They Can't All Be Swimf@n
Whenever the annual terrible “Every Breath You Take” mediocre creepy roommate/stalker film gets excreted on the unexpected masses like German porn, the names of the greats are heralded: Single White Female, and Fatal Attraction, and Taxi Driver. Well, of course. But what makes the trend more aggravating is that there have been plenty of recent independent films (in the last decade at least) that are far superior and have gotten little to know love. Are they at the same level as the Grand Prix of Lionel Richie “Hello”? Not necessarily, but they are pretty damn good nonetheless.
The Loved Ones (2009)
Brent (Xavier Samuel) just wanted to spend his prom night with his girlfriend. But Lola (Robin McLeavy), a loner obsessed with Brent, and her crazy father (John Brumpton) decide to kidnap Brent and torture him into loving Lola. Another gruesome entry from the Australia horror market. This was Sean Byrne’s first feature film. It delves into the realm of torture porn, with nail guns, syringes and buckets of blood, but it’s gleefully demented flick.
Mason (Joel Moore), a telemarketing loner, spends his lunch breaks doodling. His only friend is his shady boss Berkeley (a terrifically mean-spirited Zachary Levi). When a cute new girl (Amber Tamblyn) shows up at work and befriends him, she doesn’t realize what she’s gotten herself into. Joel Moore and Adam Green co-directed. And like most things Adam Green does, the ending is a little bit of a let down. But it bears excellent performances from the three leads.
One Hour Photo (2002)
Mark Romanek directs this utterly fucked-up glimpse into a psychotic photo developer’s mind. Robin Williams gives a stunning performance as the lonely and twisted maniac who obsesses over one small suburban family, who he begins to love in his in own sick way through their photographs. This got more love than most of the films on the list, but I think it hasn’t gotten nearly the sheer volumes of love it deserves. It’s one of those films that makes you feel dirty after you watch it.
Big Fan (2009)
Portly parking lot attendant Paul Aufiero (Patton Oswalt) is obsessed with the Giants. His life is empty and meaningless, the only joy he has in life is watching his Giants lose and plotting out rants on a local radio sports talk show. I was afraid that it would delve into the realm of The Fan, but it goes so much deeper and sadder and brilliant. It perfectly captures the sad dementia of football fans.
I Love Your Work (2005)
Most people remember Adam Goldberg for his role in Saving Private Ryan, but he’s actually proven himself to be a pretty wonderful writer-director. It’s a celebrity stalker film turned completely on its head. Grey Evans (Giovanni Ribisi) is a Hollywood star who has the beautiful wife and the successful career. But he becomes infatuated with a video store clerk (the late Joshua Jackson) and his small meager life. It goes some fascinatingly dark places.
Chuck & Buck (2000)
Miguel Arteta directs this phenomenally unnerving flick about two childhood friends who reconnect after years. Chuck (Chris Weitz) really wants to recapture the lost glory of their friendship, but Buck (Mike White) isn’t really feeling it. Which is sad enough, until Chuck starts stalking Buck and becoming insanely obsessed with him. It’s the psychological experience of watching someone tear off a moldy bandage on a festering wound.
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