Drunk Bus is the story of an unlikely friendship between a college graduate working as the campus bus driver, and a punk rock Samoan security guard named Pineapple. Directed by John Carlucci and Brandon LaGanke and written by Chris Molinaro, this coming-of-age comedy drama is the directors’ directorial debut.
The opening credits (“inspired by real shit”) take us back to 2006 to a town called Kent in Ohio. Michael (played by Charlie Tahan) is stuck in an endless loop. Day after day, he mopes after his ex-girlfriend Amy (played by Sarah Mezzanote) who left him for a new life in New York. He has no plan for a future but just secretly hopes she’ll come back, be with him and they will forever be happy and married. His days just pass him by in a dull lull. All he does is work whilst living with his super lazy flatmate Josh (played by Zach Cherry). Nothing seems to happen to him until one day after an altercation with a passenger, he’s given a security guard in the form of Pineapple (played by Pineapple Tangaroa).
This somewhat “The Rock” lookalike is somewhat frightening at first glance, with his body piercings and face tattoos, but the moment he says “I’m Pineapple”, that’s it. He becomes the ultimate character and a highly regarded friend. Pineapple might seem this hardcore, punk rock ‘freak’, but when it comes down to it, he’s a great guy that clearly knows how to give Michael what he needs – a way out from his miserable and unmoving life.
The film is fast-paced yet with scenes to slow your senses down as it does go from 0-100 quite quickly. The relationship between Michael and his two friends Kat and Justin, (played by Kara Hayward and Tonatiuh Elizarraraz) is beautiful to see. They have a natural chemistry on screen and make for a great comedy threesome.
Pineapple is a strange but lovable character. He has this natural aura surrounding him that makes the audience automatically trust him. What I love is that he pushes Michael to somewhere he’s probably never been before – outside his comfort zone. At first you question whether he’s a good influence on Michael or a bad one, but soon you see how he isn’t either but both. He’s a necessity and there to help Michael focus on what’s right and not what’s easy. This is more than a boy waiting for a girl to take him back, it’s about everything else that comes with it, the feelings and pent up emotions of young twenty-something boys who are stuck in an endless cycle of hope, forever waiting for what’s next.
The film is funny and takes you on an emotional rollercoaster. It’s wacky and weird yet utterly delightful to watch, if not just for the remarkable character that is Pineapple and the incredible relationship he forms with Michael. With a bittersweet ending, it’s definitely one to watch for the feel goods.