Public transportation is one of life’s great equalizers, or at least that’s the case for those who, by necessity or by choice, use public transportation instead of that ubiquitous American status symbol, the automobile. In Santa Monica, CA, that great equalizer is a bus, painted Clearance Sale Blue, a rolling melting pot where three complete strangers from entirely different backgrounds eventually come together.
A Chinese Grandpa (Darimodo Wang), tired of being stood up by his distant and indifferent New World son, takes the Big Blue Bus to celebrate the Chinese New Year with his grandson. A French Girl (Amand Elliott) boards the bus to escape from her male roommate’s rejection of her after she’d fallen in love with him. Finally, there’s the Mexican Boy (Eloy Mendez) who’s arrived in the States with just two prized possessions — a new pair of shoes and a family photograph — only to find out which is more important when the other gets stolen on the bus.
With the actors lending a poignant believability to their individual slices of life, “Big Blue Bus” is a sweet, if kinda pointless short from director Ashley H. Chiang. While the film has a certain almost inevitable direction, given that all these characters are destined for bus ridership, this only becomes apparent at film’s end. Until then, the short meanders around in the world of character development.
What happens next? That’s the question all three of these disparate individuals must be asking themselves as they sit on the bus in contemplative silence. It’s a good question. Because, as “Big Blue Bus” the movie pulls away from the bus stop, it feels like its star passengers’ life stories are just beginning.