By Brad Laidman | January 21, 2001

“Loop Dreams” chronicles the low-budget production of the film “Blackmale” by wannabe junior Coen Brothers Mike and George Baluzy, who start out hoping to make a Tarantino movie and end up pretty happy to go home and do something else. It seems like a decent enough idea to me to have your assistant director film a documentary at the same time you make your movie. After all, worse case is that the shoot is a disaster and you have an entertaining travelogue with which to entertain your family and friends. This is pretty much the same territory “American Movie” tried to cover without the wonderful goofy presence of Mark Borchandt. By comparison the Baluzy brothers production seems just professional enough to be boring, and it doesn’t help things any that the co-directors become too cranky to actually submit to the process, often practically telling Harvey Hubbell and his documentary to buzz off and leave them to their quagmire.
This could have been pretty funny stuff. An expensive dolly breaks, the crew mutinies, one of the actors shows up with a battered face after losing a bar fight right before his key final scene, graves are robbed, and a blood stained poodle is slowly dragged down the street as its owner watches in horror. Unfortunately not much of this is actually caught on film, which leaves us with various crew members recounting the various disasters while trying to keep a straight face.
Where were the real questions and answers? What do the investors hope to earn back? Do they earn it back? What does all the stuff we see being filmed look like when it’s done? Did the movie turn out well? How much did it cost to film?
Personally, I would have been somewhat fascinated just to spend fifteen minutes or so with Blackmale star Roger Rees, the guy who played Robin Colcord on “Cheers”. Rees looks terribly unhappy that his career has come to this. When asked for a few words about his character he has nothing to say, but no one follows up with any interesting or relevant questions. If ever a production didn’t seem to deserve a musical “Rocky”-like montage ending, it would appear to be Blackmale. To Hubbell, it seems that even the accomplishment of a bad movie is something to be celebrated, but it seems pretty clear that no one really enjoyed the shoot other than actor Bokeem Woodbine, who appears to have spent six months lazing around on a couch. The Baluzy brothers seem more than willing to throw as much violence, sex, and weirdness into their film as they can, but in the end it still doesn’t make them very interesting.

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