Great things come in small, short packages—and I’m not talking about Hobbits. Mark Whiting’s film “Apple Jack” is fifteen minutes long and manages to introduce and develop character, story, and end with an audiovisual pun. “Apple Jack” presents the strange events that take place on Halloween 1938. Les (Sean Bridgers) and Moe Danyou (Walton Goggins) are two escaped convicts headed for California. Incidentally, they break out of prison on the same day that the radio reports an alien invasion. Meanwhile, Jack Pyne (Cole and Dylan Sprouse from “Big Daddy”) and his father Sherman (Roy McCoy) are barbecuing in the backyard. Their elderly next-door neighbor Helmut Jitters (Gene Dynarski) is preparing to fight the supposed alien invaders.
Reminiscent of the Coen Brothers’ film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” (2000) with respect to tone, “Apple Jack” is such a delightful little piece of cinema that you’ll be at a near loss for words after viewing it. Narrated by singer-actor Randy Travis, “Apple Jack” starts in black and white and slowly transforms into color. Winner of the Best Film award at the 7th Annual Los Angeles International Shorts Film Festival, Whiting’s film is the ultimate testament that everything happens for a reason. Gorgeously lit and shot, “Apple Jack” is an excellent example of the argument that sometimes quality of picture is more important than length.