Fan Film, Fan Films

News: Fan Film Director Helms American Pie 5

Apie5The goal of many fan film directors is to eventually, somehow, helm a major motion picture. While there’s been a few folks who made the jump to working in “real” films in various capacities, no one has made the leap to the director’s chair…except Joe Nussbaum, who helmed the classic fan film, George Lucas In Love, in 1999. His first feature, MGM’s Sleepover (2004), was savaged by critics, with even the generally undiscriminating Richard Roeper noting, “This is a terrible film.” Luckily, Nussbaum got a second chance of sorts, and American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile, a straight-to-DVD production, hit stores a week before Christmas. To clairfy, this isn’t a case of a movie that was so bad that they changed their minds about a theatrical release; it was produced specifically for the DVD market. With six weeks now under its belt (that is, if it was wearing a belt; after all, it is naked), we figured it was time to check in and see how the DVD is doing.

While Naked Mile hasn’t received quite the critical beatdown that Sleepover did (in part because it never reached theaters), it’s gotten a mixed reception nonetheless. A review that closes with “The Naked Mile is hilarious, sexy fun that is about as uninhibited as it gets,” may be something of a surprise, but the fact that it came from Maxim Online probably shouldn’t be. When you consider that the Naked Mile website suggests you check out the movie’s promotional games and clips–which happen to reside at Maxim Online–the review gets sadly even less surprising.

So how is the film really faring? It’s hard to tell, but the DVD debuted on Video Business Magazine’s Dec. 24 sales chart at Number 12 and slowly dropped out of the top 20 after three weeks. Similarly, it dropped out of the Top 20 rentals chart after three weeks as well. Before you write it off, however, it has been in the top three for the Top Non-Theatrical Renters chart since it debuted, taking the number one spot for half those weeks.

What all this points to–and this is purely an educated guess–is that while surely no one involved expected a runaway smash, being straight-to-DVD and all, the release probably has probably done the kind of business they needed it to do. As for the fans’ take on it, using the highly esteemed RottenTomatoes.Com as a guide, Naked Mile has gotten a 33 percent positive reaction…and lest you think that sucks, consider this: The previous straight-to-DVD installment, American Pie Presents: Band Camp, only earned a 21 percent rating. It’s also a step up on the comeback trail for Nussbaum, because while it doesn’t match George Lucas In Love’s stellar 80 percent, it’s a boomerang from the lowly 16 percent earned by Sleepover. In fact, the only downside is that they’ll probably make another thin slice of Pie before long.

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