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The greatest man who has ever eaten tuna.

"Fateful Findings is a work of sheer BREENIUS."
Adam Johnston describing the grand master’s magnum opus.
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Who is Neil Breen? Why, he’s the best that’s ever been.

To be more accurate, Neil Francis Breen (born November 23, 1958) works as a Las Vegas-based real-estate agent and architect, but is more well-known for his forays into independent filmmaking since the mid-2000s. As a director / writer / producer / actor / art director / head financier / editor / composer / caterer, he's directed a series of films dealing with supernatural events, government conspiracies, untrustworthy men in high places, marital strife, loneliness, and a moral center saving the others from their corruptness. And they all stink on ice.

In the past decade, Breen has come into internet infamy, thanks in part to review sites such as RedLetterMedia, YourMovieSucks.org, and The Cinema Snob taking on his efforts. The incompetence of his films, from acting to production value, takes on new levels of So Bad, It's Good on film that have yet to be seen. Not only has this propelled him to cult stardom, he's used this newfound popularity to his advantage, having his fans kickstart his films rather than having to finance them himself.

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Despite this, Breen is a stellar example of what a true independent filmmaker can be. The fact that this is a man who doesn't need to do this, but chooses to do so simply because he's so passionate about what he does is somewhat inspiring, to say the least. Not only that, but because his films have increasingly relied on crowdfunding, they're coming out more and more often, a far cry from the days when they were released every three to five years on the salaries from his day jobs. While he may not be the most talented artist, Breen's enthusiasm, passion and drive to create the kinds of films he wants without studio interference make him a true example of an independent artist.

If you want to keep up with the man's myth and legend, you can find him on Twitter and YouTube. If you want a quick primer on the works of Breen, check out YMS's review of Fateful Findings. RLM has episodes featuring more in-depth looks at Double Down, Pass Thru,note , Twisted Pair, and The Neil Breen 5-Film Retrospective. There's also the Cinema Snob's take on Double Down, I Am Here....Now and Fateful Findings. And if you want to see what a legitimate Hollywood editor thinks of Breen's style, check out this video from This Guy Edits.

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Filmography

  • Double Down (2005)
  • I Am Here....Now (2009)
  • Fateful Findings (2013)
  • Pass Thru (2016)
  • Twisted Pair (2018)
  • The Neil Breen 5-Film Retrospective (2020)

The works of Neil Breen include examples of:

  • Accidental Aiming Skills: In Fateful Findings, Amy somehow gets a perfect headshot through her husband's skull... despite aiming for his car. See also Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy.
  • Anachronism Stew: Laptops and flip phones aside, Neil makes no attempt to properly depict an accurate Period Piece. The prologue to Fateful Findings is supposed to be set several decades prior to present day, yet Leah's parents somehow possess a Lexus RX 330 that debuted in 2003, and a 2010 Ford Fusion can be seen in the background when the camera shifts to young Dylan standing in the middle of the road.
  • Artistic License – Astronomy: In I Am Here....Now, The Being claims to have had much better success at sowing life on the other planets in the solar system, complete with highly-improbable ecosystems whose population have apparently advanced enough to grasp the importance of nature and respect it. This is neverminding the fact that Venus and Mercury are too close to the Sun and have atmospheres too toxic to support life, and the other planets barring Earth and Mars are all gas giants, with even worse atmospheric compositions than the former two.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Should you decide to consume immense quantities of canned tuna like Aaron Brand does in Double Down, you would find yourself afflicted with a severe case of mercury poisoning in very short order. Must have been his "bio-electro-medical implants" at work.
    • The wheelchair-bound old man in I Am Here....Now bemoans his ailing health and the futility of the numerous chemotherapy sessions he's been through. This same old man has a full head of hair and a beard worthy of Santa Claus, despite full-body hair loss being one of the main side effects of chemotherapy that wouldn't subside until at least half a year after treatment has ended.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Any trained firearm enthusiast would cringe into their own ribcage at the ridiculously Reckless Gun Usage in Neil's films. Most of the time, his characters would fire wildly at nothing in particular, holster "hot" firearms in their pants or pockets, aim at other people around them with their fingers on the trigger, or even pointing the guns at themselves just to look "cool" or "crazy". Semi-justified in-universe at least, since many of these characters are often mentally-unhinged criminals or crime lords who treat others like garbage anyway, though Neil himself runs afoul of this every now and then.
  • Artistic License – Medicine:
    • Every character with substance abuse in Neil's films are instantly affected by whatever they take, however they take it, whether it is heroin or normal medication. They even OD immediately after taking the drugs if Neil intends for them to die, despite the process being very drawn-out and gruesome in reality, though in this case it's probably for the better that we don't get to see it.
    • You don't get to just stop taking your medication at the drop of a hat like Dylan/Neil does in Fateful Findings, especially if those were prescribed to improve your condition after recovering from a near death experience, like a car crash for example. Even if his recovery is nothing short of miraculous, he still seemed to suffer from residual pains, which is what his meds are likely for, which goes away immediately after he stops taking them.
  • Awesome McCoolname: You can't get cooler names than "Aaron Brand", "Thgil", or "Cade/Cale Altair".
  • Bait-and-Switch: In Twisted Pair, the protagonist breaks into a woman's house and attacks her in an apparent attempt to rape her. Then it turns out that they're actually a couple role-playing. It's probably supposed to be a nod to the famous Bait-and-Switch scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, where Sundance forces Etta to perform a Shameful Strip before revealing that it's just a sex game. In this film, however, the "lovers" get into a violent fistfight, complete with our hero calling his girlfriend a bitch.
  • Black-and-White Morality: His films make it very clear who are supposed to be the bad guys and who are supposed to be the good guys. Don't expect anyone to have a moral dilemma.
  • Broken Record: Characters in his movies have this strange tendency to repeat whatever they've just said, occasionally several times in a row, but mostly just Neil. He is particularly guilty of this, which is made worse (or better, depending on how you slice it) by how he's compelled to add a Beat in between each repetition.
    The Being: "Why are the humans failing?...I've given them everything...I've given them everything...Everything..."
  • Captain Obvious: Most of the fundamentals Neil teaches in the Five-Film Retrospective are common sense to anyone who's watched at least one behind-the-scenes featurette or commentary track. For example, he dedicates over an hour discussing what makes a good "character image", but it never goes beyond the superficial.
    Jay: I can see [Neil] explaining this to some dumb relative at a Christmas dinner party, but... anyone else with cursory knowledge will already know this stuff.
    Mike: Neil Been is the uncle that won't leave at the end of the party.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The villains of his movies will outright admit to being corrupt and love every moment of it. Don't expect any motive beyond that.
  • Chest of Medals: Near the end of Double Down, Aaron Brand puts on a denim vest with an assortment of military medals. Yes, that includes the Purple Heart.
  • Chroma Key: All of Neil's films feature some degree of green screen work, and all of it is terribly done.
  • Cold Ham: Neil's protagonists always manage to be both stiff as a board and deliciously hammy at the same time. All that Dull Surprise helps out a lot, no doubt.
    • This comes up several times throughout the course of every film, but Fateful Findings takes the cake with the scene where Dylan finds Jim dead in his garage, having supposedly shot himself. Dylan's dialogue was apparently supposed to be heart-wrenching and emotional, due to Jim being his best friend and all, but Neil's stiff and monotonous delivery coupled with emphasis on the wrong words make it sound more tired and disappointed than anything else. Almost like a parent who can't get their kids to listen.
    • In the same film, Dylan's reaction when he discovers the female doctor to have been Leah all this time sounds more like an angry parent chastising their kid than someone reuniting with his childhood sweetheart.
    • A girl watches her boyfriend get shot by gang members in ''I Am Here....Now". Her reaction shot starts off with an utterly blank expression, followed by a blood-curdling scream while not changing her expression other than to open her mouth, then back to the same blank look.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: All his films feature untrustworthy, wealthy business leaders acting for their personal greed and self-interests, counter to the morality and values that are championed by Neil Breen.
  • Creator Provincialism: Las Vegas, Nevada and the deserts surrounding it appear as settings.
  • Creator Thumbprint:
    • A protagonist who is morally superior to the other character, who is granted supernatural abilities that approach god-like or who is a straight up god, always played by Neil Breen.
    • Supernatural events affecting the normal state of the world.
    • The landscapes of Nevada. Expect desert skulls to be featured.
    • Promoting specific forms of technological innovation as useful for the advancement of human life, often opposed by or corrupted by government and corporate business.
    • Characters flailing around like they never moved before in their lives.
    • Dead wife and/or wife who has no bra. No bras at all for any female characters, to be precise.
    • Characters filmed from the neck up with the sky as a background so that their scenes may be inserted anywhere in the story regardless of that location of the scene. Alternatively, so that scenes can be filmed in public without worrying about what's happening in the background.
    • Characters unable to refer to anything using proper nouns or specific names, i.e. The Morally Bankrupt Banker who is simply president of "the bank"; world leaders eliminated by Breen at the end of Pass Thru are "the President" and "the Prime Minister"; elected politicians in "the legislature" have no party affiliation.
    • Denim. Lots and lots of denim. No matter the film, someone has to wear jeans at one point or another. Almost everybody wears jeans in fact, except for those designated to play the Corrupt Corporate Executive, who infallibly wear suits all the time, even at night. Bonus points goes to Neil himself, who wore nothing but denim at times in Double Down and Pass Thru.
  • Crack Is Cheaper: The Neil Breen Five-Film Retrospective, which is actually a five hour filmmaking course taught by the man himself, retails for a whopping $160. That's cheaper than most college film courses, but the dubious quality of instruction isn't worth nearly that much money.
  • Crusading Widower: In Double Down and Fateful Findings, but his character in the latter gets along quite fine soon enough.
  • Cyber Punk: Albeit in a very low-budget form.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: In I Am Here....Now, an overheard conversation between the two female leads is apparently so sexy that a passing cyclist crashes his bike and says "wow" over and over again.
  • Die, Chair! Die!: If laptops appear in his films, do expect them to be bludgeoned, smashed, or otherwise physically damaged at least five times per movie.
  • Dramatic Ellipsis: The title of ''I Am Here....Now". Which has one more dot than an ellipsis should have. Adam of YMS.org never fails to read the title off as written: "I Am Here. (long pause) Now."
  • Dull Surprise: The greatest tool in Breen's arsenal as an actor.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: invoked Neil Breen deliberately leaves any possible symbolism in his movie unexplained and encourages the audience to come up with their own interpretations.
  • Fanservice: His earlier films often include scenes of partially-nude young women just because. Also, bras don't seem to exist in the universe of his movies.
  • Fan Disservice: And also nude scenes of himself. The pool scene in Double Down even shows flashes of his genitals.
    The Cinema Snob: [in his review of Double Down] I now know what Neil Breen's balls look like...and they don't have Mark Shannon's warts so there's that.Explanation 
  • Filler: The five-hour long Five-Film Retrospective serves as this in the greater context of Breen's filmography, as he waits for someone to bankroll his next project.
  • Healing Hands: A common power for Breen's characters to possess.
    Thgil: You are now free... of PTSD.
    PTSD Survivor: Thank you for freeing me.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Often a central hero and always played by Neil Breen. Perhaps the best example of this is when he is able to somehow hack into a normal car, with just his cellphone.
  • Homeless Hero: In Double Down, Aaron Brand does his contract hacking and assassination work while living in his car and eating nothing but canned tuna. This gets a bit ridiculous when he casually mentions that he makes tens of millions from his work, but donates everything to charity. Surely nobody would mind if he kept a tiny portion of his pay for himself so he didn’t have to live in squalor.
  • I Am the Noun: Twisted Pair gives us this rare gem:
    Cade: I don't need to carry a weapon! I AM the weapon!
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: In Fateful Findings, Amy somehow manages to completely miss the huge red Ferrari that she's actually trying to shoot, and puts a bullet in her own husband's head.note 
  • Info Dump: Expect a metric ton of these in all of Neil's films. Nobody seems to grasp what Show, Don't Tell means, and will spout torrents of exposition at the drop of a hat because Neil can't ever be subtle with his writing.
    Dylan: I'm going to continue hacking into these government systems... *TAP TAP TAP* ...to see what I can find out... *TYPE TYPE TYPE* ...about all this naaaaaational and international corruption I KNOW is going on... *TAP TAP TAP* ...
    • His earlier films such as Double Down and I Am Here....Now seem to fluctuate between this and being needlessly cryptic for no apparent reason. There never seems to be "just enough" exposition in his masterful writing.
  • Insistent Terminolgy: In the 5-Film Retrospective, Neil boasts repeatedly about making "5 theatrical, professionally shot, professionally made, independently produced feature films".
  • Jerkass:
    • Expect at least one character in each of his movies to be a dick to someone just to be petty or for no reason at all.
    • In fact, Neil's protagonists often cause mass deaths or unnecessary suffering to the "evil" characters on levels way above their own villainy. Disproportionate Retribution alone won't cut it.
  • Kavorka Man: Let's face it, Neil is not a very good looking man, even for his age. Yet, very beautiful (and young) women will just drop into his lap seemingly at the drop of a hat. Many of his love interests will appear to be several decades younger than Neil himself, despite ostensibly being of the same age in-universe.
  • The Klutz: The characters in his films are constantly falling, flailing, dropping stuff, bumping into each other, and simply floundering through their daily lives. This is probably a result of limited rehearsal time and filming few takes.
  • Leave the Camera Running: That is, if he's not using stock footage in his films.
  • Magic Realism: The fantastical elements in his films aren't treated as a big deal by the otherwise normal characters. Either that, or an effect of the crappy acting.
  • May–December Romance: Not strictly mentioned, but rather implied. The love interests in his films are always portrayed by very young women, while he himself is approaching his early 60s, and usually goes without even the least bit of makeup to make him seem younger than he really is. The implication is that Neil's protagonists and the love interests are of roughly equal age in-universe, though it's very hard not to think otherwise. One example is the case of Fateful Findings, where Neil's character reconnects with his childhood sweetheart, who's played by an actress clearly decades younger than Neil. I Am Here....Now takes this up to eleven by pairing a young woman in her 20s with a multi-billion-years-old Being, who is possibly ageless.
  • Messianic Archetype: All of his protagonists are, increasingly with each new movie, presented, with varying levels of bluntness, as Jesus (minus the act of self-sacrifice). I Am Here....Now and Pass Thru in particular are about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the face.
  • Mind Screw: All his movies.
  • Motifs: Broken laptops, strangely.
  • No Endor Holocaust: In Pass Thru, 300 million people have been "eliminated" by Neil Breen's character, many of them high-ranking government and corporate officials ("The President" is the first one to vanish). The consequences of this are completely ignored. In fact, his character gives a speech telling people to rise up against corrupt governments and corporations despite the fact that he already had them all killed or made to "vanish."
  • No Indoor Voice: Many of his characters have problems with volume control. These are usually criminals and/or antagonists, who supposedly shout at the top of their lungs all the time to assert their domination. In instances where Neil's protagonists interact with these people, it's usually Ham-to-Ham Combat.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Neil and his protagonists are very seldom seen smiling, and are comically deadpan, if not highly upset most of the time. During the rare moments where they do smile, it's always in a most stiff, forced and insincere manner.
  • Prop Recycling: Breen owns several non-working (and in many cases, visibly broken) cell phones and laptops, which he uses repeatedly in all his movies, working with them despite it being plainly obvious that their screens aren't lit up. Guaranteed at least one will be seen destroyed, as they can easily be "repaired" for the next scene.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: It doesn't matter if the characters he plays commit acts like genocide, Neil Breen has his movies make it clear that they're on the moral high ground and is not afraid to show it.
    • In Double Down, Aaron Brand/Neil finds it appropriate to contaminate lake Mead with deadly anthrax just to test it out on some random fish. Granted, he does perform other morally-dubious acts throughout the film, but the poisoning goes one step above due to lake Mead being one of the major fresh water reservoirs for three statesnote  and even a part of Mexico, that provides for some 20 million people and large areas of farmland. Clearly collateral damage is no big deal for him.
    • In Pass Thru, Thgil “vanishes” 300 million people that he deems morally evil. Even if we argue that there is some justification in going after the truly irredeemable, we still see him get rid of two random security guards that were completely passive towards him, and two newscasters whose crime is that they work for a Strawman News Media (along with someone else who was unlucky to be in the same room as them). He also reveals in his big "World of Cardboard" Speech that Reality Television stars are also apparently deserving of this fate.
    • One especially disturbing scene in Twisted Pair has him creepily stalking an innocent woman to her home, break in in the middle of the night, and proceeds to assault and then Mind Rape her into falling in love with him. Need I remind you that his character is supposed to be the good guy?
      • Apparently, the whole thing is supposedly a Bait-and-Switch, and the pair is actually roleplaying for whatever reason, but due to Neil's masterful writing, the viewer will likely not pick up on this at first blush, and be left with the impression that this supposed champion of righteousness just got away with doing a very heinous act without anyone calling him out on it.
  • Random Events Plot: Every one of his movies.
  • Self-Insert Fic
  • Show Within a Show: For whatever reason, parts of Pass Thru are played on a home theater screen near the end of Twisted Pair.
  • Special Effects Failure: invoked From basic dissolves to terrible compositing to copious amounts of the least convincing blood in all of cinema, it's all here.
  • Spiritual Successor: You could consider Breen to be a present-day Ed Wood. Both made films that most would say are "terrible", but there are some who'd find their films endearing and would glowingly love their optimism for making movies simply because they loved making them. The only sliding difference is Breen also has his career as an architect and real-estate agent as a secondary balance career, while Ed Wood unfortunately didn't.
  • Stock Footage: His films are often padded with stock footage of Las Vegas buildings and nightlife, the Nevada desert, swimming dolphins, the cosmos, and various CGI effects.
  • Time Travel: His character in Pass Thru is apparently an AI from the future that somehow traveled back to present time to take over some random junkie's body, supposedly to cleanse the world of Corrupt Corporate Executives, politicians, evil governments, crime lords, and more. By the end of the movie, some 300 million people have been "vanished" by the protagonist, the ramifications of which are never touched upon. Somehow this radical alteration of the past does not lead to an Alternate Timeline.
  • Touched by Vorlons: His protagonists are usually this, if they aren't already inexplicably divine or supernaturally-powerful, or are Vorlons themselves, as in the case of I Am Here....Now.
  • Twin Threesome Fantasy: A pair of twin sisters are forced into prostitution in I Am Here....Now. They're not identical but a lot of the male characters seem delighted nonetheless.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Because Breen apparently only had one stock image to hand for the greenscreened background of his character's big speech in the finale of Fateful Findings, it ends up making it look as though a mass suicide of corrupt politicians is taking place literally only a few feet away from his character, with neither he nor the assembled press considering it worthy of much attention.
  • You Keep Using That Word: It's quite apparent by now that Neil doesn't really understand the meaning of the big words he likes to incorporate into his scripts.
    • Perhaps the greatest misuse of a buzzword in his films is "humanoid" in Twisted Pair, which the unseen extra-terrestrials are mentioned to turn the protagonist and his brother into. Problem is, as a human, you can't be anymore humanoid than you already are. Furthermore, it's an adjective used to physically describe a being, while Neil supposedly uses it to refer to his powers.
    • And then there's that part in Pass Thru where Thgil (poorly) explains the mechanics of time travelling, using an array of mostly tangentially-related notions and concepts that Neil likely heard from the Discovery Channel or something. And he also mispronounces some of them.
      Thgil: Quatum Fisics.

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