Title: Shifting Sands
Film Date: 1994
Availability: For sale on DVD at Shiftingsandmovie.co.uk. Several of Jamie's scenes are also posted to the site.
Synopsis: There's the story of Daniel (Dickon Edwards) and Bean (Jamie), which I suppose would qualify as the B Story, but is the far more interesting story
Worth Watching? I'd say yes. The film itself is not great. I cut the filmmaker, Simon Birkenhead, some slack since it was a student film, but the plot is practically non-existent and the message(s) extremely muddled. However, it's fun to see Jamie before he developed into the actor, and man, he is today.
Does he live or die? No need to be on death watch for this one. :)
The story opens with Jayne, looking very sad on a bench. Her looking sad is a running theme in the film, whether it's on a bench, a bed, a chair...the list goes on.
The credits role and there is one "Jamie Griffith"! Unless Jamie plans some late in career name change, this will be the first and last screen credit for Mr. Griffith.
The film cuts to Jayne in the bathroom and the camera pans to a closeup of a pregnancy test. OK, now we see why Jayne's sad. As Jayne waits for the pregnancy test to do it's job, she thinks back to a party. People are drinking, dancing, and having fun and Jayne is.....looking sad sitting on a bed. Wait. She was sad before the possible unexpected pregnancy? Now I'm confused! Back to the present, she looks at the test and it's not the news she was hoping for.
Cut (again) to two new people. I'm going to jump ahead to avoid confusion and tell you this is Debbie and Dan AKA Daniel AKA Danny AKA pick a name! Debbie and Daniel (I'm going with Daniel since we find out this is what Bean calls him and we're all about Jamie here) are watching a rowing race. They begin talking about Jayne, who was supposed to come with them but has been sick in the bathroom all day. Debbie blames it on Jayne's vegetarianism and makes it clear she's not Jayne's biggest fan. As they move on to a discussion of Jayne's upcoming piano recital, they spot Tom, Jayne's sort-of boyfriend, in the distance. Debbie wonders if he, along with his friend Alex, will be at the recital and asks Daniel if Tom is still seeing Jayne, which no one but them knows about. He's not sure since Tom's chosen to keep the relationship hush-hush. So far, we've only seen a sad, mopey Jayne so I'm unsure why she's a) looked at as being an oddball and b) anyone would feel compelled to keep a relationship with her quiet.
As Daniel and Debbie continue walking, Debbie spots Pete (he'll be important later). While she talks to him, Daniel's attention, and eyes, wander. He spots a guy on the bridge who will be REALLY hot in the future and he should most certainly...I'm both digressing and getting ahead of myself. ;)
My first impressions: OMG, Jamie looks twelve! Actually, he would be 20/21. And he's smoking! I don't recall Jamie ever smoking (cigarettes) again on film, but correct me if I'm wrong. I'm not sure why Bean is smoking since it's not really relevant to the plot. Maybe to make him look older, because, again, he looks twelve!
After making eye contact which conveys there is something there, Daniel goes up to the bridge to speak with Bean. It's obvious the two, at one time, knew each other well, but lost touch. Daniel comments he didn't realize Bean was going to university and Bean says he got in that year. Daniel also asks him how long he's been smoking. So, I'm not the only one who thinks it's weird to see him smoke!
Debbie finally makes her way to the bridge and interrupts the reunion. Damn her. She makes Daniel introduce them. Daniel parts from Bean with a "See you" and he and Debbie are barely out of earshot when she asks who Bean is (Daniel: "Someone I haven't seen in a long time.") and if he's single?! You quickly gather Debbie does not believe in wasting time.
We return to Jayne, still in the bathroom, who flashbacks (again) to the party. Debbie berates Jayne for not being more normal and then follows up with if Jayne didn't act so weird then maybe Tom wouldn't hide his relationship with her. Nice. When Jayne asks what normal is, Debbie has no answer other than to do what everyone else does. This is right before Debbie goes up to her room with some random guy.
Back in the present, Jayne discusses the results of the home pregnancy test with Daniel because you can always trust your gay BFF to keep your secrets even if you don't know he's gay. There's a bunch of talk about going to the doctor for a second test, what she might do if the doctor confirms the pregnancy and if she'll tell Tom, who she doesn't know whether or not she's still dating. There's also lots more sad, mopey Jayne with bonus flashback to the party and Alex encouraging her to drink. Hmmm.....
The next day, we see Debbie briskly walking through a flea market (or whatever the British equivalent would be) as Bean is perusing used books. This will not end well...for Bean.
Bean tries to escape the market - and Debbie - but she'll have none of it and goes into stalker mode. She runs after Bean to ask him if she wants to come out with him tonight. He states she's very blunt, which leads her to backtrack and explain they would be attending a recital with others. He seems to be looking for an excuse to get out of it until Debbie mentions Daniel will be there. Suddenly, he has a change of heart! Debbie is both ridiculously excited (literally) and completely clueless. We also learn Bean knows where Daniel lives. Interesting since Daniel had no idea Bean was even in town!
Jayne's heading to the doctor and, at the same time, we see Alex on his way to class. Some random guy stops him to ask if it's true about Tom and Jayne dating. Tom looks taken aback. Not sure if it's by the question or the randomness of the question. Alex, Tom, Daniel and Pete (Remember him? Now he starts becoming relevant.) are in a lecture. Alex starts interrogating Tom about his dating Jayne. Tom shares they have been going out together, on and off, for a month. Pete does the most obvious pass of a note in class ever behind Tom's back (literally!) to Alex. The note reads, "Well done. You win it!". A pound is enclosed with the note. Obviously, Alex has won a bet and, I think, equally obvious, we know where this is all going.
The lecture ends and Daniel wants to talk with Tom. There's a rather lengthy, WTF discussion between the two in which Daniel wants Tom to open up about his feelings and wonders why he didn't tell Alex about dating Jayne. Daniel even asks Tom why he hides what he feels? And tells Tom he should do what he wants to do for once. Meanwhile, I'm waiting for either an anvil to fall from the sky and land on Daniel or for Bean to walk and out him as a hypocrite. At least Tom points out Daniel never talks about his emotions or relationships either. Hmph! Daniel confesses he's never had a proper girlfriend. Boyfriend, on the other hand.....
Meanwhile, back at the library, Jayne runs into Alex, who becomes very confrontational and creepy, leading Jayne to run to the bathroom to throw up. Conveniently, she leaves her bag behind and Mr. Nosy reaches in and pulls out a pamphlet on abortion.
Back at the house, Jayne is alone on her bed looking sad (again) as, downstairs, Daniel informs Debbie they need to get ready to go to the recital. She tells him she needs to wait around for a bit since she has a hot date that night. OH, DEBBIE.
Daniel goes upstairs to collect Jayne, who confirms to him, yep, she's pregnant. She then ominously states, "There's something I haven't told you."
We cut to the lobby of some building where Alex and Tom are hanging out. Daniel and Jayne arrive. She's not happy to see the two men together. Jayne leaves to get ready for the recital, Alex follows her and is, suddenly, quite menacing. He tells her to not say anything about what happened or else he'll tell Tom she's pregnant. Apparently, there's no way he could be the father! Yeah, right.
Debbie is walking through the park with her "hot date". Well, she has half of that right. She pulls Bean on to a bench and quickly invades his personal space.
Debbie asks what kind of a name is Bean. Bean explains Daniel always used to call him that when they were younger. They were quite mischievous and referred to as the "Beano kids" like two kids out of the comics (I'm having a Bones moment - I have no idea what that means!) and the name stuck. Debbis asks what his real name is and he replies, "Only Daniel knows my real name." Mysterious! She pushes on and asks how long they've known each other ("Ages") and, "What were you? School friends, neighbors, lovers?" Bean replies, "Yes", before quickly adding, "School friends". OMG, DEBBIE, BUY YOURSELF A CLUE! Bean gets as annoyed with her questions as I am and asks how Daniel feels about him attending the recital. Debbie failed to mention that to Daniel. Er Oh.
Debbie and Bean arrive at the recital. Which brings the total attending the recital to...eight. OK, Jayne really isn't popular. O_o
During the recital, Jayne flashes back to the party and, this time, we see Tom possibly raping Jayne. The 'possibly' will be explained later.
Once the recital ends, Tom and Alex discuss sex vs. relationships, thus establishing Tom is mostly a good guy, if too concerned about the opinions of others. Tom also, weirdly, admits Jane is a virgin which leads Alex to have an 'OH, S**T!' moment.
Everyone converges on Jayne/Debbie/Daniel's house and Debbie drags poor Bean up to "look at her room" and to, she hopes, have her way with him.
Meanwhile, Tom and Jayne are laying in bed together. I guess they made up. Off screen. Yeah, that wasn't important to the story! She sends Tom off to get pizza and, no sooner is he out the door, Alex barges into her room. He apologizes, presumably for his recent bad behavior, and asks why she didn't tell him? She says it's because she didn't want Tom to know he raped her. A really difficult conversation ensues in which she accuses Alex of getting her drunk, knowing she can't drink, which he claims he didn't know, just so he could get her into bed. He defends himself by saying getting someone drunk is not the same as rape and he didn't force her. She lashes back with, "Do you think anyone will believe you?" At that point I don't know what to make of what actually happened.
Back to Debbie trying to seduce Bean, by badmouthing Jayne. :/ Again, she talks about Jayne being "weird" what with not smoking or drinking or sleeping around and sitting in her room by herself. Well, Debbie, with friends like you I think I'd choose the solitary life as well. The conversation continues on about weirdness and Bean wondering if she thinks he's weird too. At first she says no, then yes, and, hey, she likes weird people! I guess that's true if they're men and she wants to get in their pants. She tries to kiss Bean at this point, he jumps up to flee, and she apologizes for taking things too fast. Bean then leaves to say goodbye to Daniel.
Daniel's looking longingly at photos of
Bean explains he's leaving because Debbie is getting a bit overexcited. Daniel half asks/half states, "So there is nothing between you two?" Bean is surprised if Daniel thought there was. They admit it was good seeing each other again and Daniel seems to think that's an invitation to kiss. Too soon! Or, more precisely, he's not quite that easy. ;)
Bean leaves and Debbie is not happy about it. She's about to become even unhappier about it. Daniel follows Bean outside. He asks if Bean has his phone number (he does) and Bean shares he can get his number from Debbie. Heh. They agree to get together at a later date and then.....
Back inside the house, Daniel confronts Alex. Alex states he didn't rape Jayne; they were both drunk. Daniel asks how he got into this situation and Alex admits it was a bet with Pete. Daniel asks how much he won ("A Quid.") and sadly retorts, "The price of a pregnancy - a one pound bet." And with his best mate's girlfriend. Alex states he didn't know they were going out. Daniel walks away leaving Alex to contemplate what he's going to tell Tom.
Jayne, from a window, watches Alex run into Tom outside the house. Daniel walks in and asks, "He didn't rape you, did he?" Um, what?! Daniel continues, "You didn't have to prove anything Jayne. I guess it really doesn't matter anymore." Wait? So, Debbie's nasty statements coupled with Jayne's low self-esteem is to blame??? Is that what I'm supposed to take away from this? My head hurts. And that's where the film ends. :(
Unfortunately, Simon didn't upload any of the outtakes on his site, but I capped some choice moments.
Um, the shot with the microphone? Yeah, not commenting. Though I felt compelled to share it. But he really was just making snarky comments about the discussion between Tom and Daniel!