Film Geek is an independent film for a very select audience that dreams of somehow reaching larger renown. The film seems to know this and act out its own ambitions and shortcomings through the story of its protagonist, bona-fide film geek Scotty Pelk. Scotty is a human encyclopedia of film history, able to spout off about his love of Jean-Luc Godard, David Cronenberg, Wong Kar Wai, or Peter Jackson at a moment’s notice.
However, his interactions with anyone in the real world are awkward and Scotty finds it hard to attain everyday goals like keeping a job. Film Geek is a movie geared for film geeks to watch and enjoy, perhaps even to empathize with Scotty’s character, but anyone else is likely to have the same reaction as most of the people Scotty runs into during the film — they’ll want to get away.
In Film Geek, film references fly fast and frequently at the viewer, and if you’re not “down” with the obscure titles and filmmakers Scotty spouts about, your patience is liable to run down quickly.
Scotty Pelk is a great character for film geeks to grab onto. He’s a physical embodiment of every nerdy obsession, every memorized movie line, every watched behind-the-scenes DVD documentary that those of us who get off on good cinema know all too well. He’s alternately pathetic and impressive. Through Scotty, film geeks get a peek at how the rest of the world perceives those of us who know they’re not “just movies.”
When he’s not diligently working at a video rental store with a fervor that seems to have long crossed over the line into obsession, Scotty’s writing essay after essay for his personal website that has yet to attain a single hit from anyone but him (gee, I wonder what that’s like). He’s a character to laugh at and, despite the fantastic job Melik Malkasian does portraying him, one of the film’s shortcomings is it never lets him become anything else.
The film carries the look of an independent feature, particularly one that could have been filmed with a home digital camera. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing... if only the rest of the film didn’t also feel so “home-made.” With the exception of Malkasian and John Breen, who plays Scotty’s boss, the rest of the cast acted as though they were merely friends of the director who begrudgingly agreed to play a part in his movie. Exceedingly amateurish cinematography almost completely ruins the film’s funniest gag in a music store when we aren’t immediately allowed to see Scotty’s reaction to a surprising development.