Bob Goodlow is a landscape gardener and handyman. His dad Buster, a patriotic ex-aerospace worker with a secret past, is now unemployed and suffering from congestive heart failure. Bob’s sister Stephanie does the books for her girlfriend Marlena’s hair salon and holds a secret of her own, just bursting to come out. Polly, their mother, helps with the struggling finances by selling antique dolls on Ebay and worries for everyone, as only mothers can. When Bob proposes to his long time love, Jenny, and his “too cool” cousin, George, proposes a get-rich quick scheme, a series of events unfold which changes their lives forever.
Radical politics, gender identity, the joy of books, rare orchids, a couple of beers and one lonely Italian suit come together in this deftly interwoven story about love, family, the legacy of the 1960’s and the unexpected.
Bob’s New Suit is the colorful, character-driven debut of writer/director Alan Howard.
Bob’s New Suit is a bright fable contemplating the legacy of the 1960’s cultural wars in a contemporary working-class Southern California family. The battle of the sexes, gender identity, radical politics, a threatened economy — all these are conjured by the first feature of writer/director Alan Howard.
NOTE DI REGIA:
Just as transformation is a theme of Bob’s New Suit, the making of the film was definitely a transformative experience. Directing movies was my first serious dream as an adolescent. Maturing into actually doing it was a long, slow process, but I never gave up the dream. After years and years of longing, I was now finally doing it.
I knew the surfaces of the movie should be charming and beautiful, which I believe they are, but they are only a doorway into the hearts of the characters. I wanted to get close to these characters so the audience feels an intimacy with them.
As a young studio executive at Columbia Pictures in the 1960’s, I worked with director Jacques Demy during production of Model Shop and met Jean Renoir near the end of his life. The two directors were a great influence on me and on Bob’s New Suit. Both Renoir and Demy frequently tell multiple stories in their movies, thereby giving us access to an entire community, a world if you will. They also share a compassionate stance towards their characters. Renoir famously said, “Everyone has their reasons.” I tried to present all the characters with understanding, even the less charming ones.
I want the audience to enjoy itself, to be amused by the surprises in the movie. I hope the movie takes them into the unexpected and transforms them during its 97 minutes. I want the end of the movie to open the hearts of the audience. I hope it does that. But what they ultimately take away from the movie is their business, I believe!
Alan Howard’s career in the film industry has seen him in many different roles including studio executive, film critic and editor, but his unfulfilled dream was to see one of his many scripts reach the screen with himself as director. As the idea for Bob’s New Suit was formulating, something told him that this was “the one.” And so he began discussing the budgetary costs and dramatic effects of possible scenes with the help of his long time friend and prolific production designer, Peter Jamison.
Alan R. Howard