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Throwing Up Seconds (southland tales mention)

Kirk Miller

Saturday 22 July 2006, by Webmaster

Clerks 2 opens today, and reviews (so far) have been kind. It represents a comeback for director Kevin Smith, who exploded onto the indie-film scene in 1994 with the original Clerks ... and, despite a few misfires (Jersey Girl), managed to worm his way into the Hollywood A-list. Not all indie directors make the grade, however. Here are eight “breakout” stars who never fulfilled their initial cinematic promise.

1) Anthony Waller: The Lebanese-born director created a moody thriller with 1994’s Mute Witness, which featured a nonspeaking protagonist, a movie-within-a-movie and a cameo by the legendary Alec Guinness, who had filmed his scene nine years earlier. His next flick? An American Werewolf in Paris, and it didn’t get better from there.

2) Allison Anders: Along with Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, Anders was supposed to be the next big indie director from the mid-90s. Her debut, Gas Food Lodging, won accolades for its heart-tugging tale of a mother raising two daughters in a tiny New Mexico town. But a few failed big-screen ops later, and you might know Anders as one of several nondescript TV directors, most recently for Sex and the City and Cold Case.

3) Wes Anderson: Yes, I’m prepared to be hated. But listen: After a charming, low-budget debut (Bottle Rocket) and a home run follow-up (Rushmore), the potentially brilliant Anderson has crafted two annoying, self-important “comedies” (The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic) that made little money ... or sense. Oh, and your friends who like these flicks? They’re annoying.

4) Troy Duffy:Don’t become a player too quickly in Hollywood. This bartender-turned-filmmaker got a lot of buzz in the mid-90s for his script The Boondock Saints ... only to piss away all his new H-town buddies with his egocentric attitude. The film, once considered the next big Miramax discovery, ended up coming out years later with a reduced budget and little publicity; you can watch a documentary (Overnight) detailing Duffy’s quick crash-and-burn.

5) Kurt Wimmer: A so-so screenwriter (The Thomas Crown Affair) made a little-seen sci-fi flick in 2002 called Equilibrium. But a cult following for the film, a remarkable Matrix-meets-1984 hybrid starring Christian Bale, soon followed, allowing Wimmer to release the similarly themed, bigger budget Ultraviolet this year ... only to get pelted with some of the worst reviews any director has ever seen.

6) Justin Lin: The Taiwanese-born director made a remarkable coming-of-age flick (Better Off Tomorrow) in 2002, detailing the young lives of a group of overachieving, bored Asian American students. His Hollywood pedigree, however (Annapolis, The Fast and the Furious 3: Tokyo Drift) has been unimaginative and hackneyed.

7) Lee Tamahori: Write about what you know. When the New Zealand director concentrated on a small family drama about his homeland (Once Were Warriors), he was genius. When he started doing Bond films (Die Another Day) and period pieces (Mulholland Falls), his cinematic gift disappeared.

8) Richard Kelly: Donnie Darko was a dark, eerie, out-of-nowhere masterpiece. His bigger follow-up, Southland Tales (starring The Rock!) was eviscerated at Cannes and may not even get theatrical distribution.