While all films only have a finite amount of time to complete their story, short films have minimal space to get their point across. Like any storytelling medium, the most successful shorts take the audience on a journey that had to be told in this way. The Pour Excuse is mostly able to achieve these goals.
Katie (Tara Erikson) greets one of her regulars, Doug (Patrick Day), as he sits down. When Doug does not order his usual, but a much stronger drink instead, Katie gets concerned. She asks him why so blue and Doug begins his epic story. Years before, Doug left his wife and 8-month old daughter. After getting out of prison, he has been trying to get in contact with his estranged daughter Mary Katherine. However, earlier today, as Doug was perfecting a long, heartfelt apology letter, he received one that states in no uncertain terms, his daughter wants nothing to do with him.
Katie calls him an “asshole” and Doug agrees. He goes on to explain why he was absent for decades from his wife and daughter’s life. At first, Doug was just not equipped to be a father, so he left, intending only to be gone for two weeks. Two weeks became three, which then became a month. He began drinking heavily and using drugs and then started breaking into homes and robbing people. After a few failed dog race bets, Doug upgraded to armed robbery, which led him to Southeast Asia.
“…goes on to explain why he was absent for decades of his daughter’s life.”
There he would run drugs for the Triads, proving almost fatal. Doug eventually made his back to the States, but due to all the drug selling and other illegal activity, he wound up in jail. This brings us to now.
Written and directed by Craig Tovey and Ryan Lagod, the short film is fine. The acting is good, especially from Day who gets the bulk of the dialogue. Erikson reacts, and the two share decent chemistry. The way Doug’s story gets crazier and more absurd is humorous and the dramatic side of him wanting to reconnect with those whose he gravely wronged also gets a decent chunk of the five-minute runtime.
However, the ending is telegraphed after the first few back and forths between patron and bartender. Moreover, it doesn’t entirely work. I understand what Tovey and LaGod wanted to accomplish, but Mary Katherine’s reaction to Doug, whom she understands is genuinely sorry, was unexpected.
The ending is somewhat of a letdown, and the directing is competent but unremarkable. However, thanks to solid acting and well-written dialogue, The Pour Excuse is worth the five minutes of your life it will take to watch.
The Pour Excuse (2018) Written and directed by Craig Tovey, Ryan LaGod. Starring Patrick Day, Tara Erikson, Nicole Burch.
6 Shot Glasses (out of 10)