I get this question all the time, why do you love ‘those’ movie so much? By those movies, most people mean movies that don’t get the respect of the mainstream media, movies that most critics would never see, let alone review. In other words, small, low budget, independent movies. Well, I have to admit, I’ve loved these kinds of movies forever, and, as I get older, I love them even more. Let me tell you why.
What indie movies have that most big budget features lack, is heart. Yes, it’s mostly that simple, heart. You see, if you’ve ever met an indie film-maker, you know, there’s no one more passionate about what they do. In fact, if you talk to one too long, you can find yourself liking a movie that you hated just minutes before, the love is that infectious. It seems to me that the Speilbergs, the Lucas’ and the Eastwoods of today, were yesterday’s indie film-makers who have just lost their passion as they’ve gotten bigger and bigger, some of them have forgotten what the audience even wants to see. The bottom line is that, if I’m looking to watch a movie, I’d much rather watch a low budget movie that’s full of life and that you can tell has the passion of everyone involved, then to watch the latest crap starring Tom Cruise!
Now, I know what you’re thinking, there must be more to it that that! Well, you’re right, there’s a lot more to it than that, when was the last time you saw a ‘big budget’ movie that was original and creative? Well, between remakes, Japanese remakes and TV shows that most young people can’t remember, there’s not much coming out of Hollywood that you might call original. If you dive into the shallow end of the indie bin you might think it’s the same thing, endless zombies shuffling through endless backyards, but scratch the surface of the indie movies and you’ll find some of the most original ideas out there. In the past year alone, I’ve seen movies about a mountain man who kills to protect his property, I’ve seen movies about erectile disfunction (yes, and it was great!), I’ve seen period pieces that would match any blockbuster in quality and, yes, I’ve seen zombies both good and bad. The idea that all the great movies come out of the Hollywood system is dying, if not already dead. Great ideas are coming from Indiana, Wisconsin, Virginia and endless other places. With the technology now available to anyone anwhere with a computer, some of the indie movies out there look just as good (if not better) than some of the movie Hollywood trots out for us.
And finally, the reason I love these movie so much is that they’re just a ton of fun. It seems to me that most of the Hollywood movies that are being pushed at us, are there to make money and that’s it. They don’t really care if you like the movie, or even if the movie is good, they just want you to pay on the opening weekend to see whatever piece of crap they trot out there. Hollywood has no respect for the movie-goer, and if you think I’m wrong, check out Cloverfield, a movie that proves that Hollywood thinks that you’ll sit through anything! Indie movies are out there for a reason, someone actually put time and love into every second. When you pick up a indie DVD, you’re not just picking up a movie, you’re picking up a piece of someone’s soul, and, while that might sound trite, it’s absolutely true! You’ll never see a big filmmaker taking his film around the country just to have it seen by audiences, I’ve met indie film-makers who have done just that, taken every bit of their extra time and money and traveled the country to festivals and conventions just to have the chance to show their movie to any size audience that’s willing to come. To me, that’s the sign of someone who’s passionate about their work, they’re willing to take all their time and effort just to hear what you think…good or bad. And it’s not just the young people out there, I’ve met indie film-makers of all ages, both younger than me and older than me, people with no experience in the industry and people who have worked in the industry for years and have never had their vision achieved. If you have the chance to go to an indie film festival, go there! You’ll never meet a group of people who are nicer, more willing to chat about movies and more than willing to listen to anything you say, good or bad. I’m sure that if you told Tom Cruise that you didn’t like his latest cow-flop, he wouldn’t care as long as the check cleared!
So, the next time you’re perusing the shelves of your local video store, looking for something different, check out something that doesn’t have a big name attached, something that might not have a multi-million dollar budget, you might just find something that’s better than anything you’ve ever seen. And, if on that first foray into indie movie, you get something that’s not a good as you might have thought, don’t be discouraged, keep at it, there’s something out there for everyone, it’s just a matter of how willing you are to look for it. If you keep looking, pretty soon you’ll find yourself hooked, trust me, as a life long addict, indie movies will get under your skin and stay there…if you’re lucky!