Documentary look at Morty Fineman, a prolific maker of schlock independent films, who's down on his luck. Actors, directors, and writers, including Ron Howard and Karen Black, comment on his work, we see clips from some of his 427 titles, and we watch Morty try to get financing for a film about a serial killer. He hires his daughter, Paloma, as his business manager. His A.D., the long-suffering Ivan, stays by his side. Morty owes the bank $10 million from his one blockbuster failure. Can he find the financing, or is it time for Morty to retire. Meanwhile, Ivan hooks Morty up with a new film festival, in Chaparral, Nevada. Is this the ticket to renewal? Written by
I think Morty is a visionary.
I think Morty was and is an artist.
He's an innovator.
Very persistent. And you have to love him for that.
Morty would try things, and then 2 years later someone would copy it and win an Oscar for it.
This is the only man that I've ever worked with that I feel I can't take.
See more »
The titles of all 427 of Morty Fineman's films are shown along with the end credits. See more »
The only criticism I'd make about this film is that the documentary angle wasn't played up to its entirety. There're shots in the film that just don't gybe with documentary film making. An example are some of the lockdown shots, where edited footage of two people having a conversation (a conversation that is supposed captured by a single camera) is shown. It just doesn't wash. And the film suffers because of it. Documentary crews either setup interviews or follow their subjects around. The intercut sequences harken too much to traditional film making. Documentaries have long takes of jittery or mildly shaken hand held shots. Documentaries do not contain lockdown car shots, dolly shots, or other complicated camera moves. It just doesn't happen: It's not what documentary film making is all about. And yet "The Independent" has all of these things.
If the actors had just been allowed to act in front of the camera, possibly ad lib in a long master, then this film would've been much more than what it ultimately became, and would've achieved its goal with sterling aplomb. As it is now it's an attempt at making a mocumentary. Fairly succesful, good, funny, but ultimately a few points shy of a comic masterpiece.
Otherwise it's actually a funny film. Anybody who's worked on any kind of independent production will tell you that this film hits pretty close to home. Artistic license is taken with over the top situations and performances, but the film manages to capture the general feel of how the indy-film maker works, and does so in a comic vein. Stiller plays the exploitation film maker who denies his more base nature, stating that he's an artiste commenting on society, and not a director of hack T&A/slasher/blacksploitation/biker or whatever exploitation genre that he's actually known for.
If you enjoyed "This is Spinal Tap," "Jackie Brown," or "Drop Dead Gorgeous," then you'll warm to this film. Take note of the rating; it's not a comedy for kids.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?