Sunday, July 4, 2010

Review: Good Dick


I thought I’d do something a little different. Well actually I just happened to watch a bunch of indie movies, but whatever. I checked out this movie Good Dick mainly because I kept seeing its name around, daring me to pick it up, and I got tired of it. I didn’t want to watch it because the premise sounded really strange and title made it sound like the main theme of the movie is that the answer to all of women’s mental woes is a “good dick”, but curiosity and repetition eventually got the best of me. And it turns out that I wasn’t that far off because I could barely get through this movie, literally having to take breaks during particular frustrating moments. This bodes ill.

Jason Ritter works in a video rental shop and apparently lives in his car. One day he notices an extremely peculiar girl coming into the store looking to rent porn. He attempts to make small talk but she seems to have absolutely no interest in human contact. So instead of letting the creepy girl fade back into the darkness she so desperately seems to crave he begins what can only be described as a delusional journey of wooing the mysterious patron…by stalking her. For love. Or something. Basically the film revolves around an enthusiastic and optimistic guy trying to win the heart of a girl who is clearly deeply troubled and not anything close to being in an emotional state where being in a relationship would be a good idea. It’s actually kind of hard to describe but basically take a person who has absolutely no idea how she’s supposed to interact with people, especially men she’s attracted to, and is extremely freaked out by the thought of sex. Then give a hopeless romantic who is convinced he can fix her problems her home address. Their wacky fumblings in romance is the bulk of the story.

A typical "Hot Date" for these two

It should be pointed out the two main characters don’t have names. In fact they’re the only characters in the story to not have names. I’m not sure why that is. Like I said this was an independent film and that can be a double-edge sword. On the one hand these movies tend to be free from the oppressive hands of Hollywood and money grubbing studio executives. On the other hand there’s no filter so directors can pretty much do whatever artistic thing they want regardless of how strange it may seem to the average movie watcher. Now this isn’t always a bad thing but sometimes it can be distracting. They can be quirks like not naming your man characters and maybe the reasoning is something that might be a little pretentious but ultimately harmless…but then sometimes someone films The Brown Bunny and the whole universe weeps.

Don't. Watch. The payoff wasn't worth it

But it’s fine, just a little weird. Lack of names don’t really effect anything in this movie so who cares? Anyway, like I said, Jason Ritter plays the male lead and he’s pretty good for what he’s playing. Opposite him is Marianna Parka who also wrote and directed the flick. I bought their performances so I suppose there’s not much to say about it. In fact seeing as I was pretty emotionally touched by the characters (Anger is an emotion) I guess that means they did a pretty damn fine job. All the other characters are kind of just there, but realistically they are unimportant. The only thing in this movie that matters is the relationship between the two main characters.

Which, by the way, is one of the unhealthiest relationships I think I’ve ever seen in a movie. For one thing Jason, as I mentioned, is a freaking stalker. His big plan to win Marianna’s heart involved following her home, breaking into her apartment complex several times, spying on her through her windows, lying to get on her good graces, and then bamboozling his way into letting her stay in her home all the while she’s constantly yelling at him to leave her alone and saying the word “No” again and again. At some point when she tried to call the cops he grabbed the phone and said to her “This is not domestic violence, you’re being selfish.” WHAT?!

Edward Cullen Approved

He thinks he’s helping her with her problem with intimacy but it comes off extremely creepy. He’s just so eager for them to be together it’s like he’s missing the part when she needs reciprocate his feelings. That’s not to say that she’s in a healthy state of mind; she is not. The sources of her problems are never explicitly stated though they are implied throughout the film (Especially near the end). However we see the results: she’s completely self-isolated from everything and everyone, extremely afraid of being assaulted, seemingly phobic about male genitalia, and lacking anything close to social graces. She has real problems that, despite Jason’s beliefs, can’t be solved just because he really, really wants them to date. She isn’t ready for a healthy sexual relationship. She’s not ready for a healthy friendship yet. It’s obvious and watching the unfolding train wreck was downright depressing.

Another annoying thing was the ending. It wrapped up so quickly that I barely had time to register it. The last few scenes deal with Marianna dealing with various aspects of her life after having met Jason but I really think that every scene could have lasted longer. The ending wasn’t bad, it wrapped up pretty good, but couldn’t they have elaborated a bit? There was one really important scene and then six minutes later the movie was over. Lame.

She's waiting for you to shut up so she can watch porn

And yet…I liked this movie. It wasn’t the most straightforward romance, I had to stop watching the movie several times to calm myself down over certain decisions characters would make, and lord knows the couple weren’t the most likable of people (I think I may have hated both of them actually) but when the credits rolled I felt a certain amount of satisfaction with the movie as a whole. It’s strange but after having watched the movie I can honestly say that, despite how frustrated I was watching it, in the end I found it to be something pleasant and maybe even something I would want to watch again. I am a sucker for romantic movies and, despite this couple’s faults, it is sort of fascinating to see the two people attempt (If you can call it that) to come together This movie isn’t for everyone. If you prefer your romantic movies to be comedic and from Hollywood then you should pass it. If you don’t like movies that deal with sexuality you can pass it. If you enjoy films off the tried and true paths or if you want to watch something a little different check this flick out. Just don’t get mad at me if you hate it; blame Marianna Parka.

I’ll give it 4 out of 5 Adorable Pandas.


Pros

-Despite their faults Jason Ritter and Marianna Parka do play a cute, if horrible dysfunctional, couple

-The movie provokes an emotional response, which is ultimately the main purpose of any film

-I find Parka is strangely adorable in her role, God help me

Cons

-The main characters are unlikable and creepy

-Their relationship is really, really disturbing when you sit and think about it