What’s It About?
‘The Next Big Thing‘ is an indie drama film centred around the lust for fame. In opening scenes Chuck (Jonney Ahmanson) is setting up cameras around a darkened home before resting on two people seen sleeping in the background. Chuck wants to make a film about his friend Julian only Julian doesn’t know it yet. I found most of the first act really funny, somewhat due to my cynical personality. I easily rode along with the black comedic effort. This film won Best Drama Feature at Atlanta Underground Film Festival and nominated for awards at others.
‘The Next Big Thing’s’ filmed in subjective viewpoint as part of a documentary style movie. Chuck’s a film-maker and his best friend Julian (Brad Culver) is a quasi-internet celebrity. Julian posts videos on YouTube doing impersonations and works in a call centre. Both him and his wife find the cameras invasive and Chucks’ filming technique unpalatable. Chuck is like the proverbial carrot though. He does some name dropping about a TV series and a studio exec interested in green lighting his idea and suddenly everyone is on-board.
Just like a reality show, the tone shifts and Julian has intentions of his own. It’s not about the film, it’s about how he will look to audiences. It’s not about Chuck’s inspiration of bringing a real story, it’s about Julian coming across as his best self. Julian doesn’t want realism, he wants to shine as a perfect human being. Details about Chucks past lend a certain dingy light to his intentions. The dynamic between the two best friends comes under scrutiny with its own disheveled past. Although suspicious of Chuck’s project, I liked where this was going in the first half.
Knowing that Jonathan Lipnicki is a child star who rose to fame as the kid in Jerry Maguire (1996) and Stuart Little, I enjoyed seeing his role as an egotistical star utilised the way it was here. In a cameo-type fashion film ‘stars’ get peppered throughout but are often underutilized. Ken Sagoes plays Terry and he’s best known for playing Kincaid in a few A Nightmare on Elm Street movies from the 80’s. Marshall Manesh is Mr. Shah and is better known as Ranjit in TV Series, How I Met Your Mother. Both characters could have added much more to the story.
Is This Film The Next Big Thing?
Sadly no, despite it’s good intentions. The plot though solid, is not taken to the heights I thought were coming. In opening scenes, I laughed a great deal, more than the last intentional comedy I watched. In this, Chuck wasn’t deranged enough and Julian wasn’t developed enough. This movie fails because of a very early introduction of all characters’ flaws. It causes the story to flow in a way unfitting to its premise. I waited far too long after being presented with Chuck’s ulterior motive or seeing much overt noxious behaviour from him. It loses momentum towards the middle with ideas that just aren’t cohesive with the end result. Does Julian’s world spiral out of control? Not enough really.
If you enjoy movies set against reality celebrity status in the lower end of the fame circuit, then you will appreciate many moments in this. You’ll be surprised with the closing scene, you just have to hang in there, I truly wasn’t expecting it.
Quick Film Info | The Next Big Thing
Director: Debut for Brody Gusar.
Written by: Brody Gusar and Iain Roush.
Release: February 9, 2018.
Starring: Lou Ferrigno (Incredible Hulk) Marshall Manesh, Jonathan Lipnicki, James Kyson (Heroes) and Lauren Francesca (YouTube star.)
From February 9th this film is available on Amazon.com