Synopsis by Josh Ralske
It's Chicago in 1997. The Hale Bopp comet is passing through the Earth's sky, and Rachel (Andrea Mustain) doesn't much care. She's at another party, meeting another hapless guy. The next morning, her hard-drinking buddy, Bart (John Jordan), who harbors an unspoken crush on her, asks if it was true love. "No, baby," she says, "just a boy." Her life seems to be one drunken tryst after another until she runs into Ethan (Brad Eric Johnson), an architect from D.C. who's in town to work on a project with her uptight friend Neil's (John Stoops) firm. When they first meet, Rachel is falling-down drunk and obnoxious, and Neil dismisses her. But they run into each other again, and this time sparks fly. Ethan likes Rachel when she's sober, but he's understandably cautious about getting involved with her. Neil warns Ethan about Rachel's past, and points out his propensity for hooking up with "troubled" women. Bart is jealous, and disapproves of Rachel's budding relationship. But the real issue is whether or not Rachel will recognize that, like the eponymous comet, this fling with Ethan might be a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. Ethan is thinking of moving to Chicago on a permanent basis, but he has little patience for Rachel's self-destructive carousing. These two very different people struggle to find a balance and see if their relationship can work. Hale Bopp is the feature debut of writer/director Chris Rubeo. The film's soundtrack was composed and performed by Varnaline. Hale Bopp was shown at the 2003 Rhode Island International Film Festival, where it won a prize for its screenplay.