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A father tries to reconnect with his estranged daughter before it's too late. | West Bottoms

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West Bottoms is used with permission from Gregory Sheffer. Learn more at http://omele.to/3GQlpI9.

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Larry Poole is a lone wolf, a man who rides his motorcycle through his neighborhood of West Bottoms in Kansas City. But Larry isn’t truly a lone wolf: he’s a father, though his relationship with his daughter, Jess, is troubled.

When Larry gets some bad news about his health, he goes out riding, only to be pulled over by some cops, arrested for violating his parole and then losing his bike, the only thing he truly has. These events threaten to leave his difficult relationship with Jess in shambles. When she tells him she’s going to leave town to go to college, Larry faces the possibility of losing her forever and must face the role he’s played in their tumultuous history together.

Written and directed by Gregory Sheffer, this short drama is a dual portrait, of both a man and a place that feel out of time and yet all the more distinctive because of it. Shot with a burnished, warm yet distant naturalism, the film takes advantage of its Kansas City location, its wide views capturing the area’s rustic-industrial environs and uniquely stunning views. There’s an almost nostalgic sense of a forgotten Americana in the film’s visuals, which also reflect its main character, Larry, who feels like a man from a different era. With his love of riding and his air of quiet machismo, Larry could easily exist in the era of Easy Rider or Dirty Harry, where men lived and drank hard and let their softer sides get buried under years of denial, neglect and evasion.

Larry’s innate solitude and outlaw aura likely had a cost, in the form of a fragile, tenuous relationship with his daughter, Jess. As Larry, actor Corey Love occupies the role with authenticity, but he also hints at the defensiveness, vulnerability and even shame of a father who has failed at his role. His interaction with actor Katherine Rodriguez, who plays Jess, easily evokes years of disappointment that have culminated in a breaking point on Jess’s side. News of her leaving coincides with a devastating medical diagnosis, as Larry realizes no solitude or solo riding will protect him from the uncertainties of life.

It also propels Larry into a journey of self-reflection, forgiveness and reconciliation, which also is reflected in the ruminative tempo of “West Bottoms.” Like its main character, the film’s gritty yet poetic storytelling evokes a fascinating tension, between the insouciant rebelliousness of classic 70s Hollywood and a more contemplative, measured introspection. Larry must confront the impact of his character and actions on his relationship with his daughter, realizing that he hasn’t put in the time and effort — and it’s costing him now. Even though he’s at a crisis point, Jess’s leaving forces him to see beyond his needs and consider his daughter and seek forgiveness for his shortcomings. For perhaps the first time, he makes a sacrifice for his daughter as a parent, with the timing and circumstances making it both heroic and a quiet tragedy all at once.

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A father tries to reconnect with his estranged daughter before it’s too late. | West Bottoms
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  1. There is a distinction between “alone” and “lonely.” They’re neither the same nor is one exclusive of the other. Here, we find a father and his daughter in whom “alone” and “lonely” are exquisitely and painfully equipoised. That delicate thread which tenuously connected them and precariously held them from falling into the abyss is mutually severed. In that moment, when each gives the other away, they enter the darkness unaccompanied and bring the union of “alone” and “lonely” to a pitiable perfection. In a terribly profound irony, the father and his daughter who perceive the other in sharp contrast are, unknown to themselves, no different at all.

  2. Loved this so much. It's beautifully shot, the camera work was dynamic and breathed life into the script. The lead actor was so believable, he completely inhabited the role and I really connected with his performance. The power of this film is in what isn't said and those moments are played out perfectly. Excellent piece of work!

  3. I know the actor isn't Sean Penn but he reminds me of Sean Penn. Interesting.
    Anyway, the bathroom scene when he is looking in the mirror to comb his hair says a lot. It's like watching the past, present, and future all in one shot.

  4. Both Corey and Katherine were so raw and vulnerable in their depiction of an estranged father/daughter relationship. It seemed like he sold his bike (the thing which defined him and the only thing he owned) to provide the money for her. He didn't want her leaving without knowing that for all his failings, that he loved her. Despite the pain he had caused her, she in turn let down her steely protective facade and let him in a little. Those parting words, "I'll be in touch", were so bittersweet – knowing that this brief moment of reconciliation is likely to be the last time father and daughter see one another.
    Kudos to everyone involved in making this wonderful film.

  5. Not the best idea to act in case of terminal illness. Come on, be a man a admit the situation… Death is only natural and evident – at some point.

    As for the production – well done and even casting was good. The tobacco industry is always here to ruining our lives ?

  6. Because he knew she would stay and take care of him, and he feels like he's not worth it, because he didn't take care of her.

  7. That was going to be the original city, but then a serious flood happened and they wised up and moved up the hill a bit. Those buildings were made so well they've stood the test for over a hundred and fifty years now and they are still as strong as ever!!!! Wish everyone made stuff that well….

  8. Born and raised right here in KC, the Bottoms is by far, my favorite place in the entire city! I lived in the Post Office on 14th an Mulberry, been going to the Snappy store for over 30 years, I worked almost a decade at a wood shop on 12th, a friend of mine from way back opened The Ship!! It's pretty great to see it all in a film on my favorite YT channel!!! Did not expect that today, a very pleasant surprise!
    Even if the story hit a bit too close to home and hurts to watch. That's what we do here in KC though, we're really good at having a finger on the pulse of what's happening, hell, we're the heart of the country!!!!

  9. Beautifully filmed, this story documents the raw existence of so many of us: Trying to survive, striving to succeed and but always ending up where the consequences of our past, eventually lead us.

    "Dad" reconciling with his daughter, paying penance, but not telling her he was dying, saved her from yet another burden. The heavy burdens he created, and hurt her with her whole life. She will be okay.

  10. that’s true love..i think to tell her only would’ve been or at least perceived as manipulation..great job Dad!!!❤️❤️❤️

  11. Not terminally ill, don't have a kid. But I do have a family and trying my best to do it all takes to make sure they are safe and happy but not living with them because I work abroad.
    Kinda feels like him in many ways.