Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Glories of Independent Film

Ah, independent film--what better way to feel special because you're not watching "Transporter 2" or some other big budget romp? What better way to walk away saying "I grew a little" without having to add " . . . in my PANTS!" like a high schooler.

Seems, though after seeing a number of indie films over the years that there are certain patterns that all the films tend to follow.

1) No one in the film is all that "hot". Sure, there's "indie film pretty" which is nice, but none of the characters are the type that'd make you turn your head on the street, eyes bulding and jaw dropping. (Ah, restraining orders....) This is because the films don't waste their budgets with high tech makeup artists that spend a lot of time making the likes of Megan Fox look like some video vamp.

2) A lot of closeups on the actors' faces. I assume this is because the "set" itself is just some dude's kitchen, so they figure focus close on faces and no one has to pick up the mess.

3) Music you never heard of running between each scene. Much easier to get some up and coming band that'd be thrilled to have their music in a movie than to hire Huey Lewis to do some music for it.

4) Abrupt endings. An indie film could easily cut out at any point, at which you're expecting another scene. You're never saying to yourself "ah, this is going to be the big payout"--nope, it's more like Jimmy going to the grocery store, sees his old girlfriend, fade out. WHAT??? JIMMY, WHAT DID YOU END UP GETTING AT THE STORE??? I NEED CLOSURE!!!

5) Extras are played by members of the director's immediate family. When's the last time you saw Midge Spielberg playing a grandma in E.T., or Bertha Lucas cast as one of Darth Vader's lieutenants? The only big budget exception to this is Martin Scorcese who always casts his mom, or maybe Francis Coppola who cast his sister (and later his daughter) in his films. Maybe it's an Italian exception.

6) Camerawork is always a bit shaky. This is what happens when you hire your unemployed neighbor to hold the scene in frame.

7) Facial hair. Every indie film director has plenty of shaggy friends, any of which are happy to work in a film and be paid in pizza. Lord knows my shaggy friends would be the first I'd cast in my own film. (Unless Paramount greenlights "Road House 3--Back to Basics" in which case sorry dudes, we gotta get people with Screen Actor's Guild cards).

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