WHAT IS IT that takes a bad film from being boring-bad to kablooey-brain-amazing-bad? Whatever it is, Neil Breen's Fateful Findings has it in spades. Chronicling a man's campaign to expose government secrets and reconnect with his magic-spirituality soulmate, the film never stops exploding with awfulness, from wooden dialogue to spit-take-worthy action sequences and mind-bending plot points. It's a negative masterwork, easily the peer of The Room and Miami Connection, and all fans of awesomely terrible cinema need to see it.
A key component of the film's dazzling weirdness is the filmmaker's accomplished visual sense, on display in scene after scene offering impressively composed shots, containing action at the sort of dreamlike pace that makes you wonder if you're in the hands of a spellbinder—but then something happens that's so hilariously dumb your brain bends. It's wonderful, and the ending will slay you.
Another key component of weirdness is the context in which those of us in Seattle first experienced the film: the 2013 Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), to which Fateful Findings had been submitted as a mainstream contender, only to be accepted into a "So bad it's good" showcase. "When I told [Breen] we wanted to include the film, I was honest and said that the film was weird and somewhat flawed, but that I also truly loved it and found it charming, interesting, and fiercely original," says SIFF programmer Clinton McClung, who promptly got Breen's blessing.
"I've seen a lot of amateurish films—A LOT!—and most of them suck," McClung tells me. "But when a film has that certain sense of 'otherness,' like the filmmaker has something buried in his psyche that absolutely has to be expressed even if they don't have the skills or if it doesn't make much sense to anyone else... well, that can be special."