Drawing Flies (1996) Poster


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Drawing Flies: The 'lost' View Askew Movie
Kelv-127 April 2002
If you've never heard of 'Drawing Flies', i don't blame you. If you aren't a fan of Kevin Smith, i don't know how you even got ahold of this review. But, anyways, let's focus on the movie. Very interesting indeed. When Kevin Smith was making 'Mallrats' in 1995, two friends, Malcolm Ingram and Matt Gissing, recruited cast members for their own little movie. From the Mallrats cast members, they managed to catch Jason Lee, Jason Mewes, Carmen Lee, Renne Humphrey, Ethan Suplee, Joey Lauren Adams, Scott Mosier and Kevin Smith himself. They managed to make this film which dissapeared pretty quickly. It never got a theatrical release and was only shown at small film festivals including Kevin Smith's own View Askew-fest 'Vulgarthon '98' and 'Vulgarthon 2000', festivals which feature films made by him and friends. Since then, it has became interest of all View Askew fans(Including me) who constantly bug Malcolm Ingram about it on Kevin's View Askew WWWBoard. One of the main reasons it was of interest to VA fans was because Kevin appeared as 'Silent Bob', a character he made famous in films like 'Clerks', 'Dogma' and most recently, 'Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back'. On February 26th, it finally got its release on DVD along with a whole bunch of well-deserved extra features. After reading many reviews, it is, as Malcolm says in the commentary, 90 and 10. 90 percent of people don't like it and 10 percent do. I believe that i'm in the 10 percent of the people. The first time i saw it, i wasn't really sure what to think about it but the second time i saw it, i loved it. It's a really good film. The plot follows Donner(Jason Lee), Jake(Martin Brooks), Az(Jason Mewes), Meg(Rennee Humphrey) and Cassidy(Carmen Lee) who all live off welfare in Canada but one fateful day, they are cut off of welfare and have to find a way to survive. Donner suggests to go to his uncle's cabin in the middle of the woods. But what his friends don't know is the fact that he is going crazy and is actually looking for the legendary Bigfoot. Needless to say, chaos ensues as Donner gets more and more crazy. I really thought the comedy was funny, the drama was moving and the film overall was the kind of film Hollywood should be making but if Hollywood did, they would probably butcher it up. I highly recommend seeing 'Drawing Flies', it's the kind of movie that only comes around once in a century(Yes, you heard me. A century!).

9 1/2 out of 10
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A Must-See For All View Askew Fans
Thonolan328 June 2002
Judged on it's own merits, it's a decent movie. When considered as part of the View Askew universe, it is a whole lot of fun. The basic plot is quite clever, Jason Lee's performance is excellent, and its a lot of fun to see most of the Mallrats cast reunited for this film. Its a very talky movie, but is never boring.

Of course, this film has it's share of problems, too. Poor sound, the fact that large sections of the movie seem to be missing ( it is somewhat disjointed and has a running time of less than a hour), plus an ending that I didn't particularly like.

If you're not a fan of View Askew, then there is no real reason to watch this movie. If you are a fan, then by all means buy the DVD. After one initial viewing, be sure to watch it again with the cast commentary.

I gave this movie 7 stars.
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great film
kyle_furr11 February 2004
I can't see why that there are a lot of negative reviews for this film, it's very funny. It might not be as good as the one's directed by Kevin Smith, but so what. The plot is basically Jason Lee taking several friends out in the woods to go to his uncle's cabin, but his friends find out that there is no cabin after all. Jason Lee and the rest do a good job and you can see Kevin Smith in a cameo in the scene at the party.
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approach with caution.....
thirwell20 April 2002
For those of you expecting a great Kevin Smith comedy, this is not it. This is basically a very good student film. The pace of this film is really uneven and the non-Jason Lee characters needed a little more depth. The sound and picture quality is a bit low - the audio almost drops out a couple times.

the good news: if you're a fan of Jason Lee you'll enjoy this one. He pulls an "Atlas" and carries the entire film. There is also some suprisingly good cinematography. I was suprised to see that 90% of the cast of Mallrats is in it.

bottom line: rent first, buy later.
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Good, but not Great.
Teffers31 March 2004
I finally tracked down a copy of Drawing Flies on DVD - O.K., I had to go on holiday to Canada, but I got it, and that's the main thing! To be honest, I wasn't expecting much, as pretty much all I knew about the film apart from the View Askew connection was that it was very low budget, and in black & white. However, it's got a very `Clerks` style of script (no bad thing), and some sharp and witty lines. Unfortunately, to me, the script seems just a little underdeveloped. Not bad, just, not quite fully rounded. But hey it's low budget, and fun ... perhaps I'm being overcritical. The cameos are fun to spot - mostly under assumed names, too - and the cast seem to be having a whale of a time. One thought - wonder if the makers of The Blair Witch Project ever saw this film? Black and white / Lost in the woods / mysterious monster lurking / injuries / fallings out ....... Hmmmmmmm
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Takes me back...
poe42619 May 2002
One of the things I enjoyed most when I began to seriously study films was finding (at art houses, for the most part, or at screenings on college campuses) the early efforts of neophyte filmmakers. DRAWING FLIES reminds me of the feeling of satisfaction one gets after a long, arduous search when one comes away from a new discovery feeling that the running time was time well spent. At no point in the proceedings was I bored. There may be some unevenness (mostly of a technical nature, which is the bane of all no-budget productions), but this is excellent low budget filmmaking; take it from someone who's been there and done that. Would make a good double-bill with Onur Tukel's black and white first film, HOUSE OF PANCAKES.
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Tedious and meandering journey to nowhere... nowhere interesting anyway.
Softy-22 March 2002
I suppose one could describe any bad or inept movie as surreal. In many cases you could even build up a solid case.

Here's a start for "Plan 9 From Outer Space" - In dreams the surrounding don't look or feel real. The people talk in strange tones and rhythms that have little resemblance to how people speak. Random images appear and become juxtaposed for no particular reason with other images. Entire scenarios appear out of nowhere and lead to nothing.

The things I said there all could be put to that thesis. All those things are true of both "Plan 9 From Outer Space" and the human dream cycle. Given the time, energy and desire, I could expand that theory into a full blown essay and probably even draw some deep symbolism out of the whole thing.

Does that mean I should start putting my Ed Wood DVDs next to my Luis Buñuel DVDs on the shelf?

I don't think so.

"Drawing Flies" is many things. Genuinely surreal, in any meaningful sense of the word, isn't one of them.

It is confused. It is tedious to sit through.

It's painful to watch the actors put in such a good show with so little material to back them up. Poor Jason Mewes has a part as a pretty non-"Jay" regular guy in this, and does a respectable job with it, all for naught, though, as his character does nothing of note through this piecemeal throwaway.

The cinematography is bland, but could be forgiven considering the budget and inexperience of the directors. Nothing can be said to forgive that editing, though. A monkey with a rusty camping knife and some rubber cement could have done a better job of editing.

As to the story, it switches between misguided sub-soap opera melodrama based around character relationships it never bothers to make clear enough to create empathy for and rather lame attempts to mimic Kevin Smith's humor style. Neither works on its own or as a companion to the other, leaving the movie flailing in the wind with nothing to do.

I wish everyone involved the best, I'm sure they're all groovy cats. I know the cast is. I just don't see any merit to this movie as a work of its own at all. Sloppy.
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indiefilmpage6 February 2001
This is one truly awful film. Poorly shot acted and written. I'd rather be hung upside down and beaten across the feet, then to have to endure this mess again.
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WrathChld24 July 2002
I would have to agree with allot of the comments I read on this movie. The sound is a big part of why people may not like it. Although, I must say I was expecting the worst ... so when I saw it the sound actually didn't bother me. You can totally tell the points in the movie where the sound is really bad. Just keep in mind, that this is an independent film and with that I don't think you will be disappointed. I have been a big fan of the Kevin Smith movies. I have all of them on Dvd and decided to see what other movies he was connected to. When I saw "Drawing Flies", I noticed it was PACKED with many of the actors that make up Smith movies. Even smith (himself) makes a debut in this movie. I would have to say if you are a Kevin Smith fan (even though this is NOT a Kevin smith movie) you will enjoy it. Probably because you see many familiar faces. If you are not interested in a low budget Kevin smith type movie, then I suggest you take a pass. I bought this movie through amazon before I watched it. I kind of got nervous when I read the reviews, thinking I wasted my money. I just finished watching it and would have to say it was not a waste. I look forward to seeing the director's cut and sharing this with other K.S. fans. I would recommend adding this to your dvd collection, or at least renting it.
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Good but surreal film!
sandspider122 February 2002
I recently seen this film on DVD and couldn't because I am a big fan of viewaskew productions. On first viewing it I couldn't decide what to make of it. First I enjoyed but was not sure about something about it. Second viewing though I enjoyed immensley. I have always been a fan of Jason Lee ever since Mallrats but in this he is superb. Anyone who is a fan of Kevin Smith and Viewaskew, I urge you to see this.
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Good for that budget
Smoreni Zmaj16 May 2017
During Mallrats shooting, two friends of Kevin Smith, Malcolm Ingram and Matt Gissing, recruited Mallrats' cast for their own project. This is extremely low-budget black and white movie, in which, at least as cameo, appear almost whole cast of Mallrats. IMDb says it is comedy, but it's crap. This has almost nothing to do with comedy. It is drama/adventure, with pretty good story, and Jason Lee carries it beautifully. The rest of the crew is good too, but their characters are not so well developed. Technically, movie is pretty bad, with unbalanced sound that almost disappears few times, and all together it leaves overall impression of amateur movie, or maybe homework of first year film student. But there are some great shots too. For some reason, most of rips on internet have first 15 minutes missing, but full 76 minutes version can easily be found to watch online. And do not even try to search for subtitles in any language. I warmly recommend using headphones to be able to understand all the lines. If you are not View Askew fan you should probably skip this, but if you like Kevin Smith movies, you are fan of Clerks or even Blair Witch Project, I think you'll find it worthy of your time.

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The Lost View Askew Film?
Warning: Spoilers
Posted from myspace.com/lyonsfreelance.com

An obsessed fan of Star Trek may be called a Trekkie. I call myself an Askewie: an obsessed fan of View Askew. There are now many films produced under View Askew, but the ones truly deserving to be obsessed by an Askewie are the ones in theView Askew Universe: Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back, and Clerks II (It is permittable, however, to enjoy other movies by the View Askew God, Kevin Smith, such as Jersey Girl and Zack and Miri Make A Porno) But what about their red-headed step-sibling? What about that rare lost View Askew film, Drawing Flies? What about it?

Drawing Flies may be arguably part of the aforementioned series with many names:Askewniverse,New Jersey Trilogy, the Clerks films, etc. Although it is not written and directed by Kevin Smith, in which the others are, but by Malcolm Ingram, who did the less-known View Askew produced film, Small Town Gay Bar. Kevin Smith is, however, the producer, along with his partner, Scott Mosier (no, not that kind of partner, you sicko, that partner is Jen Schwalbach). The arguable points in favor are one: most of the cast are from other Clerks films (as Kev seems to enjoy recycling actors); and two: Askewniverse characters are employed in this film (as Kev seems to enjoy recycling characters).

The said cast are Jason Lee, Jason Mewes, Joey Lauren Adams (credited as Lauren Lyle), Renee Humphrey (Tricia Jones from Mallrats), and Carmen Llywelyn (Kim, Alyssa Jones's girlfriend in Chasing Amy; and the model of the poster in which Silent Bob crashes through and into the dressing room to reveal, again, Joey Lauren Adams, in Mallrats) (credited as her married name at the time to co-star, Jason Lee). The said characters are Silent Bob and William Black, portrayed respectively by their original actors, Kevin Smith and Ethan Suplee. The said are also credited as their character names ("Silent Bob as himself" and "Ethan as William Black").

The story follows roommates, Lee, Lee, Mewes, Humphrey, and no-namer Martin Brooks, into the British Columbian woods for a camping/hiking trip after refused from their Welfare checks. Throughout their joint-and-vodka-fueled adventures, they stumble across a diaper clad gang led by Scott Mosier.

Only later do they realize that they were used for a "delusional" mission of Jason Lee's character, Donner, to discover Sasquatch. After learning of Donner's ploy, wounded Az (Mewes) and Cassidy (Mrs. Lee) leave the rest of the gang to return to ....Vancouver...., while Meg (Humphrey) and Jake (Brooks) attempt to nurse Donner back to sanity. Meg and Jake fail however as Donner plunges to lows of rubbing himself in "sasquatch" feces and even eating it! The acting can be said to have been lost if wasn't for Mr. Lee's "Atlas" role of carrying the film on his shoulders, according to a reviewer on IMDb.com. Also, the quality is very low in the looks and sounds department. Clerks was also in black and white but did not look as shitty as this. In addition, I had a difficult time trying to classify the genre between my choices of comedy and drama, no clear signs were shown. Again, I'm going to have to recommend that you reserve some time from your busy movie-viewing life for Drawing Flies, the possible lost View Askew film.

To read more reviews or other forms of writing from me, check out my aforementioned site.
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I Personally Thought that it was Good.
tonymurphylee6 August 2007
*** out of **** I really enjoyed this neat little Canadian Gem. It was funny, interesting, realistic, creepy, and original. I've seen it four times now, and it is just as good as when i saw it the first.

A group of slackers have no money and are on the verge of actually getting a job when one of them, Donner(Jason Lee), wants to go to his uncle's cabin in the woods with them. What they don't realize is that Donner is going insane and really just wants to look for Sasquach. They're too stoned to realize this though and proceed with him into the woods.

The best thing about this film is definitely Jason Lee's performance. He gives so much depth and personality that could have otherwise been disposable. The rest of the characters are pretty much spot on. They are mostly likable, especially Renee Humphrey's character. The only one who doesn't quite work is Jason Mewes, although he is still funny as usual. In fact, the only real reason why his character doesn't work is because he practically plays the same person as he usually does. But he's good at it, so it doesn't really matter. Carmen Lee gives the film a nice dose of sanity while Martin Brooks does his thing.

I love the rough feel of the film and i like how deadpan it is. It is perfectly enjoyable. Maybe not life changing, but still pretty cool. Check it out, if you can find it!!! I showed it to my little sister and she loved it!!!
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Great Independent film!
Manda27 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Pure, low budget, real independent films are some how rarely scene and never acknowledged, but when one does see one they are blown away, or at least I was. Drawing Flies is one of those films that shows you what film is all about...Just having fun. The movie may not be perfect and have all the right things done to it, but that is what helps make it great. The story line is hilarious, starting out very down to earth with a bunch of people living on welfare and then going into some insane story about a man searching for 'big foot'. Pure genius to me...And all the actors that did this film did it just right, they weren't perfect but it was just great to watch them. The films simple settings and atmosphere give it a look that is rarely seen in movies today. I am a huge fan of independent films and this one clearly defines my definition of 'real' independence. Overall, I recommend this film to anyone who wants a good laugh and to see what a low budget, independent film really looks like. Most people say to see it because Kevin Smith produced it and all that, but that isn't the only reason one should see it. Overall this movie deserves a 10 out of 10. Go see it.
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From a Jason Lee Fan
phoskins24 February 2004
As a disclaimer, I am a HUGE fan of Jason Lee but I have not liked everything he's done (A Guy Thing -- Wha?!?). "Drawing Flies" is a typical slacker film. Definitely has the Indie feel and look to it. The acting is not very good but gets better later in the film. However, Jason Lee is GREAT in this film. He's funny but not over the top. He even has some dramatic moments that show he can act. Not a great film but definitely a must see for Jason Lee fans! 7 out of 10.
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Kevin Smith gives his friend a camera and a lot of average ness takes place
mox12323 February 2004
Drawing Flies was made on a low budget. A REALLY low budget. So considering that, its a decent effort. However, it is suppose to be a comedy and you really wont laugh many times during its runtime, be it because of the soundtrack, which is quite hard to hear in some scenes, or the patchy script that wants to be a Kevin Smith movie but doesn't really cut it, or some of the actors poor delivery. It also doesn't help that the film occasionally tries to be funny in a surreal way but really lacks the kind of intelligence and wit to pull off some of the more obscure scenes.

There are only 2 real reasons to view this movie. One is if you're a view askew fan and want to see another movie featuring a lot of players from Smith's directorial projects are like when he's not behind the camera, as many of them are present here. The other is Jason Lee. Lee delivers in this movie, just like he always does. delivering his dialogue to perfection, even if I do feel that the way he chose to play his character wasn't quite the right decision because you sometimes find it hard to like him when it seems like you should. He is still the most enjoyable aspect here by far.

There's actually a scene towards the end of the film's pretty brief 70 odd minute life span where one character reads another's palm. We are told that the straighter a certain line on your hand is, the easier it is to achieve a great career. We can definitely assume then that Lee has a very wonky line on his palm, as it seems whenever he's in a good film he's usually underused or, like in Drawing Flies, he's stuck as the only truly great thing amidst a whole lot of average-ness.
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Mr. Pink21 July 2003
In this movie he didn't, surprisingly he was the best of the group in this one. But the one we once called Brodie or even Banky could not save this one. It was not that the film was low budget just that it was not good. I was not expecting a Kevin Smith movie, just only one i could find entertaining, but was horribly let down. This movie has blemished the name of view askew. After seeing this movie i would like 76 minutes of my life back which i could spend frolicking in the street and still have a better time then having to watch this movie ever again. The only satisfaction in the whole movie was the end as it symbolized i would not have to watch a minute more of this scum and would be able to judge it for what it is. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
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In defense of 'Drawing Flies'
Tarantino_Smith22 March 2003
I would like to set a few things straight.

Those of you who said you were expecting a great Kevin Smith Comedy,but instead were disappointed: You got what you deserved. It wasn't a Kevin Smith Film, it was a View Askew film. Made by film makers who do not share the exact same flow or style, if you will, with Kevin Smith. I thought the movie was great. If you didn't view this movie with an open mind, or the only reason you saw it was to compare it to the rest of the View Askew films, too bad for you. The movie didn't let you down, you let yourself down. The movie delivered just what it advertised, a film, a film submitted for your entertainment. I understand that every movie isn't for everyone, but a movie can't entertain you if you don't give it a chance.
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I can't believe Kevin supported this film
esobond00713 October 2002
When DRAWING FLIES came out on DVD, I hadn't seen it yet and figured since I am a huge Askewniverse fan, I would enjoy this film as much as the others. Damn, was I wrong. This film was very disappointing, even for what it was: a low-budget, black and white indie film with a decent cast, a bad script, and no point. So know I own a movie which I think sucked, but then again I can watch it for LEE, MEWES, and SMITH.
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This Movie Rules
tarrantino_fan19 September 2002
This movie is funny as hell. Jason Lee is the man. This movie is funny, dramatic, and at times unusual. I really like it and wish it had gotten bigger. Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier both appear in the film. Jason Lee, Carmen Lee and Jason Mewes all give awesome performances as a bunch of burnouts.
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slimjim6910 June 2002
I rented Drawing Flies because I have always been a View Askew fan. I LOVE IT!!!! The writing and the acting are excellent. There are a few things I don't like. The camera handling, it isn't always center and it keeps moving around, but it is a indie film. That it's black and white, It would of been better if it was in color, but again it is a indie film. Then, it is only a hour and 16 min. If it was longer it would better but maybe a little boring. And the name Drawing Flies isn't really a big thing of the movie. But all good movies has faults. I would recommend it for all View Askew fans.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars!
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I wish it was in color.
KeepDreamin22211 March 2002
I was cruizing through Amazon.com and came across this movie, saw it was a View Askew Production and ordered it ASAP. I thought the movie was a little sluggish but the most remarkable thing about it was Jason Lee's performance. It was truly genuine and real. I understand that the other actors have had little experience before but out of all of the supporting cast, the football jock dude was great in his role. I hope to see what these guys produce next and I hope it's in color. It would've been great to see those landscapes in color.
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Elijya4 May 2002
I waited a long time to see this movie, and I was very dissappointed in it. Not at all what I'd expect from ViewAskew. I was never expecting it to be more irreverent, Kevin Smith-like rants. I knew it would be a serious movie. But, in the end, the points that it tries to get across are lost. A few notable perormances (Lee), and some slightly amusing bits. Not really even worth a rental.
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Surreal to say the least
Adam Appel27 January 2001
I actually saw this during a View Askew film fest in Red Bank, NJ hosted by one of the producers, Kevin Smith. This movie had absolutely no idea where it wanted to go. It was an independent film, one of the first few by the View Askew studio. It was directed by two directors at once. They didn't collaborate on what exactly they were going to do. It wound up being a very funny and surreal film. I actually really enjoyed it. Hopefully it might one day get released on DVD. Let's hope if these guys collaborate again they watch the others dailies though.
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Not Bad
SCSTony61321 August 2002
I myself like all of View Askew movie but this one wasn't as great as i thought it would be.Jason Lee isnt as funny as he usually is.Im not saying that this movie is horrible and most definitely think that everyone should see this movie.It still is a funny movie but not as great as Mallrats and the other movies.
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