'The Fanatic' Review
'The Fanatic' Review
One of the Best Worst Movies of All Time
In 2019, lead vocalist of Limp Bizkit Fred Durst and actor John Travolta gave movie lovers a treat. That treat in question is 'The Fanatic', and it is one of the best "so bad it's good" movies out there.
The movie follows seemingly mentally unstable rabid movie fan Moose who is obsessed with his favourite celebrity action hero Hunter Dunbar. But when Moose is cheated out of an opportunity to meet his idol, he does whatever it takes. With Moose's actions becoming increasingly sinister, Dunbar finds himself at the mercy of a dangerous stalker.
You've seen John Travolta be charming in the high school musical 'Grease'. You've seen Travolta deliver genuinely great performances in movies such as Tarantino's crime-comedy 'Pulp Fiction'. You've seen him be over-the-top in movies such as 'Broken Arrow' and 'Face/Off'. But you've never seen John Travolta give a performance quite like this.
Travolta is completely committed to the role of Moose and it clearly shows. Sporting a haircut that has to be seen to be believed, he goes all out giving us a delightfully bonkers and insane performance. While it is nowhere near good, it is incredibly entertaining to watch.
It is just so funny to think that both Durst and Travolta lacked the self-awareness to see how awful the performance was and ran a For Your Consideration campaign to get him nominated for the Academy Awards.
Almost every creative decision in this movie is wrong, the keyword in that sentence is "almost". While a lot of the creative decisions presented in this movie are terrible, two elements do kind of work. One of which shows how Moose sees his idol, Hunter Dunbar. The shot has Hunter sitting in a nearly empty room with a spotlight shining on top of him. In that one shot, it effectively establishes how Moose views the actor. It is the only artsy shot in the entire film and, well, the only good shot of the movie. It is a shame that the rest of the movie wasn't as carefully well-made or put-together as those few frames.
A massive problem with this movie that ultimately brings the whole thing down is the way Moose and Hunter treat each other and how the movie never really sides with either of them. While it is never confirmed, it is safe to assume Moose has some form of disability given the way he acts, it doesn't register to him that he is being intrusive in Hunter's life. But Hunter is unnecessarily rude to him throughout the movie despite the obvious, unwittingly letting all the events happen. If Hunter had just signed Moose's memorabilia, this entire movie wouldn't happen.
As for the screenplay, it is horrible. Writers Dave Bekerman and directer Durst give the characters' lines of dialogue that feel unnatural and, fitting with the rest of the movie, hilarious. It is not hard to laugh when the first sentence that comes out of our protagonist's mouth is "I can't talk too long. I gotta poo." I won't spoil any more of the glorious dialogue but know that line is just tip of the iceberg in terms of the hysterical lines of dialogue said and interactions shared throughout this film.
With a quick Google search of the movie's title, you'd be met with this movie being labelled as a "Thriller". While yes, their intention most likely going into this production was to make a self-serious and thought-provoking thriller, the final result couldn't be further from that if it tried. Grossing $3,153 worldwide in its short theatrical run, 'The Fanatic' will go down in history as one of the biggest misfires in modern cinema as well one of the funniest and most incompetent movies of all time.