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Idol Chatter

A little indie movie called “The Lather Effect” is making the rounds in art houses and is screening at the L.A. Independent Film Festival. It’s a small movie in the true spirit of independent film. Its director (Sarah Kelly) has been a production assistant and doesn’t have too many recognizeable credits. The actors have mostly artistic and television credits.

The drama behind the drama is that this could be a really great human-interest story about how some talented-but-unfamous people made meaningful movie that someday could become this generation’s “The Big Chill,” “The Breakfast Club,” or “St. Elmo’s Fire.” It is made up of this decade’s “Thirtysomethings” whose gathering include both partying and reflection. But the movie may well not make it into nationwide release.

Though I can’t vouch for this movie in particular–it’s possible that it’s just no good–it strikes me that these days, the better a movie is, the less of a chance it may have to make it into wide release. We’re a more diverse nation than we used to be, and that is good. But it also means that a film generally needs to paint its story in broad strokes to catch the widest possible audience and pay for itself. What passes for excellent writing, depth of relationships, and cultural comment may “work” for too small a segment to be profitable.

Or, who knows, years from now we may talk about “The Lather Effect” as this generation’s “Brat Pack,” actors we never knew of until, well, we knew them.

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