Sunday, April 15, 2012

WHEN EARNING YOUR RED WINGS REQUIRES A SWIFFER AND EXTENSIVE THERAPY: A REVIEW OF J. DOUGLAS SMITH'S THE PERIOD

As a functioning member of the female species I must take this time to admit that like my fellow XX chromosome sisters, I too suffer from the curse, the proof of Eve's weakness, the period.  I know, I know, I still cringe at the thought of my third grade health class when a wrinkly nurse with halitosis broke out a suitcase full of maxi pads and graphic pop up books about women bleeding for seven days without dying.  There's no way around it, menstrual cycles may be embraced by radical feminists as a beautiful act of our prowess as birthgivers and a sign of our transition into womanhood...but we know that's all a load of shit. Periods are gross. They're icky, they're inconvenient, they make you irritable, the cause you to retain water, they instill mood swings that would make All About Eve look like a romantic comedy, and cause debilitating stomach contractions that make ripping a uterus out with your bare hands sound like a pleasure cruise. Periods. Frackin'. Suck. This past weekend, my two best friends joined with my partner in crime, Zach Shildwachter, and myself endured 105 minutes of a film that I will pray to the holy lords of Tampax to erase from my memory.  J. Douglas Smith's feature film The Period is about a girl named Sharrie Heiman (yes, you read that correctly) who finds herself afflicted with an intense visit from her Aunt Flo. The film surrounds her struggle to plug it up with her pissy Georgia O'Keefe art inspired girlfriend Clitoria (I can't make this shit up), the obsessions of a perverted gynecologist, and other horrifying issues full of menstrual mayhem.  This film is a clustercuss of terrible camera work, horrendous acting, unintentionally brilliant puns, atmosphere resembling the love child between an acid trip & The Tim & Eric Awesome Show, editing that appears to have been completed by blind children with safety scissors, music that even Justin Beiber dubstep aficionados would cringe at, and more fake blood than anything Peter Jackson ever touched.  I wish I was exaggerating about all of this, but I'm not. I'm really, really not.

I am struggling on where to even begin with this review, so bear with me.  It opens with a rather gratuitously graphic and quite possibly seizure inducing female masturbation scene, which completely set the tone for the rest of the film. I mean, I've seen softer uses of vaginas in porn flicks on fuzzy cable channels than the borderline exploitation of muff shots in this film. At one point, there's a close up of not only what a hairy butthole looks like when releasing a fart, but also the opening of vaginal lips when shooting out an egg.  Again, I can't make this shit up.  There's horrible continuity issues like referencing spilled Tang when the bottle CLEARLY says Sunny D, and the plot is only understandable for about 35 minutes of the entire film.  The keep having cut scenes to what would appear to be a stereotypical tampon commercial (girl running in nature, comments like "be a goddess") but the graphics were made with MS paint or Microsoft WordArt at best.  There's a lot of unnecessary pushes for humor (Sharrie spraying period blood from her vagina on art students as she acts as a nude model, the pink extension underarms of Clitoria...or the fact her freaking name is Clitoria), and misuses of green screens that would make Megaladon look like Jurassic Park.

There's a catch, though.  I had a hell of a time watching this movie.  I really, really did.  I even laughed to the point of tears at the insanity of what I was sitting through.  For instance, plagued by the blood terrorizing her existence, Sharrie begins to hallucinate a giant, stomping, naked lower torso destroying a city with Godzilla style screams erupting from her ham wallet causing a bystander (a cameo from the director) to exclaim 'VAGJIRA!!!" A lovely nod in comparison to Clitoria's insult of "Clitty Kong" from previously in the film.  The dialogue seems to be nothing more than vagina and blood jokes strung together by a few complaints about doing extra laundry, the lack of Clitoria being able to munch on a fur burger, or getting blood on the floor...and I loved it.  It was truly insane, but this film completely took the Maude Lebowski style of art and ran with it.

It pains me to admit a film as horrendous as this could be a feminist horror film...but it totally is.  The film exploits the fact that women (and especially the female genitalia) are either feared, discarded, or worshiped simply because of something as ridiculous as a natural body cycle.  It isn't until towards the end of the film when it takes a short left out of the cyber/raver/punk/porn realm and into the poor man's Cannibal Holocaust that the true "moral" of the film is revealed.  It's almost depressing to think that it took a film about a never ending waterfall of poonani goo for someone to finally tackle the depressing truth of how menstrual cycles are handled by our society, but I doubt any one else was really up for the challenge.  I commend all of those involved for being able to sign a paper attaching their name to this vaginal voyage and you know something...I'll actually recommend it. I cannot agree that I'll have had the same opinion about this film had there been less alcohol involved, but that's neither here nor there ;)

1 comment(s):

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. I've never heard of this movie and am going to find it now. It sounds ridiculously awesome. It sounds like something that will keep getting better as I drink my forty. 34

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