Nerdy Movie Pick Of The Week. 6/14/12
Welcome back to “Nerdy Movie Pick Of The Week”, a post where we talk about some awesome nerdy movies. Some might be newer movies, others might be a bit older or even unknown indie films. The Idea of Nerdy Movie Pick Of The Week is to share some of our favorite nerdy movies with you. You can either find them on Netflix or through other resources. (We don’t judge, pirates are cool). If you’ve seen the movie we mentioned make sure to like it, or leave a comment sharing your opinions on it.
Written by: Johnny Marcondes
Release date: UK 11/7/06
Directed by: Hal Haberman
Special is movie that came out on November 21, 2008. Since then there has been a handful of movies that follow that same premise, movies such as Kick-Ass. Any film that uses super powers as the main focus for its story finds itself facing some challenges. It's easy to go over board and come off cliché, but what makes this film stand out amongst others that use the same premise is how the characters are dealt with. Focusing on one character and his emotion journey, this dramatic take an increasingly popular genre (supernatural) is a welcomed breath of fresh air.
The film follows Les Franken, a comic book fan who has his fair share of bad days. Coming off as a bit of a loser and someone who's in the need of some cash, Franken signs up for an experimental antidepressant. Meeting with a doctor named Dr. Dobson, he tells Franken to keep a journal describing his experiences. Beginning his day while on the experimental drug Les Fraken feels nothing, while Franken begins to feel that drug has no effect things suddenly changes. Spending a night alone in his house as he always does, Les Fraken discovers that he suddenly has super powers. Sitting on his couch, Franken discovers the ability to hover above ground. Worried and excited, Fraken goes to pay Dr.Dobson a visit to show off his new-found powers. Revealing his ability to "float" to the doctor, reality kicks in as Fraken isn't actually floating. Through the eyes of Fraken he sees and feels as if he is floating, but through the eyes and perspective of Dr. Dobson things are vastly different. With Fraken simply laying down on the floor swinging his arms, even though in reality Fraken has no real super human ability. In the mind of a character whose life has more down's than ups, Franken thinks that with his new-found powers he has finally found a purpose in life. Having these powers Fraken decides he must use them for good, thus becoming a vigilante superhero. Nevertheless Fraken soon finds out that everything he believes isn't what it truly seems.
Sympathy for false heroes.
What really separates Special from other films dealing with super heroes is the character of Les Fraken. Unlike Kick-Ass, in this movie you actually feel sympathy for the main character. While in Kick-Ass whenever the main character got into a fight or badly injured, honestly you really just didn't care. You knew that in Kick-Ass you were just sitting along for the ride, Les Fraken is a much more human character. While you're still tagging along for the ride, there's a much more personal aspect to the film. In Special the main character actually "gains abilities", honestly believing his purpose in life is to be a hero. The main character is such a pathetic human being you can't help but feel bad for him. Believing he honestly has those abilities, trying to fight crime is the only time where you actually see him happy. How many of us can actually say they wouldn't want to do what Les Fraken dreamed of? A character who walks around feeling depressed and as if there was nothing unique about him. A man who hates his job, feels like he's at life's dead-end with only his dreams to guide him. This is what makes Franken a relatable character and so compelling. So when he loses that sense of importance and reality hits, you can't help but feel sorry for the guy.
More than you expect.
Special is a movie that didn't have a huge budget or much press to promote it. With a low-budget, visually the film does what it can when it comes to special effects. The story and premise may be simple, but that doesn't downgrade the film in any way having it still managing to suck you in. Micheal Rapaport gives an honestly believable performance of a down on his dumps, depressed dreamer. Anyone who reads comic books or plays video games can find some trait in Fraken to relate too. Taking place in a universe that can be seen as realistic, everything about Special moves fluidly. If you're looking for an action packed film then this isn't it. Even though there are fight scenes in the film, that's far from what makes this film stand out. Character emotions are what really make Special for a lack of better words special. Les Fraken is one of the most relatable movie characters I have come across, it's a shame that this film was so under rated both in theater and in sales. Indie movie lovers will instantly fall for its dramatic low-budget charm, comic book fans will find themselves rooting for an unlikely hero and every viewer will be surprised in general.
Make sure to check out Special on Netflix. Remember to check back every week for the next Nerdy Movie Pick Of The Week. The next title to be shown will up on Tuesday! So make sure to come back.