Join us weekly as Rotten Tomatoes reports on what s opening, expanding, and coming to the specialty box office. From promising releases from new voices to experimental efforts from storied filmmakers – or perhaps the next indie darling to go the distance for end-of-year accolades – we will break it all down for you here each week in Fresh Indie Finds. This week at the specialty box office, we have a horror film about a sinister dress, an atmospheric teen thriller from writer-director Jennifer Reeder, and a SXSW favorite about a troubled college freshman who s revisited by his childhood imaginary friend. In our spotlight section, we have the French love story Portrait of a Lady on Fire, and in our indie trailer section, we have a new clip from a film co-starring Peter Dinklage and the second trailer for the Shia LaBeouf-penned and Alma Har el-directed Honey Boy.Opening This Weekend
This might sound strange considering it just premiered on The CW, but the network and Warner Bros. Television should bring back Swamp Thing.We’ll be honest, we were big fans of the series when it debuted on the DC Universe streaming service last year. Both feeling like a proper Swamp Thing comic and the mature readers line of comics it spawned in the 1990s, it took its subject seriously and began building out a fascinating world for Swamp Thing and his true love, Dr. Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed), to explore. Oh, also, it was not afraid to introduce a relationship between a woman and a plant-based creature. Its mixture of gothic romance and horror set it apart from the other offerings on the service and just about every other DC show Warner Bros. Television had in production at the time. Then, it was over before it even really began.So we’re definitely pleased to see people are finally discovering the magic in the swamps around Marais, Louisiana, thanks to The CW’s rebroadcast of the series.Which means it’s time for Warner Television and The CW to hear us out: We need more Swamp Thing. But before we can make our case, let’s look back on what happened to the show in the first place.The Fall and Rise of Swamp ThingAs part of the original DC Universe lineup – which include the live action Titans, Doom Patrol, Stargirl and the animated Young Justice and Harley Quinn, a lot of money was poured into the series. Battlestar Galactica’s Mark Verheiden took on the task of developing the series and an expensive swamp set was built near Wilmington, North Carolina. As opposed to the previous Swamp Thing series, this new version would focus on Abby and her experiences coming back to her hometown and facing a “swampborne” virus.At least, that was the initial pitch.Reed was soon cast as Abby and the ensemble filled out with Maria Sten, Will Patton, Henderson Wade, and Kevin Durand all playing characters from various Swamp Thing stories. Virginia Madsen and Jennifer Beals played characters made for the series to round out its world while Jeryl Prescott and Ian Ziering signed up to become the first live action versions of Madame Xanadu and Blue Devil – DC Characters with their own supernatural histories. Meanwhile, Derek Mears was cast in the title role with Andy Bean as Swamp Thing’s human form, Dr. Alec Holland.As DC Universe went live, production began, but trouble soon followed once it, DC Universe, and the whole of Warner Bros. empire became part of the AT T family. The newly reformatted WarnerMedia took stock of its assets and Swamp Thing seemed something of an outlier. In April 2019, the last three episodes were slashed from the order forcing a brief production pause so Verheiden and his staff could turn episode 10 into a season finale. Some reports suggested creative differences were to blame while others pointed to a miscalculated tax credit as the cause of the fuss.(Photo by 2020 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.)Then the first episode streamed on DC Universe that May. But before the second could reach fans, DC Universe pulled the plug. No clear reason was given — beyond the first inkling that DC Universe would not be long for this world — and the stories of creative tension and budget shortfalls sprang up again. Some pointed to that swamp set and its price tag as being too rich for the new bosses. In any event, it was clear the series didn t fit with the already-brewing vision of a Warner streaming service which would emerge as HBO Max, and so it was the only DC Universe scripted series to get the axe.It is ironic then, that Swamp Thing’s CW premiere would vault into the broadcast top 10 its week.In a curious twist of fate, The CW acquired the broadcast rights to the series early last summer. Due to the worldwide pandemic, the network decided to postpone all of its usual fall offerings to 2021 as it was clear production could not resume in time for the customary October premieres. In lieu of The Flash and Legacies, The CW hoped Swamp Thing and the Canadian drama Coroner could fill the gap. So far, the bet is paying off with Swamp Thing’s 90-minute premiere earning a 0.2 rating with 1.1 million viewers – reportedly the best numbers the network has seen in its timeslot since May.And considering the show just gets better with each episode, it is entirely possible Swamp Thing could become a hit The CW would want more of in the years ahead. Network president Mark Pedowitz suggested last May a discussion between the network and Warner Bros. Television could happen under the right circumstances. Granted, putting a second season together would be as big of a challenge as designing a quality Swamp Thing TV show in the first place.The Challenge of The Swamp Thing
(Photo by Universal / courtesy Everett Collection)20 Movies To Watch If You Loved The Breakfast ClubIf you re looking for more movies like The Breakfast Club, you ve come to the right place, princess. Or criminal. Or basket case. Or whoever you identify with from John Hughes timeless high school classic of disaffected youth. If you re new to school, Hughes was the outsider king of 80s cinema. The other movies of the era he was involved with Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller s Day Off, Pretty in Pink, and Some Kind of Wonderful are nearly equal in stature to Breakfast Club.A lot of high school movies are about partying, and there s certainly some of those necessary classics in this guide (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Dazed and Confused), but Breakfast Club is beloved for synthesizing the emotional and mental states of those further down the social ladder. A lot of these stories are told from male perspectives, like in broad comedies Weird Science or Better Off Dead, the fight-ready My Bodyguard or Lucas, the sincerely devastating Dead Poets Society, and the bring-on-the- 90s Pump Up the Volume.Of course, much of the appeal of John Hughes movies is that they aren t just boys clubs. Thanks to his groundbreaking works, high school cinema opened up for female-centric stories, including the black comedy satire Heathers and the frothy Clueless, which would lead the way into the new century for Mean Girls and The Edge of Seventeen.The 21st century got its high school outsider poster boy with Napoleon Dynamite in 2004. As the internet became ubiquitous and we became more connected and young people more empathetic (we hope), high school movies evolved into ground zero for a new class of protagonists we wouldn t have seen even in prior years. For proof, see Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, or the LGBTQ-focused Booksmart and Love, Simon. The movies of John Hughes, who sought to save the hearts and souls of the young before they were sacrificed to society and class hierarchy, helped make these movies possible.What would you recommend to someone who loved The Breakfast Club?