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  • The Idea Thief: an existentialist farce? A commentary on unrequited love? Or a writer's ode to the precious, fleeting nature of "a good idea?" All of the above.

    Jon Skocik's sophomore effort sets itself up quickly, introducing the main character Joe (Joel Dickerson of Soda Can Love), a writer who finds himself at the mercy of a universe in which all of his best ideas are supplanted, commandeered and quickly published by the mysterious writer Dean King.

    Joe's co-worker and gal-pal Wendy, sympathetically played by Catherine Schulz is doing her best to keep Joe sane, but Wendy has her hands full, having just been dumped by her girlfriend. Unfortunately Joe sees this all as less the tragedy and more the opportunity – conveniently ignoring the fact that she is gay.

    Stormy, the stalwart friend, – played by the colorful Tom Figel – does his best to guide Joe through reality as he sees it. But despite all of his best intentions, Stormy's are the machinations of a man who has his feet firmly planted in the dreariness of a very literal workaday reality, never really seeming to grasp the ethereal nature of Joe's troubled world of words. Doesn't stop him from getting them into hot water, though.

    The other artist in the film, Pharaoh (Aki Jamal Durham), is sympathetic but completely engrossed in making his zombie film, an endeavor that parallels Joe's own struggle to have his art realized. Fittingly it is through a grant from Joe, desperate to see any creative effort brought to fruition, that Pharaoh is able to complete his film.

    Through all of this, Joe struggles to discover how his ideas are seemingly stolen right out of his head. The Idea Thief lightheartedly examines the nature of self doubt, the exploration of unrequited love, metaphysical thievery, and the contemplation of the unique, personal nature of a single idea, even if it is a universal one.

    Strong personalities and great themes competently intertwine here, yielding real, thought-provoking characters and the occasional belly laugh. The Idea Thief delivers the message that, often enough, when one stops doggedly trying to discover the "how," he is freed to understand the often more meaningful "why." Check it out – it is well worth your time.
  • rinpoche-2660211 January 2018
    Budgets are important. This Movie has a great premise and only the fact that it was a low budget Indie film kept it from the attention it deserved. Well directed, nicely conceived! I look forward to another from him!
  • Mix the philosophical comedy of David O. Russell with the reality bending of Charlie Kaufman, add in some Kevin Smith raunchiness and you might come up with something like Jon Skocik's The Idea Thief. On a much smaller budget of course, but this metaphysical detective story has an intelligent script, amiable cast, several funny sight gags and a hilarious film within a film called Dawn of the Ed that make it an indie winner. It has a lot to say about the struggle to reconcile the creative impulse with commercial and personal demands, not to mention conspiracy theories and "phantom selves". Artists in particular will relate to the core theme as expressed in a key line in the film: "What if the one thing you want most is the one thing you cannot have?"
  • If you are wanting to see the winner of the flagler film festival like I am, you might find yourself watching the idea thief. This movie had a great idea going in. I'm going to be negative and positive, the camera was crappy, the audio kept messing up and the acting was a bit cheesy, but it is a fun film and a super low budget, probably no budget film. It still had some funny parts and it was an alright movie, the idea was super awesome! I advise you don't come in with high expectations for a film that was shot for fun. Some lines made me laugh, but the way they were executed, It was just sometimes hard to watch. I found myself always tapping the screen to see when the end was. But all in all It was an okay movie for the time, budget, and actors they had. Hope this was helpful ~ Bryce Alec
  • THE IDEA THIEF is the uniquely-comical story of a fantasy writer's desperate dilemma, with everything from artistic high-jacking to the aspirations of independent filmmakers to alien conspiracies to resilient relationships.

    Jonathan R. Skocik directed, wrote and produced this highly-original 114-minute film which examines all of the above, with additional elements of Twilight Zone twists, vampires, zombies, lesbianism and more, but above all THE IDEA THIEF is the clever story of Joe: a young author whose intentions on writing original stories are thwarted at every turn when he learns that each and every one of his ideas are being appropriated and published by a mysterious writer named Dean King, containing every idea, character and subplot (indeed every word) before Joe has even begun to write them!

    This creepy concept goes beyond mere potentiality to become both amusing and serious. Underpinning the film's intriguing premise is realistic dialog, unexpected developments, suspects and sweethearts, but the film mainly portrays what it means to be young and full of dreams, of the agony and pain of intimate relationships, the loyalty and disloyalty of friends and the disappointment of creative urges not yet met.

    Characters are fully-developed and are not just adolescent stereotypes. A key moment occurs early in the film when Joe is comforting his girlfriend Wendy over her breakup with her lover while at the same time hoping to have a physical relationship with her as well; his ulterior motive makes him a realistic person who proves his true worth when he takes the high road and accepts her as a cute friend when his attempts to persuade her to "switch sides" fail.

    At one point an exasperated Joe moans "Just keep pluiggin' away, forget all reminders of what a complete utter failure I am," a statement every struggling artist can relate to, yet the director soon softens the blow with humor a moment later when Joe's girlfriend beats him in their chess game.

    The performances are convincing and believable. Particularly good with wonderful comic timing is Joel Dickerson as Joe, Catherine Schulz as his exasperated, sympathetic girlfriend Wendy, and Tom Figel as Joe's foul-mouthed buddy Stormy, a man who insults Joe at every turn while at the same time willing to defend him to his grave. Dickerson plays off all of them very well and is an extremely likable and totally-believable actor, but it is Aki Jamal Durham who steals the show as the enthusiastic and aspiring filmmaker Pharaoh; the actor's charismatic presence ignites every scene he's in and his immortal words "You can never have enough zombie movies" is a monster movie mantra in itself!

    Kirk Hazen's score is catchy and pleasant to listen to, getting into the head of the film's main character expressing his artistic angst, longing and frustrations. The cinematography by Mr. Skocik, Justin Beninati and Mark Rapp is noteworthy in their use of color, close-ups, framing and compositions, of subtly-effective tracking shots, night shots, shadows and clever angles, and their location photography of appalling Pittsburgh is particularly atmospheric.

    Mr. Skocik is a thinking man's director, keeping things moving by constantly peppering the atmosphere with salient conversation, but ultimately the movie is about young adults pressing-on amidst adversity and rejection, which, along with the film's satisfying conclusion, gives hope to those with a creative urge never to surrender their dreams.

    Jonathan Skocik's film is both wonderfully entertaining and thought- provoking and bodes well for a remarkable future in cinema, from its intriguing story to its convincing characters and its unpredictable ending. In summation then THE IDEA THIEF is a movie well-worth a look.

    Several, in fact.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The Idea Thief is an actualization of a major paranoid complex of authors of all sorts regarding their work, utilizing the old but still viable device of a movie within a movie to explore its ramifications. It is framed comedically, and there is an interesting cast made of large student aged actors in this low-to-no-budget oeuvre from Western Pennsylvania. I actually found myself somewhat involved in the interior movie which is why I downrated it a bit.(A zombie pic where they outright win?-oh, it isn't a real movie? Drat it! It is like the "it was a dream" in the Wizard of Oz-deflating). A point was also deducted for being able to see the punchline shortly into it, but at least no tortuous "twist" was added out of lack of anything better to think of, and the watcher is played fairly. I look forward to seeing more from this director.