Radio Free Albemuth (R)
That said, it's easy to glean why this unapologetically niche film nearly died on the vine. Albemuth is set in an alternate-reality California, where the country's increasingly fascistic president keeps tabs on the population through a uniformed volunteer group named Friends of the American People. Fans of the author will recognize its autobiographical elements: Our heroes are a gruff science fiction writer named Phil (Shea Wigham) and his (only?) friend Nick (Jonathan Scarfe), who exhibits spiritual parallels to the real-life Dick when he begins receiving powerful visions from a mysterious source he calls VALIS. The visions lead him to a record executive job in Los Angeles (here a pit of "subversive" elements contrasted with the clean-cut Berkeley), where he takes up with an earnest woman named Sylvia (Alanis Morissette), who's experiencing similar visions.
Previous Dick adaptations, like Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly, picked up his unruly imagination and ran wild with it; this one plays out as a fairly straightforward spiritual testimony laden with distracting special effects. The actors, meanwhile, seem uniformly unable to raise their voices above a breathy monotone to deliver dialogue that's either self-consciously expository or vaguely porn-y ("Grass makes me super horny.") In an alternate universe, this might be a cult hit; as it is, Albemuth will only be fun for diehards.