So listen: we all enjoyed ourselves with “The Room,” but it’s time to turn the knob and get up out that shit. Not that your spoon-throwing isn’t adorable, not that Tommy Wiseau’s self-aggrandizement isn’t charming, not that it’s not a masterpiece all the way around, but you’ve got to keep things fresh. Otherwise, you turn into “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” which, have you gone to one of those lately? You have to sign waivers and sit through a sexual-harassment seminar before every midnight screening. Gross.
I want to save you from all that. I want to show you “Ben & Arthur.” Will you give me verbal consent to do so, before I continue?
Great. “Ben & Arthur” is a movie about the battle between gay people and religious people, starring and written and directed by someone who has never met any people. Will you check this out please?
0-1:24 Just in case you missed that name, Sam Mraovich is the star, producer, executive producer, editor, casting guy, director, craft services lady, production assistant, line judge, tot mom and music editor of “Ben & Arthur.” He is also a licensed cosmetologist in the state of California. And the first time we see him, the licensed cosmetologist who made every decision in this film, he is lying in a heap on a filthy bed, fully clothed, shoes and all. Buckle in.
1:25-2:43 Here we take nearly a minute and a half to toddle toward a piece of information we could have covered in five seconds. Why not this:
Ben: Hey, Arthur! Did you hear? Same-sex marriage is legal in Hawaii!
Arthur: Oh, good! I was awake doing things when you called, because it is daytime!
Instead, we get this. I’m not complaining, I’m just saying that if filmmaking is a language, Sam Mraovich is on some “Nell” shit.
2:44 If you were wondering why five full hours needed to elapse there, I’m not spoiling anything when I tell you that you will never know.
2:45-3:08 By now, you won’t be surprised when I tell you that ol’ Sam is confused about how civil marriage works. If same-sex marriage were legal in Hawaii, only residents of Hawaii are affected. Thanks to DOMA, same-sex couples are only legally married in the state where they got married. Plus, at the time when this movie was made, same-sex couples had access to civil marriage in Vermont, so if they wanted to go have a legally-non-binding ceremony somewhere, they could have gone there. Or just stayed home and done it in front of that weird painting, which SPOILER ALERT will move around the apartment throughout the film.
3:09-3:30 Montage. Rock-steady motivational jam. Character development. Ben is bringing his receipts with him on his nonsense marriage vacation. You are starting to get the feeling that you know how batshit this is going to get. YOU DO NOT.
3:30-4:37 Arthur knows exactly which page to turn to, yet has to read the entire article- which was written by a 4th-grader- to understand the gist of it. But hey, you have to admit- the chemistry between these two guys is scorching hot.
What follows is the best tantrum ever caught on videotape, and right now I’m just going to get out of your way and let you enjoy this on your own. It’s all up on YouTube (ten more installments’ worth!) and I might just post all of them on my Tumblr later. I’d advise getting it on Netflix and sharing it with your friends.
But if you’re going to start doing midnight screenings, leave me out of it.