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Beguiling, mystifying, hypnotic and altogether odd, Fateful Findings has been lumped in with the likes of other notorious stink-bombs like Samurai Cop, Birdemic, The Room and Miami Connection, but the film has what those lack: technical competence. That’s what makes Fateful Findings even odder. Strangely enough, it looks like a real movie at times.
Genre-defying is a film critic cliche, but Fateful Findings doesn’t defy genres so much as whack-a-mole as many of them as possible. It is variously a supernatural, infidelity, conspiratorial, mystical, romantic drama and crime caper film. And that’s probably leaving a few out.
Dylan is played by auteur Neil Breen, who starred, financed, directed, wrote, scored and that’s probably leaving a few out. As a kid, he’s playing with a strange mushroom in the forest with a friend, Leah. It morphs into some odd talismanic piece of black rock. She moves to another neighborhood and they say their goodbyes.
Flash forward 40 years and now bestselling author Dylan’s on the phone to his wife Emily (Breen cuts a strange figure as Dylan, one part Gary Shandling, one part David Brenner, coiffure from the House of Trump). He is suddenly run over by a Rolls Royce. Bystanders’ legs and feet are panned. This is a recurring motif for reasons known to nobody but Neil Breen.
Comatose and bedridden, things are looking bleak for Dylan, but he makes a miraculous recovery and even saunters out of the hospital in a gown and bare ass, returning to his homestead.
This is where things take a decidedly oddball turn.
Dylan has a piece of graphite that he clutches in his palm, some kind of totemic energy force. Purple puffs of energy waft through the scenery and he gradually reveals to his wife that he’s not working on a follow-up book after-all; he’s HACKING INTO GOVERNMENT COMPUTERS. He does this while seated at a desk with no fewer than four laptop computers, none of which are a) turned on, or b) plugged in, or c) functioning in any way whatsoever. All work and no play makes Dylan a dull boy?
His publisher is pressing him for his manuscript and he bellows, “I HAVE A MASTER’S DEGREE IN COMPUTER SCIENCE!”
WTF. What in god’s holy hell is going on here??
And that’s when spiritual mumbo jumbo becomes grounded in matrimonial drama. Emily the wife pops the pain pills ostensibly for his recovery, his best friend’s stepdaughter bathes topless in his pool, and his attending physician happens to be his long lost child paramour Leah. They are introduced to one another at a backyard party, without any reference to their deep friendship as children. His name in the hospital didn’t tip her off, and underlying the strangeness, Leah (played by Jennifer Autrey) looks about 20 years his junior; there’s no way they could’ve been kid contemporaries. Sure, being in a deathly coma probably adds years to your face but this is ridiculous!
For fans of Tommy Wiseau and The Room, this is essential viewing. There’s even sanctimonious hectoring a la Birdemic. Weird performances, mise en scenes right out of Vivid Video and plot holes large enough to have their own orbit, Fateful Findings is MUST-SEE bad movie material.
***1/2 (out of 5)