This article contains opinion
“The Fanatic” starts with some of the wonkiest hardboiled narration (“Los Angeles…I call it a city of bulls****ers.”), and it’s all downhill from there.
“The Fanatic,” directed by Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit fame and starring John Travolta, is a movie that can’t really be described qualitatively. It transcends any reasonable metric of good or bad.
This weirdly is not Durst’s directorial debut. It’s his third feature. We live in a world where a man who belted out the lyrics “I did all for the nookie” has directed three feature films. Wild!
Yes, the film is poorly made. The script, which was co-written by Durst with Dave Bekerman, has some incredibly stilted dialogue. By any meaningful metric, the film is an utter disaster, but it’s also one of the best times I’ve had watching a movie this year.
The film follows autistic street performer Moose (Travolta) as he goes from weirdo film fan at a signing to full-on stalker of his favorite action hero, Hunter Dunbar (Devon Sawa, yes, the guy being stalked is the guy who played the most famous obsessed fan of them all).
We’re introduced to Travolta in this film, sporting one of the greatest cinematic mullets, with the line “I can’t talk long. I gotta poo.”
Travolta is fully committed to this and whatever insane thing Durst has planned for him after. Dress him up like an old-timey London cop? Yup. Getting bullied by fellow street performers and bad vape boys? You bet. Burning film memorabilia in effigy? Check, check and check.
It’s certainly not a good performance, but Travolta commits hard to the bit of Moose’s descent into madness. He takes any chance to snarl, scream and chew as much scenery as possible. There’s a certain level of pleasure to watching Travolta’s descent from respected leading man to second-rate Nic Cage.
The only performance that might be considered good in this car crash is Sawa’s. He understands the trashy Lifetime original vibe that this movie deserves to have, so where as everyone around him takes this dumpster fire seriously, he seems in on the joke. He even sells lines like, “You OK with some music? A little Limp Bizkit…this is hot,” with ease.
So, if you ever wanted to see Casper the Friendly Ghost out-act John Travolta, this is the film for you.
The film might have more crazy logic leaps than anything I’ve seen this year, awful dialogue, a wild Travolta performance and truly inept filmmaking, but it’s such a good time that it’s hard not to recommend.
The lower Travolta’s career sinks, the more I enjoy the trash he puts into this world.