At the end of 2015, Chris asked me to view and review a little film called Double Down. It was created by Neil Breen, a man with too much money and not enough creativity or filmmaking know-how. The whole feature is torturous but something easy to laugh at. Well, now that my soul has repaired itself and I’ve recovered from the emotional scars it left me, Chris is ready to torture me once again and asked me to seek out another film from Breen: a feature called Fateful Findings.
Much like Double Down, this movie is nearly impossible to perfectly sum up without the help of whatever saint wrote the synopsis on Wikipedia. Apparently, the film is about a writer/hacker who is guided by the spirits contained in a powerful gem he found as a child and they urge him to hack into non-specific governments and corporations in order to gain all their completely undefined secrets and release them into the world. While all this is going on, he’s also dealing with his significant other succumbing to addiction to narcotics, a friend of his being murdered, his friend’s step-daughter harassing him with sexual advances and also his childhood crush returning to his life.
Bad movies can be tricky to watch because there needs to be a certain magic to them to make them fun. If the level of apathy for the project can be felt throughout every scene—like anything produced by The Asylum and aired on Syfy—they just aren’t fun to watch but when the film is made with the best or even the most arrogant of intentions and fails because of bad acting and a complete incompetence when it concerns the technical aspects of filmmaking then the product can be very fun. Neil Breen’s films, however, have a different magic all together because they are unlike anything out there. Without Breen and his unique filmmaking choices and narcissistic, but completely inept writing ability, these films would end up being forgettable mush that is completely indigestible but the magic that this man accidentally creates manifests into a revolting charm that makes his movies both maddening and hysterical. I’ll be honest, it’s best to never watch these movies alone because the experience must be shared or else you look crazy if you attempt to describe them to anyone.
Like all bad movies, this film suffers from really bad acting, awful editing, horrendous sound editing and music choices, and literally every scene feeling terribly awkward. What makes Fateful Findings a little different though is the fact that Neil Breen also wants to add in a character who is incapable of doing a single computer-based job without the help of several laptops (that are never turned on, by the way), throws in some extremely questionable set locations (like a therapist office that is clearly a conference room or another therapist meeting that is done in the corner of an empty room on two metal folding chairs), and a need to express frustration through the throwing of books (I’m not kidding, this happens a lot more than you would think something as inconsequential as throwing books would happen). However, what really makes this film interesting and something to take in and study more thoroughly than you would your average bad movie, and what I’m going to focus on in this review, is Breen’s absolutely atrocious but strangely captivating decisions for his script.
Breen makes some truly unique choices in this film that definitely leaves you wondering about him as a person. If it wasn’t evident enough from Double Down that the man has an ego that he is trying to feed (in that film he is constantly talking about his character being the best in the world at literally everything he does—seriously, the narration about his skills never stops), Fateful Findings further proves this point as Breen once again writes his character to be exceptionally skilled and adored by so many—even when this adoration comes off very creepy (I’ll get to that in a minute). Thankfully, I didn’t have to endure an hour and a half of Breen himself narrating all that he’s good at but, instead, got to deal with him feathering in how totes amazing he is within the dialogue. Sure, it’s still lazy and a tad sad that he refuses to write himself with any failings (well, not intentionally anyway—again, I’ll get to that in a minute) but the fact he decides to attempt to hide his own self-admiration through dialogue rather than through narration that is basically aural masturbation is definitely a step in the right direction. He’s learning, it seems.
His writing quickly takes a turn for the strange when you realize that Breen is compensating in some form but attempting to make his character a sex symbol. Sure, it’s weird to sit through all the nude scenes he gives himself (and he gives himself A LOT of them) but it’s even weirder that he also wants to show this sex appeal by having an underage girl throwing sexual advances his way. While something like this could make for an interesting drama and an entire story can be crafted out of situations like this, the reality is this element is completely out of place and has nothing to do with the ghost/hacking/government secrets plot. The sick reality is that this inserted B-story feels like Breen is just laying out his own creepy fantasies for us to bear witness to.
Breen’s writing also takes another interesting turn when you discover that he doesn’t actually understand the difference between right and wrong. Moral and ethic ambiguity can make for a great story but when you see Breen’s character cheat on his significant other while she is dying from an overdose and immediately shack up with his childhood crush before the body is even cold is a tad strange and the fact that this loss plays no role in the development of the character and is literally forgotten a scene later really makes it evident that Breen doesn’t grasp what a protagonist is or even how to make your leading character dynamic or even remotely interesting. I’ll hazard a guess to that he doesn’t actually know what a “protagonist” even is.
In a similar fashion to Tommy Wiseau, Neil Breen and his work has made me question if he’s every read a story, seen a movie or if he is even a human. Since I doubt anyone reading this are concerned with Spoilers for this film, I have to tell you that never is it more evident in this film that Breen doesn’t really understand the human race or how people react to tremendous and shocking situations than in the final act of the film. Sure, watching Breen act and his questionable reaction choices (well, actually the choices of all the actors) can make one wonder if he is even aware how humans react to stimuli but that can be chalked up to bad acting; however, in the final act of the film Breen’s character reveals the secrets to the world about the actions of the corporations and the government in a press conference and, for some reason, the guilty parties are in attendance and are pretty much happy about what he’s doing. They are laughing, smiling and applauding him telling the world that he found out their secrets (but still never gets specific on what the secrets are) and then, in a complete turn-around, these parties all commit suicide and some of them do it in front of the crowd. Okay, that’s messed up but it gets even strangers (if that is possible) because the audience in attendance applauds like crazy to this (well, you hear them applaud because audio extras is all Breen could afford). This, and all the other strange choices for written human behavior, has me fully convinced that Breen isn’t human but an alien of the same species as Tommy Wiseau and is trying to invade the world with bad films filled with horrible acting, incomprehensible stories and terrible editing.
Breen and his work have achieved cult status but not at a level I feel he deserves. It’s strange to say but his work really should be viewed by more people and even studied in film classes. This could be because I’ve succumbed to some sort of madness by watching two of his films by myself and my brain has been turned to pudding but the level of incompetency he shows at crafting and telling a story is truly interesting and captivating to the point it should be examined deeper and by more individuals…OR, just get some friends, grab some pizza and beers, and laugh at just how utterly stupid this film is.
Rev. Ron is a wannabe movie critic and an avid consumer of pop culture—he also made the Kessel run in 21 parsecs. Yeah, it’s not a record and he’s doesn’t brag about it. He just did very, very poorly on the run. If you want to read more of his reviews, you can check out his blog at RevRonMovies.BlogSpot.com and you can also follow him on Twitter (@RevRonster) where he likes to live-tweet the bad movies he watches.