Sunday 18 October 2015

IMDb Bottom 100 Review – Number 44 Ben & Arthur

Wow this movie, you guys. Just wow. I've written some 50+ reviews and I've seen some shit so far. I've seen some downright bodacious stuff during the past almost two years of watching these movies and writing about them, but nothing, absolutely nothing, could have prepared me for the spectacle of suck that is Ben & Arthur. The cover seemed cheesy, but it's deceiving, cheesy doesn’t even cover this movie by a long shot. I don't know what the hell kind of astral shit had to align to make this movie happen. It's a film that simultaneously invokes a belief in a malevolent deity and immediately following that realization disproves it. I'm usually not hard pressed to write these reviews, but I honestly don't know what to do with this one. Oh well, I guess you should just read on and we'll see if we can finish this journey together, shall we? Tonight, we look at...

"Duu de duu. Just dousing gasoline on a man of the cloth."

Ben & Arthur (2002)

There is so much in this movie that just blew my mind and it wasn't blown in the way it was when I went to see The Matrix having only heard the summary 'it's about hackers in space' from a friend who is hard of seeing or possibly not all there. No, this movie blew my mind in the polar opposite way. I literally couldn't even with this. To say this is amateurish would be an insult to kids everywhere who have ever picked up a camera and shot a shitty homemade movie. Everything, and I mean everything in this movie looks like it was done by 13 year olds who have given up on life, but it's not only that. It's not that the technical part of it, and the script and acting and sound and plot and characters were so horribly crappy I wanted to finance a one man mission to Mars for myself post haste, no, it goes deeper than that. I have so much to say, but I want to attempt a two paragraph recap of the movie. Please forgive me if it seems disconnected (more so than usual.) I'm still recovering, and it's really hard to brush over this movie, because everything, and I mean everything, that happens is completely ludicrous. Remember last week when I had to suspend my disbelief to a degree not previously known to mankind? Tonight I had to shut down several centers of my brain, because just suspending disbelief was not going to cut it. There was no way even a suspended disbelief could deal with this flick. Good grief.

Wedding on dreamy Vermont. Where they have palm trees now. It's a thing.

The movie surprisingly enough, revolves around Ben, and perhaps just as surprising, Arthur. B and A are gay. They are living together, and want to get married. So far so good. But they can't, because it's still not legal in California. So they are planning to go to Hawai'i where it has just been legalized. However, the next day the legalization is revoked again. So much for that trip. However, they can still go to Vermont where it is apparently legal. Arthur's brother is a devout Christian, and obviously this means he hates homosexuals. Arthur goes to him, to borrow money. They haven't seen each other in 7 years. The brother is not happy, and wants to lend Arthur the money only if he brings Ben around for dinner, and respects the house. I don't know what that is really about, but Arthur isn't keen on his brother's attitude. Ben and him still fly to Vermont though, and get married in the least awesome wedding ceremony I can imagine. Also they both forgot the rings, which seems to bother no one. Back in Cali, Ben and Arthur are distressed that their Vermont union might not be recognized. However, a lawyer they consult says, that she has friends that fight shit like this and will gladly sponsor attorneys and man hours to take this to the Supreme Court. Just like that, huh. Awesome. Victor, Arthur's brother is very unhappy. He wants to ruin this union for anything in the world, and hires a private investigator to 'learn Arthur's next move'. I've no idea what this entails. But apparently Victor learns that the next move is the attorney and he promptly shoots her in a parking garage. Alright.

That fucking picture of Jesus on the wall. I laughed so hard at that picture. Amazing!

Ben and Arthur do visit Victor who has some unnamed friend over. They try to convince B and A to ungay themselves, you know, for the Lord Jesus Christ. Old JC hella dislikes homosexuals. That much is for absolute certain. They refuse to be swayed. They promptly go on a honeymoon instead. Victor is super unhappy with this, and decides to recruit his friend's help. They make a tonic of holy water, that Arthur needs to drink. Victor goes and tapes this tonic to Arthur's front door after they return and just leaves it there. What the fuck? How.... what? What? When this proves fruitless Victor consults his church for spiritual help. He does this after already having killed somebody. I mean, what kind of priorities are these? The priest helps him out, by hooking him up with Scott, who is a shady character in the church I guess. It's not explained. Scott and Victor go around Ben and Arthur's and beat Ben up. Back in the church, the Priest is now excommunicating Victor because 'some people are not happy having you around with a possessed brother.' Makes perfect sense. Victor is livid, and wants to handle that shit immediately. Arthur breaks into Victors house, bugs his phone, and confronts Victor. He then listens to a conversation between Vic and the priest, and goes to the church where he gets Scott's address and then burns the church and the priest down. Appropriate? Sure. Ben comes home from the hospital, and Victor swings by and kills him, before the grand finale where both Victor and Arthur die from gunshots. Yeah.

Is that a fucking cardboard cross behind him? It is, isn't it? Good grief. If Jesus hadn't reincarnated, he'd be turning in his grave now.

So that's kind of it. There are 3-4 subplots I had to leave out, because they are so fucking stupid that including them would raise so many questions. So much happens for no discernible reason in this movie, it's like they made a decent movie, then took all the scenes and shit they cut out of that movie, and released it as this movie. It's literally just scenes thrown together with only the faintest connection between them. For instance, when Ben and Arthur talk about wanting to get married, and it's mentioned that they have lived together for three years, Ben tells Arthur that he is also actually married to Tammy. Arthur seems relatively unperturbed by this. Ben goes to Tammy and tells her he wants a divorce. Tammy flips her shit, apparently unaware that a) Ben was gay and b) he had been living with Arthur for THREE FUCKING YEARS? I get that some people live double lives, but this fucking shit? No way. Just no way is this in any way believable. She refuses to grant him a divorce. The only time we see Tammy later, is when she goes to Ben and Arthur's to threaten Ben with a pistol. A fight ensues, during which three shots are fired. Ben wrestles the gun from Tammy, and tells her to get the fuck out. Legit, but still... wtf? Also this scene happens after Ben and Arthur got married in Vermont. So I assume that marriage is illegitimate, because already married to Tammy? And the whole not having the rings? What the shit? They had dreamed about getting married for years. There was NOBODY else at the wedding. Just them and some dude mildly resembling a priest with an accent mildly resembling Irish. And they didn't have the goddamn rings?

As a weird plus, I guess, for this movie, it's the first movie I've ever seen that featured a legit sex/love scene between two guys. And I mean love scene like you see between a man and a woman so often. Credit where credit is due, guys.

At one point Ben's motorcycle is stolen from their garage, presumably by Victor. It's not really delved into, but it causes a fight between Ben and Arthur, where Ben implies Arthur had not locked it properly and not being careful with Ben's stuff. This leads to angry yelling and Ben punching Arthur unconscious. Domestic violence? Awesome. Arthur wakes up, and the first fucking thing Ben says to him is “that will teach you to say stupid things.” Arthur asks why Ben would do that, and Ben says this amazing line “I don't know I just couldn't help myself. I'm so sorry. I will make it up to you. I will take you on that honeymoon you wanted.” Oh great. Abuse your partner and make it up by going on a trip. No? What on God's green earth is this? They go to Hawaii where they sit by a pool that is very clearly not Hawaii when Ben's phone rings. Ben is needed at the hospital, because they are understaffed and there are a lot of sick people. Seriously dude? You punch your husband the fuck out, and the trip you take him on to compensate, you cut short because work calls? You couldn't take the week off? I'm shaking my head as I write this. It's just so weird. Equally weird is the cop that is brought in to investigate the beating of Ben. He goes to Victor to ask him to come downtown for questions. Then he goes to the priest, perhaps on Victor's tip? The priest says Victor is a good guy, but his brother has problems. The cop leaves, and that's the end of that subplot. Then there is the whole burning down of the church and the priest, and the use of chloroform, that Hollywood is still under the mistaken assumption will knock you clean out. This is not the case. It will make you dizzy and perhaps momentarily cause you to lose your consciousness. But it's an extremely volatile substance, and almost as soon as the rag leaves the face, the chloroform will evaporate and you regain your faculties. It's so stupid. But the priest is knocked out, and Arthur hums a little tune as he douses him in gasoline and lights a match. I get that he was supposed to be angry about his boyfriend/husband being assaulted, but this? This is not appropriate retaliation. This is sociopathic.

Ben is a dishwasher? Wait, didn't he say "they need me at the hospital" as an excuse for leaving the honeymoon? How many lives is this dude living?

The whole end scene was what really kicked this shit into overdrive. Victor, now completely enraged with the need to convert Arthur and cleanse him, goes to the apartment, and shoots Ben. Arthur comes out of the shower and performs the lamest most watered down and inauthentic grief scene. He walks into the room, and sees Ben dead and sort of squats down awkwardly like he's picking up a towel from the floor or something. Victor stands there next to them for like 20 seconds with this going on. Then he chloroforms Arthur. I don't know why because he hasn't done anything when Arthur wakes up. Victor wants to baptise him, and makes him strip because baptising is best done naked in front of the eye of Jesus apparently. This makes sense. He baptises Arthur in the bath tub, then chloroforms him again. Why? Why does he do these things? Why does this not make sense? He then goes into the living room and just sits. Arthur wakes up, puts on his undies and a shirt and picks up the gun that Ben took from Tammy earlier I think. Then he goes in, and starts telling Victor to fuck him, because that's what he wants. All while threatening him with a gun. I don't know anymore. I don't know what is going on with this.

"No Tammy I really am gay!" "Oh yeah? Have sex with me right now and prove it, motherfucker!"

There were more scenes to this that I am aching to relay in some detail here, but it just.. I can't accurately portray and reproduce the weird state of abject horror and confusion that in equal parts occupied my sizable head during the viewing of this movie. The whole Ben is married subplot was completely out of this world. Most of all it seemed like the director, who by the way is credited 14 times in this movie, was trying to make a socio-political commentary with this movie simultaneously bashing religion and taking a stand against the stigma of homosexuality, but everything happening was just too stupid and comical for any kind of deeper meaning to shine through. The end credits claim this was made in Adobe Premiere, meaning it was filmed and edited by somebody, presumable the director (he had to get 14 credits somehow) who, also presumably, had never done anything like this before. Viewed in that light, it's mildly impressive that anything came out at all. It's not mildly impressive that this did, however. The whole feel of the movie left me considering taking a shower. Like I had somehow been mentally assaulted, and hot water could wash this feel off of me. I'm not a gay man, but if I was, I think I would be a little offended by this movie. Not because it takes stabs at homosexuals – quite the contrary in fact. But just because it fails at everything it does, and in the end I think it ends up hurting the equality cause more than support it, solely because you can't watch this movie and not hate everybody involved inherently. You just can't. It's that fucking bad. Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ it was bad.

As a special treat, and because I can't believe this movie exists, you get a few extra screenshots. Enjoy!

"Fuck me, like I know you want. I'd fuck me." What the hell kind of weapon is that anyway? A flare gun?

Why not just go with the time honored credit card? Why reinvent something that already is way out of the scope of reality, and then use a fucking paper clip?

This is Victor, the gaybashing lawyermurdering bible toting brother of Arthur. This picture, and pretty much everything else about Victor screams gay to me. I'm pretty sure he was played by somebody who is homosexual. An artistic choice? Probably not.

"Sorry I knocked you the fuck out, my love. Would you like to be distracted from this heinous act by gifts? Cool."


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