Vivian (Patricia Damon) who gives him a right hook, shaking him out of his blues and jump-starting the real plot of WAIMEA.
Though only roughly ten minutes in length, this short film gets a lot done. Flashbacks in color show Rick winning the lottery and then jump back to the black and white misery that is the present time. Vivian seems to delight in pummeling Rick (in a comedic, Three Stooges way) to punish him for losing their winning ticket. The movie cuts to Rick out partying with his pals (in between beatings), the hits just keep coming for another few minutes until
The actors are clearly having fun. If anything, the only complaint I have about the performances is that you can see the actors pulling their punches when it comes to the physical comedy, which is understandable, you don’t want anyone getting hurt, but bringing in someone with more experience to stunt coordinate the hits, slaps, and smashes would really have brought a slightly more visceral note to the piece.
The ending is fun and sees the feuding couple teaming up to reclaim their lost ticket from the grips of some rich huckster (think as if the Monopoly guy was real) and living (presumably) happily ever after at the conclusion.
The jokes and physical humor are fun, and the supporting characters are well placed in the narrative. The use of multiple locations (really just outside the apartment and inside the apartment apart from the opening scene where Rick is aimlessly walking through town) opens the story up a bit. The whole thing is over-the-top, and sometimes that works for short comedy films, and honestly, there’s not enough films like this being made that aren’t just being chucked up on Instagram and TikTok.
There’s definitely talent here, and if you have the opportunity to check WAIMEA out on the festival circuit, do it.