By Stina Chyn | December 4, 2003

Old habits may be hard to break, but some routines are even harder to change. Ernie Copper (Phil Buotte), the main character in Brian Lynch’s short film “Copper’s Golden Day,” cannot alter his morning ritual. For years, he’s woken up at 7:30 AM and fixed his wife a breakfast consisting of eggs and brown sugar oatmeal. The film begins on the day when Ernie’s breakfast routine is interrupted because there’s no more oatmeal. Unwilling to improvise, Ernie sets out to market to buy another box.
Lynch’s film addresses the inability of the outside world to distract or hold back a determined individual. Ernie is on a mission to retrieve a box of oatmeal. He might briefly pause to chat with neighbors or make small talk with the cashier at the supermarket, but he’s on a tight schedule and cannot afford to dilly-dally. The viewer eventually learns why preparing breakfast is so important to Ernie. The process of making eggs, stirring the instant oatmeal, and gingerly carrying the try to his wife is a gesture of emotional attachment. The film later reveals the tragedy involved when Ernie doesn’t successfully accomplish his task.
“Copper’s Golden Day” rests on Phil Buotte’s performance. As Ernie Copper, Buotte brings a sense of unquestioned devotion. He’s honest, and we can’t help but like him even when he won’t make do without oatmeal. When you learn why Ernie makes a certain decision near the end of the film, you hope that he’ll end up in a place where he’ll never run out of oatmeal.

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