By Christopher Campbell | Spout October 3, 2011 at 2:12AM
Short Starts is a column devoted to kicking off the week with a short film, typically one tied to a new release. Today we look at a film written and directed by Grant Heslov, who co-scripted and produced "The Ides of March," which opens Friday.
I cheated a bit in promising something with George Clooney's involvement. He's technically not even credited on "Tony" except that he's well-known as one of the men behind Smokehouse Productions and so is considered to be an executive producer on this film along with his partner, Grant Heslov. In addition to the Smokehouse heads, who've been friends for decades and have gone from co-starring in a 1986 episode of "The Facts of Life" to sharing in Oscar recognition for "Good Night, and Good Luck" to collaborating on the new political drama "The Ides of March," this 2008 short involves Tate Donovan, another longtime buddy from their college years. The trio previously came together back in 1998 for Heslov's directorial debut, another short, titled "Waiting for Woody."
"Tony" stars Donovan as a father who is relentless in finding his cancer-stricken son's lost teddy bear. He apparently has enough time and resources to turn right back around and fly to LA from Seattle, where the stuffed toy was left behind. But his greatest asset is his ability to unintentionally draw in everyone he encounters, forming a search party made up of good samaritans. The way the short is set up, we know nothing of the object being sought, just that the kid calls it Tony. So I kept expecting some punchline reveal at the end if and when they find it/him. "Tony" isn't a jokey short, however, and while the very end let's out the slightest of ironic sighs, this isn't meant to be a sly or sardonic story. Produced in part with Liberty Mutual, for the insurance company's Responsibility Project, "Tony" is wholly a work about doing the right thing, and I assume it's supposed to inspire you to do the same.
Watch the 13-minute film in full after the jump.
Anyone inspired to be more responsible to your fellow man?