Indie Corner

INDIE CORNER: GROUNDHOG DAY ’08

By • Mar 19th, 2008 •

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(If Michael Bey comes out of the ground and sees his shadow, will we have a summer of great blockbusters?)

You know it’s bad news when the trailer before the movie is more exciting that the feature presentation. My DVD of HBO’s ROCKET SCIENCE came with a trailer for MARTIAN CHILD (starring the Amazing Cusack sibs – John and Joan). MARTIAN CHILD looks like fun, ROCKET SCIENCE, I don’t know. While trying to be NAPOLEON DYNAMITE hip (even the DVD box art is hand written like N.Dynamite), ROCKET SCIENCE follows a nerdy high schooler, Hal (Reece Thompson, who does handle his role well), who stutters and carries his books in a wheel-along travel case. He joins the debate team, so that means all of his co-stars talk fast, neurotically fast. While the makers of this HBO feature are trying to cash in on the quirkiness of NAPOLEON, it all plays out predictable, tiring, a groaner. ROCKET SCIENCE is trying too hard to be an indie.

I would rather go with the real indie stuff, like Mike Mills’ DOES YOUR SOUL HAVE A COLD? This feature documentary follows five Japanese citizens and their battle with depression. According to the film, the Japanese didn’t consider depression to be a mental illness until the mass-marketing of anti-depression medication. These five Tokyo-ites respond to their depression medicine differently. One of them makes the comment “I’m not fighting the depression, I’m now fighting the antidepressants”. What makes this film special is that the medication users are quite ordinary, nothing too glamorous, like the rest of us. IFC plays this film, well worth catching.

Since July 2007, I’ve been immersed in my own film, THE DEED TO HELL. (Our humble editor has a pretty wild role in this film.) My usual venue of DVD duplication is tied up so I have to look elsewhere. I obtained a bunch of recent Long Island indie films to check out the quality of their DVD duplication, and who’s getting the best look for the best dollar. The best film from the bunch is John Lieta’s FORGOTTEN WARDS: THE KINGS PARK STORY. A main purpose of film is to allow the viewer to trespass, and that’s what he does, onto the vast, numerous, long-abandoned buildings of Kings Park Psychiatric Ward. His documentary shows us a slowly decaying metropolis in the middle of Long Island, a city where psychiatric patients lived and had some recreation (One building has incredibly striking murals painted by what was obviously a very talented and unique patient.)

The worst of the L.I. lot was Fred Carpenter’s MARIE. In it, a flipped out policewoman takes on the mob. We know these guys are mobsters because they dress like sixth graders going out as Tony Soprano on Halloween. Footage of ugly strippers is spliced in and slowed up to pad the running time. The moral of this indie column: film what’s in your heart, what provokes your curiosity. You’re an independent film-maker. Your own boss. Don’t say “Hey let’s do something like NAPOLEON DYNAMITE or THE SOPRANOS.”

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One Response »

  1. I disagree with your comment about my movie “MARIE”, the strippers were HOT! You have a great magazine that gives many Indies a light to be seen.

    Sincerely,
    Fred Carpenter

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