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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Independent
The Independent
Arrow Features // Unrated // September 30, 2003
List Price: $24.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Shannon Nutt | posted August 23, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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THE MOVIE

The Independent is one of those movies that I had never heard of before, had no idea what to expect, and wasn't particularly looking forward to watching – which just goes to show that a film doesn't have to be "big" to be good. This little gem of a movie proved to be one of the more enjoyable surprises I've found in my DVD player this year, and I would like to especially recommend it to those who visit DVD Talk frequently.

Why do I recommend it more highly to regular DVD Talk readers as opposed to the masses out there who may surf by to read a review or two? Because I feel safe in saying that the regular visitors of this site have a real love of film, and this movie is made for those fans – most notably the fans who can't get enough of those old cheesy movies that showed up on Mystery Science Theater 3000 every week.

The Independent is a comedy – shot on video and much of it in a documentary style- that tells the story of fictional filmmaker Morty Fineman (Jerry Stiller), the director of such epic classics as "The Foxy Chocolate Robot", "12 Angry Men & A Baby" and "Whale of a Cop". Not only does The Independent tell the story of Morty's attempt to escape bankruptcy and get financing for his next big picture (he wants to do a film about a real-life serial killer who has murdered over sixty people), but we also get to see clips from all of his famous films – which prove to be the most humorous parts of the movie.

Also quite funny are cameo appearances by a number of real-life Hollywood directors including Ron Howard, Peter Bogdanovich and Roger Corman (who, in fact, may be the director that the character of Morty has been based on).

In addition to the fine performance by Stiller, Janeane Garofalo also does a nice turn playing Morty's daughter Paloma, who has been somewhat estranged from her father, but agrees to join the crew in this attempt to make Fineman Films' next movie.

The Independent also knows not to wear out its welcome. Running at just over 80 minutes, the movie never drags or stays too long with any particular bit – assuring lots of laughs and a high replayability value.

THE DVD

Video:
The movie is presented full-frame, and since the majority of it is shot on video, rather than film, I'm assuming that we're seeing the title in its intended ratio. Much of the movie isn't the sharpest or greatest in quality…but it's intended to be that way. Some video segments are grainy, some are not – some go in and out of focus, while others do not. As for the clips from the movies of "Fineman Films", these are intentionally made to look like the era from which they were made – so expect low quality here, but intended to be so…not because of a problem with the transfer.

Audio:
The audio is presented in 2.0 Dolby, but there isn't a need for a stronger track, since this is a dialogue-heavy movie. In fact, this is one of the few titles which I can honestly say a 5.1 track just wouldn't feel right…the 2.0 audio relates nicely to the low-budget feel of the entire movie.

Extras:
Although not heavy on extras, there are a few interesting ones here. In addition to a chapter selection, viewers will get the Trailer for this movie, plus a nice Photo Gallery full of stills. But perhaps the funniest extra is a list of Fineman Films Titles that names dozens of fictional Fineman movies, including such humorously named films as "The Bodaceous Oasis", "Chicks With Hicks" and that perennial holiday favorite "A Very Malcolm Xmas".

THE BOTTOM LINE

If you love to laugh, are a fan of schlock films, and enjoy movies that make fun of the movies, then you're going to love The Independent. It's not a title that's going to appeal to the vast mainstream, but if you're a movie geek like myself, this one will take a deserving spot on your DVD shelf.
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