Gabby Curran Reports on Fateful Findings
By Gabby Curran
For the longest time, it was believed that the dubious honor of Worst Filmmaker belonged to Tommy Wiseau—the writer, producer, and director of The Room. A film widely considered to be the worst movie ever made, The Room is hate-loved by almost all movie-goers for its horrendous acting, equally horrendous writing, nonsensical plot, and just the fact that Tommy Wiseau was insane enough to make it in the first place and think it would be a masterpiece. Yet a new contender for Wiseau’s title has risen from whatever Tartarean pit produces these delusional movie makers—and his name is Neil Breen.
Breen, who hails from the East Coast, has produced four other movies since his filmmaking debut Double Down in 2005. His most recent film Twisted Pair was released last year. According to this interview from Cinedelphia Breen works as an architect and makes movies on the side. All of his films are self-funded, and Breen writes, produces, and directs them himself. He also stars as the protagonist in all of his movies, which often have government corruption and the supernatural as their central themes. His most notable film is undoubtedly Fateful Findings, released in 2013, which Breen considers his best film “on a technical and a story line level.” From its over-the-top acting to its ridiculously self-aggrandizing premise, it is no surprise that this is the movie Breen is best known for—even when compared to his other terrible movies.
The premise of the film is…a little hard to swallow, and hard to follow. Neil Breen plays an author and computer hacker of some sort named Dylan, who had a mysterious encounter with a magical stone at the age of eight with his childhood friend and first love Leah. Flash forward to the present, and an adult Dylan is hit by a car but magically survives thanks to the stone, which for some reason he had in his hand as he was walking across the street. He is then rushed to a hospital, where his friend Jim and his wife Emily mourn over his condition. A nurse appears and takes his pulse, despite him being attached to an EKG machine. The nurse, unbeknownst to us, is actually a grown-up Leah. Shenanigans ensue, and include but are not limited to Dylan’s wife overdosing on drugs, Jim’s wife killing Jim and framing it as suicide, Dylan attempting to write, Dylan trying to seduce Jim’s underage stepdaughter, and Dylan uncovering the true power of the magical stone he found as a child (which just involves spirits harassing Dylan and the ability to kill anyone at will, I guess? This movie makes no sense). Additionally thrown in are some hasty plots surrounding Dylan’s seeing multiple therapists, Leah getting kidnapped, and Dylan passing out all over the place as he hacks into the government and uncovers its MOST secret secrets. Which secrets, you ask? We are never told. But rest assured—Neil Breen uncovered them, and exposed them to the world at the end of his film, thus defrauding the entire U.S. government in one fell swoop.
Now, the first time I watched Fateful Findings, I was drunk. The second time I watched it, I was also drunk. The third time I watched it, I wished I was drunk. Not since The Room had I seen such abysmal writing, such ridiculous storytelling, and such monotonous acting. One reviewer on TheCommentSection.org called it “not a movie, but a virulent retrovirus of the mind that slowly eats the victims’ sanity and causes them to become a vector for future infection.” I can’t say he’s wrong, especially given the fact that Breen has spawned four other movies. Reading the plot of the movie is almost enough evidence one needs that this movie is bad.
Yet despite its obvious shortcomings as a movie, Fateful Findings has developed a sort of cult following over the years—and I can see why. In the same way that people like to watch The Room for shits and giggles, viewers have gravitated towards Fateful Findings for its surreal entertainment value. In no other movie would you be able to watch a scene with a man cradling the bloodied body of his dead friend and saying, in the most monotonous tone possible: “I cannot believe that you committed suicide.” In no other movie would you be able to witness the sheer outrageousness that is Dylan’s final speech where he stands in front of a green-screened photo of the Supreme Court and cryptically tells the audience: “I’ve discovered more information than any hacker has! EVER!” followed by a montage of the now-defrauded politicians, bankers, and Wall Street brokers killing themselves in the most over-the-top way. It’s really something to behold.
As for Breen, he doesn’t mind the fact that he’s considered one of the worst filmmakers of all time. His take on all of this? “[When] you’re an artist…you’re never gonna please everybody.” All in all, this movie is just the pet project of an architect who enjoys telling stories, no matter how nonsensical they may seem. And who can really fault him for that?