Bone Daddy

Institute History

  • 1991 Directors Lab


Lyle Fleck has spent half his life in a mental hospital. He's not crazy, but nobody knows how to handle him. Lyle suffers from Tourette's Syndrome, a rare physical disorder that causes him to twitch, convulse, and curse uncontrollably at the most inopportune moments.

Lyle's parents are god-fearing Christians. His mother believes Lyle is possessed by a demon, but his father suspects differently. Lyle's dad breaks his leg, rendering him unable to fulfill his duties as a department store Santa. Out of desperation, he entrusts the job to Lyle. All goes well for a short time, but then Lyle's illness takes over. He's arrested. His mother locks him in his trailer and has him committed.

Once institutionalized, a doctor treats him with a groundbreaking medication that relieves the symptoms. Lyle is released in time for Easter. He's granted a lifelong wish—to play piano before the entire church congregation during the Easter mass.

A friend convinces Lyle that the medication will eventually harm him. Lyle goes off his pills shortly before his big performance. Lyle bursts into the church cursing uncontrollably. But when he begins to sing and play beautifully, the entire congregation is so moved that one by one they rise and join Lyle in song.

This is a sad, funny, and unusual story possessing both humor and drama. There's a curious blend of faith and despair as Lyle displays an innocence that sharply contrasts his fate.

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