#gamergate antifeminism crackpottery cultural marxism davis aurini entitled babies evil SJWs jordan owen men who really shouldn't be making movies men who should not ever be with women ever misogyny reactionary bullshit sarkeesian!

Davis Aurini’s Totally Not The Sarkeesian Effect: Worse than a dead squirrel in your wall

Not so cute when they're dead
Squirrels: Not so cute when they’re dead

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.

Hi, Jordan Owen's hands!
Hi, Jordan Owen’s hands!

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.

Why, Aurini, whyyyyy?
Why, Aurini, whyyyyy?


The 1980s called: They want their logo back
The 1980s called: They want their logo back

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:

Davis Aurini thinks this looks super cool
Actual screenshot from Immersed in Subversion. Davis Aurini thinks this looks super cool

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.

84 replies on “Davis Aurini’s Totally Not The Sarkeesian Effect: Worse than a dead squirrel in your wall”

Ooh, Monster. That film is triple misandry:

1. Directed by a woman.
2. About a woman who’s a serial killer.
3. Stars Charlize Theron, being very Not Pretty and thus defeating boners everywhere.

Oh maaaan, he used Papyrus!?

He really should have used green ink too while he was at it.

So this is the documentary equivalent of Manos: the Hands of Fate. Except less fun.

Oh, and weirdly, I kind of like Lexi Alexander’s Punisher: War Zone. Mostly because it doesn’t cotton away brutality of violence or try to make it “fun”.

I second the recommendations of

Wow, Dave you have good taste!

Yikes, I somehow forgot one of my favorite films of the last few years: “In a World…” (Lake Bell). It’s basically the film Woody Allen would make if he liked people

Anyone else want to misander and recommend some films directed by women?

I wanna join in on this; here are some that I like:

Already mentioned:
– Daisies
– The Babadook
– We Need to Talk About Kevin
– Near Dark
– Winter’s Bone
– Top of the Lake (it’s a TV show but it feels like a long movie)
– Queen of Versailles
– Stories We Tell

Not yet mentioned (I don’t think):
– Jesus Camp
– Beau Travail
– Vendredi Soir
– Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
– Fat Girl (though be warned – especially harsh subject matter)
– The Loneliest Planet
– The Ascent
– Boys Don’t Cry
– Titus
– Wendy and Lucy
– Citizenfour
– Waste Land

Oh and also!

– The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema
– Ratcatcher
– No Fear No Die
– But I’m a Cheerleader
– All Over Me
– Thin


I’ve watched The Babadook and Jesus Camp. Both genuinely scary in different ways. I highly reccomend them.

– Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

Well, this one kinda goes without saying? Not only the most important film yet made by a female, but probably in the 5 most significant films of all time, regardless of gender.

Apparently Akerman’s latest (No Home Movie) is another masterpiece, but I haven’t seen it yet

– But I’m a Cheerleader

I loved Natasha Lyonne in this, and also Slums of Beverly Hills – another film directed by a woman.

Oh man, But I’m a Cheerleader is definitely one of my top 5 favorite high school movies.

(also Easy A, Mean Girls, and Saved!, with one slot open in case I forgot something)

I’m glad someone mentioned the excellent Punisher: War Zone. The interview with Lexi Alexander on ‘How Did This Get Made’ is absolutely amazing. She deserves to be making more movies.

I’d also recommend ‘Near Dark’ by Kathryn Bigelow, ‘Mississippi Masla’ by Mira Nair, ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ and ‘Bride and Prejudice’ by Gurinder Chadha, and ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’ by Amy Heckerling.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Jackie; currently using they/their, he/his, she/her pronouns)says:

Didn’t he have, like, several more months to work on this than Owen?

You & PI!


And yeah, Aurini did have more time to work on his project. Hence the genius we see in every scene.

I second HeinzD’s vote for Mississipi Masala. Which, by the way, stars Denzel Washington as the male lead. I always like him.

And I’m also gonna mention My Brilliant Career, a 1979 Australian film directed by Gillian Armstrong. Set at the turn of the twentieth century, a strong-willed young woman from the Australian outback is determined to become a writer. Then she falls in love and must choose between a man and her dream. I love this film!

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Jackie; currently using they/their, he/his pronouns)says:

You & PI!


She’s a sweetheart and takes down trolls like a lioness takes down gazelles. Couldn’t ask for a better datemate without the laws of the universe being rewritten to include magic TBH.

More films by women:

Hester Street, directed by Joan Micklin Silver
Dogfight, directed by Nancy Savoca (1991)
Thousand Pieces of Gold, directed by Nancy Kelly (1991)

I love, love, love these indie films. I saw them years ago and still think of them. Each film has a young woman facing a desperate crisis. She must use her wits and her strength to save herself.

Have any of you seen Tomboy, directed by Céline Sciamma?

I have; it is in my top 5 (at #3) for 2011

Some others I just found from my lists:
Lourdes (Jessica Hausner, 2009)
Maidentrip (Jill Schlesinger, 2013)
Electrick Children (Jessica Caldwell, 2012)

…which leads to the obvious question: how about films directed by women whose first names start with “J” ! (Babadook still makes the list!)

Not ‘J’ names, but:

Away From Her (Sarah Polley, 2006)
Laurel Canyon (Lisa Cholodenko, 2002)

Are two of my all-time favorite movies – highly recommend them.

@Matt C

how about films directed by women whose first names start with “J” !

Recycling from my earlier list:

Hester Street, directed by Joan Micklin Silver (starring Carol Kane, who was nominated for an Academy Award!)

How about films directed by women whose first name is Nancy?

More recycling:

Dogfight, directed by Nancy Savoca (1991)
Thousand Pieces of Gold, directed by Nancy Kelly (1991)

I just looked at that title card. How much do you want to bet that when he talks about the permission from the Sarkeesian effect he means himself. He got permission from himself. Just himself. Maybe from that skull too.

Gilly, apparently Owen’s lawyer has already sent an angry letter to Aurini’s lawyer. He’s pissed that Aurini used all those clips featuring him.

Cato, that’s awesome, thanks for pointing it out. I’m going to make a post about it. Do you want credit for discovering this?

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