Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Plea From A Filmmaker

Sean J.S. Jourdan is the man behind The Beekeeper, a wonderful film you can read my review for here.  Below is an excerpt of an e-mail he sent me.  (And for the record, I do remember his film.)  Check out his website.  And if you want to help out, all the better.

I enjoy following you on Facebook and I'm always happy to find another fan of American Psycho.  You may not remember but awhile back you were kind enough to review a short film of mine, The Beekeeper.  More importantly, you did a short followup piece on my lead actress, Michelle Mueller.

Good News!  I'm getting my first feature film off the ground!

It’s an evocative and highly visual thriller titled Teddy Boy, along the lines of Roman Polanski's Knife in the Water or Haneke's Funny Games. In essence, a rising tennis star becomes entangled in a savage charade with a grieving middle-aged couple while staying in their picturesque Colorado mountain home. It’s about two people, lost in sea of grief and blame, who, when finally stranded on an island of their own creation, find one another.

Someone used the words "Colorado noir" to describe it - and they might be right.

We've started a Kickstarter campaign for the film and it is off to a great start.  If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter it’s the largest funding platform for the creative arts.  A donation to something you believe in, like Teddy Boy, allows us to give you a reward in return.

You can check out our campaign video here:

We have a limited amount of time to raise the money we need to complete the project and if we don’t raise the money within the allotted time we get nothing and you give nothing.  The deadline is April 16, 2012.   The pressure is on.  Right now, every bit helps.

Once again, any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. I know you are a busy person, so thank you in advance for checking out the film ( and please let me know if there’s any questions you have.

Have a great day.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Yet More Iconoclast Fallout

I expected as much.  No sooner did I write something about Larry Wessel's Boyd Rice documentary, Iconoclast (check out all of Wessel's stuff here) and the upset e-mail I got about my positive review of the film (and interview with the Wessel), when another e-mail found its way into my inbox.  You'd think I insulted the Pope.

"Doug, I consider you a pretty intelligent guy.  You like some weird stuff, but this is taking it too far."  That's how the e-mail starts.  It's all downhill from there.  I'm not going to reprint it all here, though it would make for some fascinating reading as everything from Boyd Rice's "Nazi phase" to his association with the Church of Satan to his "utter contempt of modern women" was covered with venom and (one would imagine) saliva.  "I've sat through reading about your contacts with GG Allin, the awful, hate-filled anti-humanity films you watch, and your repeated listenings to Death in June, but to give a documentary about Boyd Rice more publicity is the last thing the world needs.  I expected better from you."

Nothing like a little misguided indignity to start your evening off proper.  "Do you worship Boyd Rice now or something?  Or is this just you being shocking?  You can do better than that!  I've seen you do better than that!"  I hate to break it to her, but it's neither.  If she would watch the film she'd know that.

"I won't watch the movie.  I read the review you wrote, and I'll probably read the interview when it comes out, but I won't watch the movie.  I won't give these people any of my money.  It's bad enough you are probably causing people to want to watch it."  I sure hope so.

A good film is a good film no matter the subject.  For the record, I don't find Rice offensive, though I can understand why some people are bothered by him.  A film that can challenge your beliefs, no matter what they are, is a film I want to support.  Period.  What's the point of art you always agree with?  There is none.  Safe art is nothing more than entertainment disguised as ritualized masturbation.  It serves no purpose other than to make a certain group of people feel real good about themselves.  I'll take something that pushes buttons any day of the week over something I "agree" with.  Of course, this woman doesn't even know if this film will upset her because she refuses to view it.  I can understand that, actually.  I don't have to get shot in the face to know I wouldn't enjoy it.  That said, all of this was coming from someone who in that very e-mail claimed to be "open-minded" and "unafraid of viewpoints that are different from [her] own."  Really?  Regardless, that wasn't even the kicker.

"Maybe I should make a film about some Nazi who makes noise and calls it music?  Would you give that positive review?  Would you interview me in a national magazine?  Is that what it takes for a filmmaker to get recognized?"

Well, no.  What it takes, "friend," is to actually make a film.  Wessel did that.  It's getting critical praise from all sorts of people.  It's being shown at film festivals, and it's won awards.  Is it possible that is what really bothers you?  That there can be a good, insightful film made about a man you don't even know yet proudly proclaim to be a "monster"?  Does that ruin your worldview somewhat?  Here's something you didn't mention in your e-mail rant: Rice was friends with Tiny Tim.  Tiny Tim!  Does that not fit with the image you've painted for yourself?  He's enamored with Tiki culture, too.  Evil!  Oh, wait, I know!  Let's not forget that the guy you repeatedly call a Nazi worked at ... Taco Bell!  Jumpin' Jesus on the cross.  How's that for scary? 

For anyone else who wants to comment on yet another film I like that you haven't seen but still pisses you off -- don't bother ... unless you are going to do it here in a public forum.  Have some guts to let your views be known.  Unless, that is, you're afraid Rice is going to get you...


Oh man. When I first heard about Iconoclast, Larry Wessel's documentary on Boyd Rice, I knew I had to see it. I obtained a copy, watched it, reviewed it for Film Threat, and then did an interview with the director. The movie was as good as I expected. The director gave me a great interview, and the world of Boyd Rice fans can come away with something new, and detractors can perhaps have their views changed a bit. It's a long documentary, but if you are familiar with Rice's life, you realize that there is even more that could've been covered (something the director agreed with in my interview). Some people are a bit unhappy, however, that I have added to the "allure" of this film.

Yesterday, while editing the Wessel interview, an e-mail from an old friend arrived in my inbox. A small section was devoted to Rice and the film. "I am disappointed that you would give more attention to a man who is a self-proclaimed Nazi. I can understand reviewing the film and even liking it, but from what I've read, this is a Pro-Boyd Rice film. Interviewing the director is a bad idea to [sic]. What if this makes more people watch the film? What if that makes them start to follow Boyd Rice and his beliefs? Do you want to be responsible for that? I know you lost friends over your praise of "Amateur Porn Star Killer," and I can see the same thing happening here. Do you think Boyd Rice would like you? Do you think he would appreciate your appreciation of his film? Before you send your interview out you should ask yourself if these are the types of ideas you want to help promote."

Cue the contemplation music as I turn introspective and wonder if "these are the types of ideas" I want to "promote." Are they? Would Rice like me? What if this makes more people watch the film? Who cares?

I want to promote well-made, intelligent films. Iconoclast is both, and I do want more people to see it. It's also highly interesting. I don't care if Rice would like me or not. That's up to him. I don't have to agree with everything Rice has said, done or worn. When the interview with Wessel is published, the Nazi question does come up, and while I'm not sure I agree with Wessel on this, I believe the issue is more complicated than people think. Rice is a lot of things, but I don't think he is a "self-proclaimed" Nazi, and you'll see why if you watch the film. And that is the key.

To really judge this film, you have to see it. It's the same with any film, really, though I do believe you can make some judgments based purely on the genre and intent of a film without seeing it. To dismiss the film out of hand because you think you know Rice and what he stands for does a disservice to Wessel and yourself. When Rice explains his youth and various obsessions, you start to see where certain things come from, and then the lines start to get a bit blurry. By promoting this film I am not promoting mediocrity. I am not promoting Holocaust revisionist theory, either. (In fact, I think few do that better than those who, like Steven Spielberg, think they are keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive in the form of museums and films. Let the hate mail fly, but I can stand by that.) I am promoting a film that I find worthy of attention for the subject it covers and the ideas it brings forth. My promotion of Amateur Porn Star Killer did cost me a friendship or two. My positive review of the film and subsequent interviews caused me some grief, and some of the attention I helped the film gain caused the director some grief, too. I stand by my praise of the film, however, just as I stand by my praise of Wessel's feature. The fact that the general public wishes to remain ignorant in its judgment of it has zero bearing on how I feel about the movie or how I decide to get the word out. I appreciate my friend's concern, but it is misplaced. Watch the film and then come to me with your concerns.

Granted, this is not the movie for everyone.  The wide-eyed lobotomies won't like it.  Bored housewives looking for something edgy will find it too edgy.  Lonely goth kids into razors and a misunderstanding of Nietzsche will miss its finer points.  People playing at fascists will embrace all the wrong things and won't get the irony.  In other words: a lot of people aren't going to get this film at all.  And that's okay ... as long as they watch it before launching into an ill-conceived tirade against those who are willing to praise it.

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I received both films mentioned in this piece for review purposes.  Clicking on a link will not only enlighten and disturb, but may also earn me a commission.