Trevor Gagnon, Leo Howard, and Rebel Rodriguez in Shorts (2009)

This was actually the first kiddie Robert Rodriguez movie I decided to skip in theaters and instead I saw “Aliens in the Attic” that day; however my brother did see that movie and needless to say I still think I made the right call of passing on the movie that tries to replicate Tarantino’s non-linear storytelling! In the little town of Black Falls, every house looks the same and almost everyone works for Black Box Unlimited Worldwide Industries, purveyors of a device that is sweeping the nation. Toe Johnson, 11, is unimpressed with the company and its wares; he just wants a few friends. Then, a wish-granting rock falls from the sky and changes everything. The town swarms with wishes gone amok, but the trouble really begins when adults get their hands on the rock. The film stars Jon Cryer, William H. Macy, Leslie Mann, James Spader, Jimmy Bennett and Kat Dennings. Some of the events will be considered as “episodes” and will be randomized due to the narrator being unable to correctly remember the order of events.

Episode One-A rainbow colored Wishing Rock appears at the home of Loogie , Laser , and Lug Short and they eventually wish that one of them was very smart. However, the power is given to their infant sister. She convinces the boys to dispose of the rock, which Cole finds the next day to throw at Toe. Well I’ll give this segment props for imaginative, but its too childish for my taste, even if I can relate to having a brother!

Episode Two-Toby “Toe” Thompson is bullied by Helvetica “Hel” Black  and her brother Cole on the way to school. Toe speculates that Hel loves him, infuriating Hel and leading Cole and his gang to start throwing rocks at Toe. One of the rocks they throw is the wishing rock, which Toe uses to wish for friends, which come in the form of small aliens. I like this segment for the obvious love/hate relationship for the two characters, even if the antics don’t really land humor wise, also Tarantino’s foot fetish is snuck in!

Episode Three-Toe’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Thomson, like all adults in the town, work for Black Box Unlimited Worldwide Industries Incorporated, which manufactures the “Black Box” universal gadget. They are assigned by Mr. Carbon Black, owner of Black Box, to compete to create a new marketing strategy. Toe’s mother finds the rock in Toe’s room and takes it. She and Mr. Thompson go to a Black Box costume party. Since they were having trouble with their relationship, she wishes that she and her husband were closer. They become merged into a two-headed person, but Mr. Black thinks that they’re wearing a costume. Well the segment at least teaches us a lesson on how technology keeps us from having normal conversations, which is true for today!

Episode Four-Toe’s older sister Stacey arrives to tutor “Nose” Noseworthy, Toe’s old, germaphobic friend. Nose picks his nose against his father’s wishes and accidentally flicks the booger into his father’s radioactive work study. Toe and Loogie, now friends, arrive at Nose’s house in time to see Nose’s booger mutate into a giant monster. This would be the grossest segment in the film and probably my least favorite!

Episode Five-As Toe and Loogie contemplate what to do with the rock, they are ambushed by the rest of the kids and fight until the rock winds up in the hands of Mr. Black. Mr. Black wishes that he was the most powerful thing in the world and turns into a giant Black Box robot. The final is when everything comes full circle and its just as chaotic as I expected from the mind of Robert Rodriguez!

Overall I think the movie is very imaginative and fast-paced when it comes to all the wishes that are grant, however the kiddie humor and bright visuals can be a little too much for older audiences such as myself, which is why I’m not as big a fan of this like the director’s early kiddie work!

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