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The Independent
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The Independent (2000) More at IMDbPro »

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The Independent -- A notorious B-movie director tries for a comeback by seeking out the film rights to the life story of a serial killer who wants his biography film to be a musical.


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Down 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Mike Wilkins (written by) &
Stephen Kessler (written by)
View company contact information for The Independent on IMDbPro.
Morty Fineman. Artist. Visionary. Madman.
A notorious B-movie director tries for a comeback by seeking out the film rights to the life story of a serial killer who wants his biography film to be a musical. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
2 wins See more »
User Reviews:
Bad cinema done with a smile See more (29 total) »


  (in credits order)

Jerry Stiller ... Morty Fineman

Janeane Garofalo ... Paloma Fineman

Max Perlich ... Ivan

Ted Demme ... Himself

Roger Corman ... Himself

Ron Howard ... Himself

Karen Black ... Herself

Peter Bogdanovich ... Himself

Fred Williamson ... Himself

Nick Cassavetes ... Himself

Paul Logan ... Son

Stacy Fuson ... Daughter
Herb Marcus ... Old Man / Mr. Witz

Julie Strain ... Ms. Kevorkian
Stephen Kessler ... Steve
Mike Wilkins ... Mike

Ethan Embry ... Bert

James 'Kimo' Wills ... Rob (as Kimo Wills)

Phil Proctor ... Rob's Dad

Melinda Peterson ... Rob's Mom

Louisa Moritz ... Sally / Receptionist

Priscilla Taylor ... Iris

Greg Behrendt ... Redneck

Victoria Silvstedt ... Blossom
Devon DeMaria ... Violet
Joseph Dubow ... Businessman #2
Danielle Ciardi ... Daisy
Lisa McCullough ... Leather Girl
Jimmy Briscoe ... Morty's Actor-Friend
Gary Friedkin ... Surfer Guy

Debbie Lee Carrington ... Surfer Girl
Susan Rossitto ... Morty's Actress-Friend (as Susie Rossitto)

Jonathan Katz ... Todd
Eric Schaefer ... R.F. Fineman
Roy Kerry ... Beardo

David Stifel ... Hairface
Dennis McCullen ... President

S.A. Griffin ... Slate
Omer Mohamed ... Mr. Singh

Maria Cina ... Newscaster

Jennifer Elise Cox ... Telluride Booth Girl

Billy Burke ... Dwayne
Penelope Pumpkins ... Actress #1
Brittany Andrews ... Actress #3
Amy Stiller ... Dr. Rosaria Mclesh

John Finnegan ... Guard

Larry Hankin ... William Henry Ellis

Andy Dick ... Maitre d'
Joann Richter ... Tula
Jeffrey Schoeny ... Boy

Ben Stiller ... Cop
Ancel Cook ... Peter Worth

John Lydon ... Baruce

Ginger Lynn ... Mayor Kitty Storm (as Ginger Lynn Allen)
Michael Robbins ... Orthodontist (as Dr. Michael Robbins)
Ken Michelman ... Prosecutor

Dana Gould ... Victim
Rob Ingersoll ... Christ

Judy Herrera ... Blue Sky

Anne Meara ... Rita

Fred Dryer ... Jean Claude

Richard Paul ... Jeffries

Sam Anderson ... Ed
Bill Gerber ... Dennis

Laura Kightlinger ... Diana
Risa Mickenberg ... Desk Clerk

Jay Johnston ... Soldier
Joseph S. Griffo ... Beach Guy (as Joseph Griffo)

Bob Odenkirk ... Figure
Melissa Daniels ... Lover
Owen Bush ... VFW Old Man

Aki Aleong ... Mr. Ko

Ramon Sison ... Mr. Ramos
Maria Ford ... Poster Model
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Michael Berryman ... Himself

Fantasia ... Actress #2

Gina Jackson ... Foxy Chocolate Robot

Elina Madison ... Fawn

Jill Marie McMurray ... Film Festival Fan
Lesa Lakin Richardson ... Sweet Pea

Stuart Stone ... Jack Barth
Dennis McMullen ... President of the United States (uncredited)

Brian Posehn ... Fan from Casper, WY (uncredited)

Directed by
Stephen Kessler 
Writing credits
Mike Wilkins (written by) &
Stephen Kessler (written by)

Produced by
Helen Akerly .... associate producer
Gary DePew .... line producer
George Paige .... associate producer
Lesa Lakin Richardson .... co-executive producer
Jerry Weintraub .... executive producer
Mike Wilkins .... producer
Jack Ziga .... co-producer
Original Music by
Ben Vaughn 
Cinematography by
Amir Hamed 
Film Editing by
Chris Franklin 
Casting by
Nicole Arbusto 
Joy Dickson 
Production Design by
Russell Christian 
Art Direction by
Dan Rucinski 
Set Decoration by
Halina Siwolop 
Costume Design by
Youna Kwak 
Makeup Department
Dan Gates .... special makeup effects artist
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Andrew Coffing .... second second assistant director
Michael Melamed .... additional second second assistant director (as Michael R. Melamed)
Daniel R. Suhart .... second assistant director
Jack Ziga .... first assistant director
Art Department
Jared Fleury .... property master
Jennifer Fleury .... assistant property master
Dylan J. Hay-Chapman .... graphic designer (as Dylan J. Hay Chapman)
Dylan J. Hay-Chapman .... lead man (as Dylan J. Hay Chapman)
Carisa Rosenthal .... on-set dresser
Sound Department
Felix Andrew .... sound mixer
Duff Campbell .... boom operator
Donavan Dear .... boom operator
Frank Morrone .... sound re-recording mixer
Bruce Pross .... supervising sound editor
Steven Simons .... sound re-recording mixer
Special Effects by
Wayne Beauchamp .... special effects coordinator
Visual Effects by
Jennifer Basnyat .... visual effects
Cheryl Lawson .... stunts
Scott Leva .... stunt coordinator
Scott Rhodes .... stunts
Camera and Electrical Department
Bryan Delorenzo .... camera loader
Warren Feldman .... first assistant camera: "a" camera
Tim Hubbard .... camera operator
James M. Sterba .... first assistant camera: second unit
Ron Veto .... Steadicam operator
Editorial Department
Chris DeLaGuardia .... color timer
Valerie Lasser .... assistant editor (as Valerie Junge)
Patricia Sztaba .... negative cutter
Stan Sztaba .... negative cutter
Music Department
Keith Barrows .... musician
Howard Paar .... music supervisor
David Tobocman .... score mixer
Transportation Department
Jorge Velasquez .... transportation
Greagrey Waldrop .... transportation coordinator (as Greag Waldrop)
Aliza Washabaugh .... driver
Alberto Coto .... driver (uncredited)
Other crew
Marc Andreyko .... assistant production coordinator
Randy Buenaflor .... Assistant weapons handler
Pascal Goupil .... accountant
Scott Putman .... production coordinator
Mike Tristano .... weapons handler

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for language, some violence and sexuality
95 min
Color (Technicolor)
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Richard Paul's last film.See more »
[first lines]
Ted Demme:I think Morty is a visionary.
Roger Corman:I think Morty was and is an artist.
Ron Howard:He's an innovator.
Karen Black:Very persistent. And you have to love him for that.
Peter Bogdanovich:Morty would try things, and then 2 years later someone would copy it and win an Oscar for it.
Fred Williamson:This is the only man that I've ever worked with that I feel I can't take.
See more »
Movie Connections:
References Stuck on You! (1982)See more »


Chapter Headings, an unofficial version:
See more »
11 out of 12 people found the following review useful.
Bad cinema done with a smile, 4 December 2001
Author: ( from fairview, nj

THE INDEPENDENT (2001) ** Jerry Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Max Perlich (Cameos: Anne Meara, Ron Howard, Roger Corman, Peter Bogdanovich, John Lydon, Ben Stiller, Andy Dick, Fred Dryer, Jonathan Katz, Fred Williamson, Karen Black, Nick Cassavetes) (Dir: Stephen Kessler)

Jerry Stiller has made a fine career for himself as a top-notch character actor and the triumphs of his long-standing marriage with comedy partner Anne Meara. But perhaps it is the past decade particularly for his stint as the bellicose Frank Costanza, the brow-beating, bellowing paterfamilias of Jason Alexander's angry George on "Seinfeld" is what he'll be remembered for after all these years ago. Now he's the lead in this quasi-mockumentary a la "This Is Spinal Tap" meets "The Player" by way of "Ed Wood."

Morty Fineman (Stiller), a truly independent filmmaker of questionable taste and lack of skills and talent, is the focus of a documentary film crew shooting the downward spiral of his illustrious career of low, low budget exploitation films the likes of Roger Corman and John Waters but without the knowing wink at the audience. Fineman's downfall is his blind ambition as an artiste whose long-suffering daughter and wind beneath his winds Paloma (Garofalo) has to endure the latest brinks of bankruptcy that has his bank offering to buy out his filmography not for its artistic merit but literally by the pound of celluloid he's burned.

Along for the ride is his protégé and gopher Ivan (the gifted character actor Perlich) who desperately attempts a comeback for Morty by investigating every film festival to showcase his ouevre. Naturally not one is interested save for Chaparral, Nevada whose town's main point of business is prostitution. To add insult to injury Fineman winds up working his new offices of his trade outside a dingy motel.

Stiller acquits himself nicely as the clueless yet empassioned director of dreck whose specialty is message films of his own political bent via busty babes scantily clad with semi-automatic weaponary touted between their ample cleavage. What works for the film on the whole is the tongue-in-cheek sendup of the industry with its accurate depictions of what bad films look like from shoddy stock footage and badly acted scenes to its so-scary -they -seem -real take-offs of trailers to 1960s and 70s junk films. The use of real-life filmmakers like Howard and Bogdanovich tries to lend a hand to its wink-wink/nudge-nudge insider take/satire send-up by giving it an air of authenticity but by the last third the one-joke gimmick runs out of gas and feels flat.

For those who love awful movies and wonder who the heck makes this crap then they have a true hero in Morty Fineman, a man ahead of his times .whenever that was.

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Clever film? SORT OF SPOILER curtin_parloe
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