Welcome to Indie Scene, everyone. I’m you host TonyD, still. This week was supposed to be the big “Spring Cleanup” edition, but there was a problem – I never had time to clean anything up. So we’re saving that for next week. This week, I’m going to write about a few other things that I’ve seen. I don’t know how often I get people asking me if I seen a certain movie, and when I say yes, and they ask my opinion, I give it to them straightforward. Hell, I’ve given my opinion so much on a certain movie released this year that I hated that people have dubbed me with no taste. But it turns out that whenever I recognize titles that I love, it seems like no one knows what in the hell I’m talking about. The three films I’ll be talking about aren’t all necessarily Indie, but they are very small films that didn’t make as much money as they should have. You may have heard of them and might have even watched them. Or maybe, you haven’t even heard of them. I’m here to give you a look at three flicks that I love that I could swear that you MUST watch. If you haven’t, what the hell are you waiting for?
“Green Street Hooligans”
**** out of ****
Director: Lexi Alexander
Cast: Elijah Wood, Charlie Hunnam, Claire Forlani
There is a scene towards the end of a film called “Green Street Hooligans” where it has come to the final battle. Elijah Wood runs through the streets of England to meet up with a gang of football (soccer) hooligans while Terence Jay’s “One Blood” plays in the background. These guys operate the GSE, or the Green Street Elite, a bunch of followers from the West Ham United. They are to battle it at with their rivals, Millwill. It takes them time for Elijah to understand what standing his ground means, but by the end of the film, he and the audience are completely aware of the meaning. I caught “Green Street Hooligans” a few days before it was released on DVD in June of 2006. The film, directed by Lexi Alexander, is nearly perfect. I put this at number two on my top 2006, (back then, when I did my top films, I included films as they were released on DVD) and don’t regret a thing. I haven’t seen this in quite some time, which I really need to do (but still have about ninety movies sitting around in my house). It’s fan-fucking-tastic. If you haven’t seen it yet, I don’t know what the hell you are waiting for because it has been out longer than I could count.
“Hooligans” tells the tale of Matt Bruckner, (Elijah Wood) a Harvard student that was just expelled for supposedly selling drugs. He goes to England for a bit to spend time with his sister Shannon (Claire Forlani) and her husband Steve. (Marc Warren) Steve introduces Mark to his brother Pete, (Charlie Dunham) a man who is in the Green Street Elite. They are (like I said earlier) a bunch of West Ham United followers who occasionally get into fights with other firms. When one firm won’t back down, it’s time for these guys over at the GSE to stand their ground, to not run away, and to never give up.“Green Street Hooligans” would be considered a tale that I would find despicable, but it turns out that I actually really like it. The fight scenes are brilliantly choreographed, and the soundtrack is brilliant. I can’t begin to tell you how much heart this film has. If there was a problem with this film it would be that it is too short. I could spend all of my time watching these guys go from town to town kicking people’s ass. The film is a fantastic flick that you can’t get just anywhere. Director Lexi Alexander will be bringing back her talents to the new “Punisher 2” flick. If that is even half as good as “Hooligans” was, I’ll shit.
“Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang”
**** out of ****
Director: Shane Black
Cast: Robert Downey, Jr., Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan
Around the same time that I watched “Green Street Hooligans,” I rented a film called “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang.” Honestly I knew nothing about the film before I saw it. I didn’t know who Shane Black was (which turned out to be the guy that wrote the “Lethal Weapon” movies), neither did I know of Robert Downey, Jr. (the guy who is now known by everyone as Tony Stark), Val Kilmer (the guy from “Heat”), and Michelle Monaghan (the movie that some are putting me through hell just to watch). The first time I watched this flick, I didn’t get much from it. It was confusing in a few parts and the plot seemed to be going everywhere. But after the first watch, I decided to give it a second, third, and fourth watch. I started to love the film more and more after each watch. “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” became slightly less confusing since then. The flick is still funny after watching it for the umpteenth time. There is no excuse if you haven’t seen this film. It’s on Cinemax sometime every week.
Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey, Jr.) is a petty thief, who, while running from the cops, ends up getting a role as a private detective in this movie. Without knowing he is just being used so Colin Farrell will get less money, private detective Gay Perry (Val Kilmer) takes him under his wing to show Harry the ins and outs of being a private detective. Perry and Harry investigate for Harry’s childhood crush, (Michelle Monaghan) who’s sister was recently killed. “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” is hilarious. It is filled with many one-liners that you will LOVE. This is one of the rare films that use pop-culture events that are actually funny. References to Colin Farrell, Britney Spears, Drew Barrymore, “Lord of the Rings,” and other big Hollywood personas flow through the film. This was my first introduction to Robert Downey, Jr., who plays one of the funniest roles of his career. “Iron Man” may show a more mainstream side of his, but “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” shows his real talent. It’s a shame that this movie didn’t get more attention during its theatrical release, because “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” is a knockout.
**** out of ****
Director: James Westby
Cast: Melik Malkasian, Tyler Gannon, Matt Morris
“Film Geek” was a film I looked forward to long before I saw it. Just by the title, it is realized that I am just the perfect audience for the film. Here, our hero’s name is Scotty Pelk. (Melik Malkasian) He has nothing to look forward to his life but film, his job at the video-store, jerking-off in the mirror to his hot neighbor, and his website ScottysFilmPage.com, which garnered zero hits. (If you type that into your address bar, you will come to the film’s site.) After he gets fired for “annoying the customers,” he has nothing left of him. He meets a girl reading a David Cronenberg book, (Tyler Gannon) and is determined to win her over, while trying to find a job that will replace his old job at the video-store and getting some hits on his site.
“Film Geek” is one of the best single-serving indie films that I have ever seen, maybe even the best one. It’s funny, which isn’t surprising. The character of Scotty played by Melik Malkasian is literally perfect as an actual film geek. He’s perfect as a geek in general. In one of the many great scenes in “Film Geek,” he shows off his encyclopedic knowledge of film by listing films that have the word “heaven” in it. It’s like he is a real movie database. James Westby does a great job behind the camera, also. The last third of the movie is where everything takes a sudden turn. It’s like being stuck in a David Cronenberg flick. “Film Geek” is a real entertaining gem. I don’t see anyone else making a film like this, do you?
That is it for Indie Scene this week. Yes, next week will be Spring Cleanup, but after that, Indie Scene will be taking a break for three weeks in preparation for summer jobs and a lot more stuff for FilmArcade.net. Have a great week and stay classy.