THE LAND OF COLLEGE PROPHETS
**1/2 (out of 5)
Thomas Edward Seymour as TOMMY
Philip Guerette as RYE
Tina Angelillo as BELLS
Russ Russo as “IRISH” JONAH JOE
Carmine Capobianco as PROFESSOR HOLIDAY
Matt Ford as MIDAS
Studio: Hale Manor
Directed by: Mike Aransky, Philip Guerette and Thomas Edward Seymour
BY KEVIN CARR
When it comes to film discussion, one of my pet peeves is when someone – usually some elite art-house snob – proudly announces that he or she only likes independent film. These people need to be kicked in the teeth.
They have no idea what real independent film is. They’re talking about films from Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith. They’re only focusing on the slate of Miramax (now Weinstein Company) releases, and an occasional DVD premiere at their local video store.
What they don’t realize is that these so-called independent films are about as independent of a production as “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.” When you have Johnny Depp as the lead in your film, can you really lump yourself in with the rest of the huddled masses running around commando-style armed with a DV camera and no permits?
I’ve seen a lot of independent film – real independent film – and I’ll be honest. Most of it is crap. Give a million monkeys a million video cameras and, sometime during an eternity, you might end up with “Clerks.” However, you’ll have to wade through a lot of steaming monkey poop to get there.
The biggest strength that “The Land of College Prophets” has is that it isn’t monkey poop. It may not be the greatest indie film to hit the streets, but it’s vastly different from anything else you’re gonna see out there. I commend the filmmakers for not making a movie about a group of childhood friends getting back together in time for the panty-waste narrator to pine over the girl he still loves.
“The Land of College Prophets” takes fantastic events and puts them in one of the most mundane settings out there. It takes a warped comic book-style story and drops it into a middle American campus. The main characters are the College Prophets, nihilistic students at a college who enjoy drinking, brawling and sidewalk preaching.
After a feud erupts between two of them over a girl, they accidentally release an ancient evil from the bowels of a possessed well near the school grounds. As evil leeches into the drinking water, the student body is thrown into a melee of violence. The College Prophets must put aside their differences to contain the evil and bring college life back to normal.
The film seems simultaneous huge in scope and utterly contained. It throws around some big ideas, sparking the kind of pseudo-philosophical discussions you’d have late at night in a dorm room. However, it never seems to grow beyond its own reach. In fact, it actually keeps itself suppressed in reality a little too much.
If there’s a great fault in this movie it is in being just a bit too different. At times, it seems to be almost like a comic book spoof. At other times, it feels like a low-brow comedy. Still other times, it tries to present serious human emotions. The film could have been clearer, but maybe the confusion was part of the filmmakers’ intentions.
“The Land of College Prophets” is a very ambitious piece, and it is undeniably unique. It’s not something for your standard mainstream audience, and that’s no surprise. Ultimately, it’s a refreshing turn from the all-too-numerous uninspired indie flicks out there.