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The Theory of Flight (09/11/2007)

released: Sep 11, 2007

description: Bud Swanson finishes up a day of clearing planes for landing in the air traffic control tower, and tells his partner Charlie that he is headed home to see the wife and kids. At home, however, it is clear that Bud has been living a bachelor's life in what used to be a family home. As he moves around his house, he is haunted by his wife Susan and his children Skip and Molly, seeing them as though they continue to exist although they continually remind him that they died.

The human resources director, Ms. Bulworth, orders Bud to take some time off, as his grief does not seem to be lessening. Bud thinks the family would enjoy the Pacific Northwest, so he packs up the car and heads out there, pointing out the sites to the empty car seats as he drives. A hitchhiker with a guitar slung over his back and a kite in his hand thumbs a ride, and Bud tells him to squeeze in between himself and his wife. The hitchhiker is unsettled, but does so, introducing himself as Landon.

Bud and Landon drive through the country, exchanging stories. Landon talks about how his father wanted him to work at the mill, and kicked him out when Landon wanted to focus on his music. Bud finally opens up and tells the story of how he was training for his pilot's license when he was forced into a rough water landing, which resulted in the deaths of his wife and children. Landon finds inspiration in Bud's story, and begins to compose a song.

However, when Landon confronts Bud with the truth that his family is not in the car, Bud becomes enraged and drives the car off the road. The car flips, and one survivor crawls out Bud. Bud searches the wreckage, desperate to find his family, but only Landon appears. Oblivious, Bud tells Landon that the family will just have to hitchhike.

They make their way to the highway and soon get a ride with a family in a minivan. The family is welcoming, but soon grow concerned when Bud mentions his family riding along on the bumper of the minivan. They leave Bud and Landon at the next rest stop, which happens to have an aviation theme.


As Landon confronts Bud again on dealing with reality, Bud again grows irate and punches him. He then climbs into an available plane, punches out the woman piloting it, and takes off. He is unaware that Landon's kite has attached itself to the plane until he is in the air and notices Landon hanging off the back. Bud sees his wife and children in the plane with him again, and this time he pushes them away, acknowledging finally that they are only memories. Landon climbs onto the wing and into the plane just as the control tower informs Bud that he will have a tricky landing with a small margin for success. Bud attempts it anyhow, and although he is prepared for failure, accomplishes a perfect landing. On the ground, Bud feels free, as though his demons have finally been laid to rest. Landon is again inspired this time, to call his father.

cast & crew:

Directed by . . . Jason Chin
 
Air Traffic Controller . . . Michael Johnson
Beautiful Girl . . . Amy Verdon
Bud Swanson . . . Sean Kelley
Charlie . . . Colleen Breen
Edmund . . . Roger Payton
Landon . . . Rob White
Landon's Father . . . Roger Payton
Molly Swanson . . . Amy Verdon
Ms. Bulworth . . . Mel Evans
Skip Swanson . . . Michael Johnson
Steve . . . Jorin Garguilo
Steve's Child #1 . . . Colleen Breen
Steve's Child #2 . . . Roger Payton
Steve's Wife . . . Mel Evans
Susan Swanson . . . Kristen Studard

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