Malos' Totally Serious Reviews: Fateful Findings
Recently, I went to see a movie. A movie called Fateful Findings, by Neil Breen. It is, without a doubt, the worst thing I have seen in my entire life. Mind you, I don’t limit that to films. I include in that statement my experiences seeing: someone uncontrollably vomiting in a car, a teacher undergoing a nervous breakdown, a drunken or possibly mentally ill homeless man wandering a park near children, the death of several pets, and a Jewish boy going berserk after repeatedly being called a Nazi.
I don’t think I can appropriately describe this film, because it is rumored that to do so is to become Neil Breen, and I have given instructions to my dog to shoot me if that happens. I have heard it argued by me that Fateful Findings is in fact not a movie, but a virulent retrovirus of the mind that slowly eats the victims sanity and causes them to become a vector for future infection. And who am I to interfere with the workings of nature?
HOW TO WATCH
I think it’s appropriate to point out that I did not watch this film under normal film-viewing conditions. I watched it on a midnight screening at the Nuart Theater in Los Angeles, a theatre infamous for its weekly showings of the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Everyone was there to see a terrible movie and make fun of it all the way through. People sang songs at inappropriate times, made wisecracks about the acting, and threw books at the screen. This is, as far as I can tell, the only way to watch the film, as its editors (Neil Breen and some other poor, unenviable soul) clearly couldn't. “Fateful Findings” is like Cthulhu: if you take it seriously, you’ll go mad.
Even in this atmosphere, the film has a tendency to drag on in parts, with the repetition of some shots straining the power of mockery. The film’s run-time is the same as that of Guardians of the Galaxy, and I can’t say that you won’t get more genuine humor out of that film than sardonic humor out of this one. Still, if you are a lover of terrible movies, or if you find yourself depressed with the state of modern blockbusters and want a piping-hot enema of perspective, watching it in this type of environment is the way to go.
After seeing the film, I was surprised to learn that most of the actors in Fateful Findings are actual actors with other IMDB credits to their name, rather than just friends of Neil Breen. I believe that this was the case for at least some of the actors, as no males appear in the official cast list despite appearing in the movie.
I can’t really hate on the acting in the film that much. It’s atrocious, but having worked on small film and theatre projects and directed both new and somewhat experienced actors, I can recognize that these people have been victim to terrible editing and minimal to no direction. Either can cripple an actor’s performance, and the combination on display here leaves the people on screen lost and devoid of humanity. I can empathize with their situation, as it is one I would not wish on the worst actor.
However my empathy does not extend to Neil Breen, who plays the main character of the film, because of course he does. Breen’s acting is the most wooden and empty of the film, and though his film is rife with competition, Breen takes that prize with ease. His pacing is terrible, his speech patterns are irregular, and he seems to have no emotions beyond semi-random anger. I have seen elementary school students with greater acting range than Neil Breen, and I feel confident saying that any one of them could write a better movie than he did. Which brings us to the next topic:
There is a strong argument to be made that this film doesn't have a plot. A plot implies some over-arching goal that drives the events of the story. Citizen Kane is about unravelling the story of Charles Foster Kane’s life in order to understand the meaning of his dying words. Star Wars: A New Hope is about a young man trying to save a princess and bring down an empire. Transformers is about Shia LeBouf trying to get a girlfriend. Fateful Findings can at best be called a series of vaguely connected sub-plots, and more appropriately called a bunch of stuff that happens to be on camera. As such…
STUFF THAT HAPPENS TO BE ON CAMERA
The primary story, such as there is one, surrounds Breen’s character Dylan hacking into government secrets while supposedly researching a new book, and reuniting with his childhood girlfriend.
These elements feature in the film’s trailer, but so little of the film is concerned with them that I have trouble calling them the film’s focus. Large parts of the film are devoted to the terrible relationship between Dylan’s friend and his wife, said friend’s daughter being attracted to Dylan, his girlfriend’s addiction to Tylenol, and Dylan’s paranormal abilities, which manifest primarily as him being able to walk through walls using the power of unconvincing fade effects. But the love story and the hacking stuff feature at the beginning and the end, so I guess they’re the main arc.
There are various directorial, production, and editing decisions evident in the film that don’t fit neatly into any one category, but make up the bulk of why this film can be called entertaining. We’re just going to group them all under this banner.
For starters, no one in this film wears a bra. This may not seem like a big deal, but it gets very noticeable in many scenes throughout the film. Don’t worry though, despite multiple “sex scenes,” the only T&A the audience experiences is Neil Breen’s, with the disgusting nudity of women carefully cropped out of the shot.
On a related note, Neil Breen is a little too comfortable with his body. Beyond the gratuitous shots of his naked rear during his escape from the hospital after his car accident and the loving shots of his deflated chest in the sex scenes with his very clearly much younger co-stars, during the frequent interludes where Breen is transported to the room entirely covered in black trash bags, he is completely naked, the camera panning across his sun-damaged back.
Oh yeah, the trash bag room. Throughout the film, Breen finds himself in a room covered ceiling to floor in black trash bags, always naked, occasionally with a woman who is also naked. The room raises several questions: What is this room? Why does he go there? Is it supposed to be obvious that it’s covered in trash bags or is it supposed to look like some kind of void? Is that woman supposed to be but is obviously not one of the main actresses, or should we not know who she is? Are you sure I'm not just on the shittiest drugs imaginable? None of these questions, and more, are ever answered.
Also never explained, why various things can teleport. Throughout the film, various objects and people display the ability to teleport, including Neil Breen, someone that may or may not be Neil Breen as a ghost, the gem from the mushroom bag (don't ask), a giant book with a tassel, and what can only be described as a trio of ghost terrorists.
There’s much more that can be dug into. The fact that people are constantly wearing the same clothes, repeated audio, disappearing-reappearing accents, ancient technology, the now infamous “No More Books!”, an almost religious devotion to non-panning tripod shots, and mirrors and paintings becoming so sick of the film that they attempt to jump off of the walls to escape it. But to really experience weight of the disaster that is Fateful Findings, you simply have to see it for yourself.
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