The Sarkeesian Effect has received its first positive review on IMDb!
In a review so gushing it sounds almost as if it had been written by Jordan Owen himself, reviewer kiddo1-1 from the Czech Republic, writes that
Owen’s voice-over presents a clear, easy to follow timeline of events and ideas, all skillfully intercut with the raw footage enriching them with many new insights and much interesting information. … Overall, this is a remarkable achievement and nothing to be ashamed of. So if it means anything, Jordan, you knocked this one out of the park.
As kiddo 1-1 (who couldn’t possibly have been hired to post a review written by Owen himself) sees it, the only real problems the movie had stemmed from the ineptitude of Owen’s former partner, Davis Aurini, whose
atrocious raw footage has been, with the use of a few neat visual tricks, transformed from embarrassing unwatchable train wreck into something that … sometimes looks like quite a charming quirk – it’s hard to believe that one of the accusations levied against Owen was that he knows nothing about editing.
Who knows? Without Aurini’s baleful influence, and the film’s “budgetary restrictions,” perhaps The Sarkeesian Effect might have even deserved more than the 8/10 rating kiddo 1-1 (definitely not paid by Owen for his services) gave it.
But, you know, “budgetary restrictions” don’t necessarily stand in the way of artistic greatness, at least for directors who actually know what they’re doing, and who are canny enough to know what you can and can’t pull off on a limited budget.
According to blogger Margaret Pless (@idledilletante), who crunched the numbers for Owen and Aurini’s Patreon, The Sarkeesian Effect cost $47,806 to make, including the money spent to buy Davis Aurini a car, which was TOTALLY necessary for the production. (Pless also pointed me to kiddo 1-1’s review.)
There have been a number of interesting, innovative, and even visually striking films that have cost less than that to make.
And if you don’t believe me, well, I made a list.
Here are 8 Classic Films that Cost Less Than The Sarkeesian Effect to Make.
1) Following, directed by Christopher Nolan
Budget $6000 (1998); $8,772 (in 2015 dollars)
IMDb rating: 7.6/10
Following was Nolan’s first feature film, an ingenious, twisty psychological thriller; I think it’s his second-best film, after Memento.
2) Primer, directed by Shane Carruth
Budget: $7,000 (2004); $8,831 (in 2015 dollars)
IMDb rating: 7/10
I found this time-travel puzzlebox of a movie overcomplicated and overrated — try TimeCrimes instead — but it’s an amazing accomplishment for $7000.
3) Paranormal Activity, directed by Oren Peli
Budget $15,000 (2007); $17,240 (in 2015 dollars)
IMDb rating: 6.3/10
Not exactly a work of great artistry, but a genuinely creepy film that cost almost nothing to make and, for better or worse, launched a franchise. The version ultimately released in theaters had a pumped-up Hollywood ending added to it that cost more than the rest of the film cost to make, but I actually prefer the original ending.
4) El Mariachi, directed by Robert Rodriguez
Budget: $10,000 (1992); $16,986 (in 2015 dollars)
IMDb rating: 6.0/10
A visually striking action classic by the soon-to-be action/horror movie king Robert Rodriguez.
5) Slacker, directed by Richard Linklater
Budget: $23,000 (1991); $40,244 (in 2015 dollars)
IMDb rating: 7.1/10
Linklater’s sprawling, complex and often hilarious feature film debut.
6) Clerks, directed by Kevin Smith
Budget: $27,000 (1994); $43,419 (in 2015 dollars)
IMDb rating: 7.9/10
Kevin Smith’s celebrated debut.
7) Catfish, directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman
Budget $30,000 (2010); $32,787 (in 2015 dollars)
IMDb rating: 7.1/10
A charming little documentary that added a new word to the lexicon and birthed an MTV series.
8) Eraserhead, by David Lynch
Budget: $10,000 (1977); $39,326 (in 2015 dollars)
IMDb rating: 7.4/10
Yes, that’s right. FUCKING ERASERHEAD, David Lynch’s surrealistic classic, with arresting, years-ahead-of-their-time visuals and innovative sound design to boot, COST LESS TO MAKE THAN THE SARKEESIAN EFFECT. Even after inflation.
RUNNERS UP: Four more quality films that cost only a little bit more than The Sarkeesian Effect.
Tiny Furniture (Lena Dunham, 2010), $65,000
Super-Size Me (2004), $65,000
The Blair Witch Project (1999), $60,000
Pi (1998), $60,000
For Pi, director Darren Aronofsky adapted his style to work within his budget, using high-contrast black and white visuals that relied heavily on close-ups, and devoting much of his small budget to sound design, knowing that nothing screams “low budget” more than crappy sound. The film’s soundtrack, filled with innovative electronics from the likes of Autechre, is in many ways as much of a classic as the film itself.
But of course Darren Aronofsky is, you know, a genius, and Owen and Aurini are idiots.
My own review of The Sarkeesian Effect can be found here, by the way. It was not written by Jordan Owen.