Friday Film Review: I Think We’re Alone Now

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This week’s movie in review is a documentary about two people that claim to be in love with Tiffany.  You know, the 80s pop star with the song, “I Think We’re Alone Now.”  I just need to be really upfront about one thing I was completely taken aback by the film though.  I seriously did not know she had more than one album.

OK, so this is a low budget film.  They use handwritten paper notes for titles (cute).  The cinematography kind of looks like it was shot on a phone.  I’d say iPhone, but I’ve actually seen really well done movies on that platform.  It’s a short movie (60 mins), so if you’d like to watch it, I’d recommend it.  It’s really uncomfortable though.  I spent the entire 60 minutes creating new wrinkles on my forehead.  It’s really hard to talk about this movie without giving spoilers, but I will do my best.

First off, I need to go on a short rant about the director.  Shame on you.  This was clearly exploitation.  Shame on you.  You have no honor, and deserve no respect (boy, am I using polite language!).  I was seriously the luckiest person in the world to have an amazing teacher for my first film class that said, “never sacrifice people for art.”  I have NEVER forgotten that.  You do not need to do that to be a good artist.  And your film wasn’t even that good.  So, shame on you.

I’m done now.

So, these two people that are “in love” with Tiffany have problems.  The first guy we see, Jeff, has Aspergers.  He had a restraining order taken out against him, by Tiffany, in the 80s.  He doesn’t really understand why people are upset with his behavior.  He’s also smart, paranoid, religious, and fights against fascism.  The second person, Kelly, is an intersexed person who identifies as female, however, the film refuses to recognize that part of her, and in fact is extremely condescending to that part of her (I’m glaring at you, director).  I’m actually not sure why she has slurred speech, because the film never addresses it (and probably wants to further “other” her differentness, like she talks funny because she has two sexes).  I’m assuming she slurs her speech either because she has brain damage from her bike accident (where she also developed her obsession with Tiffany) or because she’s drunk or high.  I’m going to go with a brain damage/drunk combo, because she seemed to nod off a lot in interviews.

As you can see by my descriptions of these two people, the movie isn’t about Tiffany.  And after about 20 minutes, it didn’t focus on their obsession with her as much.  It was really a weird peek into the lives of “not normal” people.  Do I think these two people are akin to the stalkers that break into celebrities houses?  Kill people?  No, not really.  The film actually might have been more interesting if it followed sociopaths instead of these poor, unfortunate people.  I spent all of my time feeling bad for them.  My mothering instincts kicked in.  I wanted to shelter them from the mean world and the dark motives of the film.  

Listen, I really actually DO feel for celebrities dealing with stalking.  I know a lot of people like to be assholes and say, “that’s what you get for being famous,” but no one ever deserves to be violated like that.  

I’m also sensitive to the issue of stalking, especially by someone who has a disorder.  I knew he just wasn’t able to separate what was in his head and what was reality.  But I also had a strong feeling to self-preserve and didn’t want to get hurt.  Sometimes, the situation can be muddy when one person suffers from a mental disorder.

Ugh, I lost where I was going on this review.

Here we are.  So WHY do I recommend this movie?  Well, I like the gritty realism of it.  I kind of hate documentaries that add drama by pushing you a certain direction.  Actually the LACK of organization on this film worked to its benefit.  You can see a lot more sometimes.  You’re also a lot more likely to draw many different opinions because there’s little motive.  Also, despite the film exploiting these people, you actually do start seeing them as human beings.  Maybe because I was working against the film.  Maybe it was the little tiny moments with them where you really can relate with them.  I don’t know.  But I’m also not freaked out by differently-gendered people or anyone on the autistic spectrum.  A lot of people are, and the film highlights, for good or bad, that exact thing.

Click on the picture at the top to read a very different review of the film.  Apparently, this person thought the director was a well thought out genius that gave an even-toned look at the subjects (raising eyebrow in doubt).  Make your own conclusions.  Add this movie to your queue, because either way, you’re going to be enthralled and entertained for an hour.

Favorite Line: “I’m straight.  I just fight against fascism.” – Jeff
Favorite Scene: The kind of back-and-forth montage of when Jeff goes to an erotica convention and tells his pastor about how wonderful everyone was and that they were all “saved.”  He also gave a model foreign nudie mags where she was the cover girl and she didn’t even know!  Such a guy.

Movie Stats:
Director: Sean Donnelly
Release: 2008
Rating: NR (There is swearing and few boobs at the convention)

Currently Streaming on Netflix.  

For more movie night recommendations, click HERE.

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