They Shoot Movies, Don't They?

"Weak"

They Shoot Movies, Don't They? Review


Originally airing on the Independent Film Channel (IFC) in 2000, They Shoot Movies, Don't They? generated such a strong reaction from viewers that the pseudo-documentary has now been released to DVD. Based on its earlier successes, it's not surprising that Movies can be found at your local video store. Yet, what is surprising is that it's taken six years for it to happen. Why the delay for a film that, according to its press materials, "received more viewer reaction than all 450 other films on the IFC channel -- combined"?

Movies is a fictionalized documentary about a young, up-and-coming filmmaker named Tom Paulson (Tom Paul Wilson) who is struggling to find the financing he needs to complete his film, Mirage. Tom has used over $200,000 of his own money to finance the pre-production and production phases. His financial backers do not agree with the direction that he has taken with the film and are not willing to finance the remaining $80,000 to finish post-production. Tom's search for new backers proves unsuccessful when they insist that Tom must change his vision for the film -- something he's unwilling to do. As Tom's struggles mount, he alienates his friends, family, and film crew during a nasty downward spiral.

While Movies' message -- low budget filmmaking is tough -- is overtly visible through Tom's troubles with his finances, it's tough to fully identify with the difficulties Tom faces. The biggest problem is that Movies is purposely vague about what Mirage is really about. When Tom receives negative feedback about the film, we're never given an explanation as to why people disapprove. Are the financial backers' concerns relevant? Why is Tom so opposed to their input? Movies does a great job of showing the financial struggle to make a movie, but doesn't paint a clear enough picture about the other issues faced by independent filmmakers.

Additionally, I really question the market for such a release on DVD. Movies was largely successful on IFC because the channel's demographic naturally lends itself to a film about the hardships of independent filmmaking. On DVD, it's clearly a different story and maybe that explains the apparent indecision over its video release. Movies will struggle to find an audience that can sympathize with Tom's plight. And in a way, it almost epitomizes the same struggle Tom faces making Mirage.

For anyone who is enamored by the glamour of Hollywood, the stark reality painted by Movies should not to be missed. Unfortunately, I can only recommend Movies for those who have a desire to fund independent films. For the average video store browser, Movies will fail to make a complete impact.



They Shoot Movies, Don't They?

Facts and Figures

Run time: 87 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 23rd August 2000

Distributed by: Goldhil Video

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 40%
Fresh: 2 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Frank Gallagher

Producer: Craig Lachman, Curt B. Walheim

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