This has been a busy week for AZ indie film, with two movie premieres back to back and at opposite ends of Phoenix. Thursday night found me at the Pollack Theater in Tempe and on Friday night I was in North Phoenix at the Super Saver Cinema 8 to catch the premiere of “Disclosed Minds” produced and directed by Kimberly Peterson and Mark Deboer. Since this is still freshest in my memory, I’ll start with “Disclosed Minds.”
Two bungling security guards (Rob Edwards and Steve Wilson) wish they could be anywhere but at work tonight, guarding the loonies in the insane asylum. Boss guard Brandiess (Edwards) cuts out early so he can rush home to clobber his daughter’s dirtbag boyfriend, leaving nervous neophyte Harris (Wilson) in charge. Whack job James Crawford (Mark Deboer) escapes from confinement, killing the goofy guard and swiping his Jordans. Meanwhile on the other side of town, nervous bride-to-be Lauren (Kimberly Peterson) has a bad dream about a crazed killer the night before her wedding. The cops (Bill Weatherill and Greg Warner) quickly I.D. Crawford as the killer, who was locked up in the nut house for raping Lauren and is now out for revenge. Nothing like a crazed killer to put the kibosh on your nuptials, so Lauren and her betrothed Tyler (Josh Elijah) resort to plan B, leaving their friends and family high and dry at the church, piling into the car with her gabby pal Sammy (Kim Rini) and her husband Nathan (Matt Derdivanis), and taking a road trip to Vegas for a shotgun wedding. After signing their names on a blank pad of paper, they exchange I do-zies in the most terrifying chapel in Sin City, devoid of decor and drearily draped in red, and with a minister (Steve Dorsam) who just needed horns and a cape for the full w e d din g in h ell effect. They gamble in an equally dreary dungeon-like casino before Lauren decides to get this whole consummating thing over and done with, leaving sloshy Sammy with her winnings. Cuckold Tyler confides in Nathan that he is experiencing wedding night performance anxiety, despite the fact that he’s been sleeping with Lauren for months.
Meanwhile…Crazed killer Crawford has a boatload of bad black and white flashbacks including: pinky-swearing to protect his sister from their abusive, drunken lout dad (Gary Herkimer), and being bullied by a physically disabled kid (??) before punching the kids lights out (???). There are continuous references to Crawford disappearing into his art as a way to cope with his tragic life, but we never see so much as doodle from little Crawford or big crazy Crawford. After killing a guy and stealing his car, koo-koo bananas catches up with Lauren’s wedding party in Vegas. He breaks into Sammy’s room and demands to know where Lauren is (??). Seriously. I mean come on. Really? He tries to stab Sammy in the gut but his knife keeps retracting into the handle, and she dies of a ruptured spleen from the repeated massaging action of the springy blade. Lauren and her incredulous consort return home sans Sammy and she comes clean to the cops about cohabitating with Crawford. Turns out; her and Crawford were getting it on for quite some time. Crawford makes it back home as well and continues his utterly incompetent pursuit of Lauren. He’s able to track her to Vegas at the last minute in a stolen car but is completely befuddled as to her whereabouts down the street. He enlists the help of his shellshocked sister Michelle (Brenda Johnson) to do some sleuthy deducing before (finally) kidnapping Lauren and taking her to his tastefully decorated, suburban Phoenix torture lair. Sis glaringly disapproves of the potential murderin’ goin’ on in big bro’s room and gives him the frowning of a lifetime. Lauren breaks free and her and Crawford do some kung fu fighting before little sis bust’s a cap in big bro’s numbskull. The cops arrive and Michelle gives everyone the Dear Abby version of what transpired: something about a hit and run accident, blackmail and a bastard baby. I think.
As an AZ indie film, ‘Minds’ is about as bad as it gets. The slew of AZ indie regulars appearing in this film certainly stuck with it and delivered as best they could, never bailing out of this floundering vessel despite their apparent, on-screen cognizance of the swirling cesspool ‘Minds’ spirals into. Incredibly, it is lead actress and creator of this film, Kimberly Peterson that torpedoes this sinking stinker. Clearly, Peterson should be anywhere but in this film, lethargically delivering lines as though she were being distracted from playing the bonus round of Bejeweled. Every word uttered seems to be an inconvenience for Peterson, and I’ve seen pizza delivered with more passion. The sound is atrocious, with huge chunks of dead air in several scenes, while the cheesy soundtrack solidifies the absurdity of this forgettable flick. Cinematography is unremarkable and the incredible languor that went into completing this t h r e e – y e a r s -in – t h e – m a kin g wonder is mind-boggling. I always try to find some glimmer in every lump of coal; a tiny inkling of something new or innovative, daring or original and ‘Minds’ came up woefully empty handed. Regardless of the Holland-Tunnel sized plot holes, several little things (the pad of paper that was supposed to be the wedding register for example) that could have mildly attempted to redeem this film were callously blown off, sending a clear message to the audience to go piss up a rope.
Some dreams successfully make their way to the screen, while others remain in slumber land. “Disclosed Minds” is another one of those dream inspired indies that transitions from the sleepy void into a somnolent slurry in a hurry, taking with it every breathless recollection from the insipidly inspiring night terrors while leaving the audience in the dark and far behind.
Final Take – Mindless.