Sunday, January 29, 2012

why indie films?

Alright, I know I'm a complete movie snob . . . you know, the person behind you trying to stifle laughter while everyone else is sniffling at the end of War Horse because I can only take so much melodramatic, manipulative, Hollywood "if we make the music swell at just the right moment and add cheesy silhouettes against a bright, too perfect sunset, then you, the dumb audience will feel an emotion that probably didn't exist in the first place, but we'll make you feel it anyway."  Ugh.

I honestly can't walk into a theater and watch a drama created by the Hollywood machine, it's torturous (especially if it's an adaption of an already ridiculous Nicholas Sparks' novel - saw a dvd of one of those once - NEVER again).  However, if the film is something akin to a Mission Impossible or other 'suspend your disbelief' action flicks, or even a well written comedy, then yes, I'll go and enjoy the escape for a couple hours.

OK, off my soapbox and on to my point.  Indie films.  Independent films created by talented directors outside the mega studios using small budgets and lesser know actors.  Films that connect with the audience on a deeper level than studio movies because the emotions are REAL - not contrived, not predictable, and especially not manipulative.  That's why I love Sundance, and this year I would have to say my favorite film was the very low budget, but beautifully directed and emotionally raw I am not a Hipster.

The themes explored in this film are universal and I connected with every character on a level I didn't expect.  Of course it wasn't perfect and its flaws will be apparent to any discerning film critic, but it affected me deeply and touched my heart.  Without giving too much of the story away, it is a portrayal of a troubled soul - the internal struggle within the main character after he has disappointed everyone who is dear to him, and the unconditional love and forgiveness that sometimes are only found within the bonds of family and the best of friends.  There was absolutely nothing contrived in this film and its sincerity and genuine warmth was powerful. I am always thrilled when a director "gets it," when they understand so completely the very real human emotions of loneliness, estrangement, frustration, connections, and of course, love.  The film was also infused with moments of laugh-out-loud humor, tenderness, and amazing music.  I look forward to seeing it again and hope it gets picked up for wide release.  For another review, click here.

So, as the next Nicholas Sparks' "book made into a movie" makes its debut in theaters around the nation, check out the offerings at your local art house theater.  I guarantee you'll find a better story that will stay with you long after the credits roll.

I knew I would run into the director and cast of this film - it was that special - it made my whole week . . . and yes, Caroline was part of the magic too (only she had no idea why I was so excited to talk with these people ;-).

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