Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Fateful Findings: Midnight Movies Get New Agey
to have all your suspicions about the New Age mindset confirmed. We might be
poised on the brink of the Age of Aquarius, the Harmonic Convergence, or
whatever, but it comes bundled with some of the stiffest performances and
clunky dialogue you will ever feast your previously jaded eyes and ears upon. Self-financed
by writer-director-producer-lead actor-craft services Neil Breen, Fateful Finding (trailer here) blows into town tonight for a weekend of
‘round midnight screenings at the Landmark Sunshine. Let the “magic” commence.
attempts to describe Fateful must be
approximate. The link between cause and effect is often rather tenuous in this
world and the exposition is more confounding than explanatory. We can say with
certainty, eight year-old Dylan and Leah were once inseparable. On the last day
of their final summer together, they discover a magic rock that he will keep
with him as a talisman. We know it was a “magical day” because that is what she
wrote in her diary, underlined multiple times for effect. Shortly thereafter,
her parents whisked her away, perhaps because they were concerned about that
creepy Dylan kid.
forward, Dylan is now a successful novelist with a devoted wife, but he never
got over Leah. However, when a Rolls Royce plows into him, spraying red food
coloring everywhere, Dylan makes a remarkably speedy recovery thanks to that
cosmic stone. Finding himself in a spiritual crisis, Dylan chucks in his writing
career, resolving to use his hacker skills to expose all the corrupt collusion between
the government and big business. You see it’s actually believable, because he
has his masters in computer science.
he also facilitates his wife Emily’s addiction to the meds refuses to take, perhaps
because she read the script and figured she would need pharmaceutical help to
get through the shoot. Eventually, he completely loses interest in Emily once
he realizes the physician consulting on his case is none other than his long
lost love, Leah, who did not recognize him under the Invisible Man bandages and
evidently never bothered to read his chart.
so there is some kind of plot afoot to get Dylan as well as some kind of
paranormal agency at work, but you would hardly know it, because Breen devotes
far more time to the marital travails of Dylan’s next door neighbors, Amy and
Jim. As far as the shadowy conspiracy goes, it seems to consist solely of an
underachieving henchman, who conveniently leaves his written instruction behind
at the scene of the crime.
Breen has a maddening habit of getting bogged down in the most mundane details
at the expense of his big picture concept. Occasionally, we see visions of
Dylan leafing through a big glowing mystical book (probably an old heirloom dictionary
bought at a garage sale), but he painstakingly establishes whether or not Amy
wants to try the wine at Dylan’s dinner party.
Be that as it may, just like fellow cult
favorites The Room and Birdemic, it is sheer folly to apply any
sort of rational critical standard to Fateful.
These are passion projects that come from an indescribably bizarre aesthetic
plane of existence. Logic is completely out the window from the get-go in
nearly all respects, starting with the fact Breen looks about twice as old as
the adult Leah. More importantly, there is able space for vocal audiences to
insert their own commentary (such is the advantage of a talky film with
frequent awkward pauses).
Frankly, some of Breen’s choices will mystify even
experienced screen-talking midnight movie patrons. Still, it amply lives up to
the singular reputation it developed on the festival circuit. Recommended for
those who appreciate a healthy dose of communal cinematic lunacy, Fateful Findings screens tonight (3/28)
and late night Saturday (3/29) in New York at the Landmark Sunshine.
Labels: Midnight Movies, Neil Breen