To loosely paraphrase the opening line of Eric Segal’s 1970 bestseller Love Story: What can you say about a film that smells like a squirrel died in your walls about a week ago?
Yesterday, noted experimental film auteur/white nationalist on paper Davis Aurini released an 82-minute-long monstrosity of a YouTube video, a “film” that he insists is not his version of his estranged film partner Jordan Owen’s The Sarkeesian Effect but rather a “separate independent work that should not be considered a ‘version’ of The Sarkeesian Effect or derivative of it,” despite the fact that it clearly is his version of The Sarkeesian Effect and completely derivative of it, to the point of using much of the same footage.
Reader, I watched it.
Like Owen’s totally different and not-at-all related The Sarkeesian Effect, Aurini’s wannabe masterwork is a stinky wet turd of a “film,” if it can even be called that. I went into it with such low expectations that I was struck less by Aurini’s mindboggling ineptitude as a cinematographer, a director, a writer, and a graphics wrangler than I was struck by how thoroughly tedious the whole thing is.
For a “film” ostensibly “separate” and “independent” and “totally super-duper different” from The Sarkeesian Effect, Aurini’s production sure looks a lot like the earlier “film.” It draws heavily from many of the same poorly conducted and poorly filmed interviews, including a number in which Jordan Owen, Aurini’s ex-film partner, appears prominently on the screen.
Or at least a portion of him. Like the original Sarkeesian Effect, Aurini’s masterpiece also includes numerous shots in which Owen’s hands disconcertingly poke their way into frame, twitching and sometimes playing with a pen.
Aurini clams he got permission to use these clips. I guess we’ll see if that’s true.
What else is there to say? The argument, such as it is, largely follows that of the earlier “film.” Starting off with ridiculously nit-picky criticisms of some of Sarkeesian’s specific claims, it ultimately spirals into a bizarrely grandiose attack on Marxism that has virtually no connection to anything other than the communist boogeymen that populate Aurini’s imagination. Aurini’s verbal assault on “cutural marxism” is more that a little but reminiscent of the weird Ayn Randian rant that took up what seemed like the last third of Owen’s film.
While much of that section of the film is a blur to me — it’s nearly impossible to pay close attention to something this tediously wrong about everything — I vaguely recall Aurini blaming “social justice warrior” interest in video games on Leon Trotsky and his strategy of “entryism.” Can anyone else confirm this happened, or was I hallucinating?
Technically, the film is a mess, with sound and picture quality varying dramatically from scene to scene. The graphics are laughable. Even the font choices are a disgrace.
And then there’s that background thing, Aurini, perhaps thinking he’s preparing a Powerpoint presentation rather than a film, pastes graphics and assorted film clips over a weird, undulating CGI backdrop. Sometimes he neglects to post anything over the backdrop, so there are sections of the film that consist of nothing more than Aurini babbling over this:
There is one sad omission I feel it is my duty to mention: The famous pizza box of Owen’s masterwork did not make it into Aurini’s Totally Different film.
RIP Pizza Box.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Two thumbs poking your eyes out.