Creator: Todd Solondz
Todd Solondz is a director of independent films who got his big break with the release of Welcome To The Dollhouse. He has since gone on to direct films such as Happiness, Storytelling, Palindromes, and more recently, Dark Horse.And his films are dark. He's made a name for himself as one of the most controversial and nihilistic cinematic minds working today, with his movies painting an increasingly misanthropic and brutal portrayal of existence, particularly in the New Jersey suburbs. They're loaded with Nightmare Fuel and Squick, so by no means are they for the squeamish. You have been warned.
Tropes found in himself and his work:
- The Bad Guy Wins
- Black Comedy: Of the cruelest, harshest kind imaginable. He's described himself as Judd Apatow's dark older brother.
- Black and Grey Morality: When not Evil Versus Evil outright. Welcome To The Dollhouse is the best example. Guess which side ends up winning?
- Brain Bleach: You're going to need it. And maybe some therapy. And alcohol.
- Crapsack World: Well, indeed. You will say holy shit.
- A Date with Rosie Palms
- Downer Ending: Quite fond of these.
- Dysfunction Junction: His characters, at the very least, aren't exactly happy, stable, moral, or all three.
- The Eeyore: Most of the time.
- Evil Versus Evil
- Euroshlock: Despite being American productions, his films nonetheless have a lot in common with this trope. Leave the Camera Running? Check. Gorn and Squick? Check. Overbearing angst and gloominess? Checkola.
- Gorn: Sometimes utilizes this.
- Humans Are Bastards: Arguably the defining element of his films. If there are characters that aren't depraved, selfish, or apathetic, expect them either to make a Face-Heel Turn or be crushed by the story's end. Or raped. Or dead. Or raped after death.
- Lighter and Softer: Bizarrely enough, some critics noted that Dark Horse, a film about an irritating Man Child in a bizarre, unloving romance with a depressed woman, was the least hateful of all his films. The New York Times argued that it was asking if the main character, despite all his flaws, was deserving of love - unlike the other films, which heap scorn on the protagonists.
- Mistaken for Racist: Satirizes race in Storytelling, where a bland, depressed white blonde is raped by her black professor while telling her to call him racist names. When she writes about it, her classmates dismiss her as a racist white girl.
- Misanthrope Supreme / Straw Nihilist: What critics of the films tend to stereotype him as. He's complained about it before, and several critics point out that, while the films are mocking and misanthropic, they still humanize their subjects.
- Refuge in Audacity: His jokes revolve around rape, child molestation, massacres, and bestiality. One of his most "sympathetic" protagonists fantasizes about killing children.
- Self-Deprecation: One of his films in Storytelling was a documentary writer who becomes increasingly misanthropic, bitter, and angry at the world, and paints his documentary subject, an everyday normal dude, in an incredibly harsh, hateful light. In the end, the everyday normal dude, who has his entire family killed by a disgruntled gardener, angrily tells off the writer. Sound familiar?
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Take a fucking guess.
- Villain Protagonist: The standard main character of a Solondz film, if they're not a complete Butt Monkey or Cosmic Plaything.
- You Can't Fight Fate: Noted to be incredibly fatalist.