More than any time in history, individuals are creating their own, supposedly—most in their eyes—15 minutes of fame rather than being duly “discovered” and thrust under the world’s spotlight. Narcissism and exhibitionism have reached epidemic proportions due to the rise of social media and instant uploads (text, photos, videos, music) respectively.
Sadly, the notions of professionalism and quality (er, hello there Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) are on the endangered species list, replaced by “good enough” and “we’ll check the facts later” truth-telling of all shapes and forms.
No worries: follows, likes, retweets and “trendings” have—equally instantly—largely replaced the need for informed commentary, much less balanced criticism: The numbers don’t lie.
With The Exhibitionists, Michael Melamedoff’s production most certainly has the look and feel of self-appointed, cinematic auteurs sharing the screen with their devotees and family members.
The storyline is pretty much non-existent. Filmmaker wanabe Walter—Richard Short has a long way to go find Jack Nicholson’s legendary madness—has a midnight deadline—New Year’s Eve, no less—to pitch the devilishly alluring dominatrix, Blithe Stargazer—Laverne Cox is hands down the best actor on set—on a version of her video that will “ah, er, um, erm…”(see professionalism and quality, above).
Hilariously, in a sick sort of way, her contribution to the party at Walter’s digs is a crimson punch that immediately paints clown-like red stains around imbibers’ lips (close to vampire juicy but lacking a truly red-blooded effect to make that metaphorical link convincing), causing sudden drunkenness along with a complete evaporation of sexual inhibitions. (Best/worst of show, depending on your own private fantasies is Walter’s extended fellatio sequence with Blithe’s “gun”—heavy metal takes on a decidedly different taste as this greedy act unwittingly foreshadows the final frames.)
The subplot—eventually outmuscling the main—is an extra-generous helping of sibling incest which found its initial inspiration thanks in part to a “PBS nature show” where Mozart’s sublime Symphony No. 25 (given a vigorous reading by the conductor-elusive Mozart Festival Orchestra) triggered the forbidden carnal knowledge.
Showing she is far from over her man/bro (Mike Doyle gamely plays the role of George, who takes a turn trying to wash away his deadly coitus interuptus after “hearing a voice” and seeking the protection of the cloth), Regina’s (Pepper Binkley does as much as she can with the troubling part) ringtone is a mercifully brief sound bite of the opening movement from the Austrian master’s KV 183; no doubt Tom Hulce’s Amadeus would find that detail enough to spark yet another giggle fit (cross-reference below).
Melamedoff can’t quite find a consistent approach to Michael Edison Hayden’s script and truly bring viewers into the on-screen filmmaker’s Winter of Discontent. But those with a fondness for raw YouTube material will eagerly devour every frame. JWR