BEN & ARTHUR movie

arthur … BEN …

Since Pride Month is upon us

I Figured i’d join in on the self-serving, worthless pandering.

Ben & Arthur, though, is kinda different. It tells the story of a gay couple who want to get married and the prejudice they suffer as a result. Its message is about the injustice of not allowing same-sex marriage, and the dire consequences of homophobia.

Here’s the thing: I don’t disagree with that message. Homophobia is… it’s pretty stupid. *Laugh* Controversial statements only on this channel! ‘Yes, I’d like to report that I am both stunning and brave.’. And as the old joke goes, if gay people want to be as miserable as the rest of us, then more power to ‘em. And this movie was made back in 2003, when same-sex marriage wasn’t yet legal anywhere in the US, nor in my supposedly green-and-pleasant land. So there’s nothing wrong with this movie in principle…. BUT! Well, you clicked on this article, so you where I’m going with this… *Awful Slapstick sound effect*. In every respect you can think of, Ben & Arthur is a terrible film.

It’s been called one of the worst movies ever made, and it’s certainly one of the worst I’ve ever seen. And that’s really saying something! It doesn’t display a single iota of talent in any aspect of its production, and it utterly fails at everything it tries to do. “Woah man, where did that thing come from?!”. You could think of it as The Room of Gay movies, but it’s actually closer to Birdemic. Both in terms of its production quality, and in the sense that it tried to have a positive political message but was so spectacularly incompetent that whatever message it tried to convey was drowned out by all the raucous laughter. “You know what, I’m never gonna have any nieces or nephews, ever!” “Because you know what, you’re so f*cked up! You know that?!” “YOU… F*CK!”. At least The Room had good production values and *some* decent acting. But Ben & Arthur is worse than The Room in every conceivable way.

Even in how it shoehorns in a pointless reveal of the director’s bare ass. Which I’ve censored because- come on, I’m not *that* cruel! You can join my Patreon though, if- if you really want to see that! This is indeed the brainchild of the movie, Sam Mraovich. And yes, this is the actual picture he chose to use on the movie’s official website.

I mean, at least he’s not lacking

In confidence! and he seems to have adopted the same approach to self-involved filmmaking as tommy wiseau, and then turned it up to 11.

He is credited for, bear with me on this: Director, producer, executive producer, lead actor, screenplay, script supervisor, cinematography, film editing, casting, special effects makeup, sound effects, music, and music editing. *GASP*. I guess he was really trying to impress somebody. In all seriousness, I do feel a bit bad for him, because as he himself admitted, you can’t do the best job you can while you’re trying to do everything at once.

Which he was forced to do, because - as you’ve probably already noticed - the film had a budget equivalent to that of Fyre Festival. You absolutely can make a good film on a microbudget. It’s all about knowing what to do with what you have. But Ben & Arthur isn’t amateur in the sense of a new director learning the craft, and more like a pack of high school drama students who have no idea what they’re doing. Visually, it looks terrible. The lighting is all over the place, and the cinematography and editing are godawful. The film is full of jarring cuts, shots that linger too long for no reason and naturally, continuity errors. It’s also full of abrupt scene transitions and oddly-placed fades to black.

The audio is also horrendous, with background noises often being present and the sound mixing is also *all* over the place. “Well… I thought I locked it up.” “DAMMIT, ARTHUR! I NEED TO KNOW THAT I CAN COUNT ON YOU!”. And they seem to have made no attempt to mitigate echoing, or keep the environment consistent between takes. “Mildred? What do you want?” "There’s been a break-in in the garage. And the manager’s asked me to tell everyone body-” “Okay, thanks!.”. The whole film is like this, by the way. The music is all either public domain, or composed by Sammy himself. Which would be fine, but pretty much every single track feels completely inappropriate.

All of the props look hopelessly cheap, which only added to the school-play vibes I kept getting. And the set design is so bizarre that I swear they were just filming it in their own apartments. The acting is absolutely dreadful, and often incredibly awkward. “Ben! Hey, Ben! Ben, hey! Ben!” “Look, you’ve gotta except Jesus as your savour! Jesus!” “May I have the rings?” “I don’t have the rings. Do you have the rings?” “No, no- no, I don’t have the rings.” “May I please have the rings?” “I don’t have, I don’t have the rings! Can we do this without the rings?” “Yes, we can do without.”. Actors stumble over their lines, and even look directly into the camera on multiple occasions. “Did- the poison didn’t work, did it? The *potion*?”. D-Do you maybe want to try that one again mate? It’s not like there’s even a good story beneath all this, because the script is….

Oh boy. It is baaaad. “Remember me?” “What are you doing?” “Oh I don’t know, why don’t you tell me!” “I have no idea but whatever it is, this isn’t the way to do it!” “Oh, and what is the right way to do it? You tell me!” “Tammy, what did you come over here for?!” “I really need him to stop being gay, thank you! ” “And my heart, my stomach, my liver, everything! It just fell right out onto the floor!”.

The story is barely sensicle, the dialogue is laughable, its representation of the issues is ridiculous, and everything in it is so overwrought, so melodramatic, and so divorced from reality that you can’t take anything it has to say seriously. “Look in, another two years-” “Ah f*ck it, another two years, Ben! This is ignorance and completely unfair!” “This country f*cking sucks! It just f*cking sucks!” *I literally have no idea what noise he's making *.

Comparing Ben & Arthur to porn is

An insult, because i’ve genuinely seen adult films with better writing, acting and production values.

“I see you don’t have a lifeguard

Here at your beach?!” “i’m not at the beach, this is a bathtub!”.

Just look at this cover though.

What is this, a Chuck Tingle novel?! GASTON: “And every last inch of me’s covered in HAAAAIIIIIR!”. Look at this and tell me it doesn’t look like something you’re supposed to bust a nut too. “Yeah. Did you take it out?”. Ben & Arthur is so bad that it goes completely beyond parody. You’d think it were a homophobic hit-piece designed to smear ‘The Gays’! And that’s the movie’s biggest problem. It’s a giant swing and miss. It tried so hard to be a gay rights movie, but fell so flat on its face that it’s even been called the worst gay movie of all time.

And noone cares what you have to say when they’re laughing *at* you. “I’m thinking about opening up my own little porno shop!” “No sh*t!”. If I were actually gay - not just in a “Henry Cavill makes me moist” kinda way - I might be a bit insulted. Mere words cannot do justice to just how bad it is, so we’re gonna go through it together. And remember, this film is not a parody. Which makes it a million times more hilarious. After a hellish lasagna of an opening credits, made more bizarre by it’s being accompanied by Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer, We’re introduced to a sleepy Arthur, played by Sammy himself. Who goes to bed wearing shoes?! He gets a call from his partner, Ben, who’s anxious to hear the results of a court case in Hawaii related to gay marriage.

But then his phone battery runs out, rendering this scene a bit pointless. Not sure what Ben was doing for those 5 hours, or what he was even doing out, but he goes home - eventually - to hear the happy result. So the couple decide to rush off to Hawaii to get hitched. Cue a totally necessary packing montage. But then the next day, Arthur reads that the judge has put a stay on his decision. And I mean quite literally he reads it out, we don’t get to see the headline. So they can’t get married in Hawaii anymore. Ben doesn’t seem that bothered, but Arthur’s pissed.

“F*UCKING SUCKS BEN!” “Hey, will you relax?”. And then Ben drops a bombshell. “We’ve been together for 3 years. I’m still finishing up the divorce. With my wife.”. Hang on, you’ve waited *this* long to tell him?! Wouldn’t that be a massive red flag for you dude?! “ What?!”. That’s legitimately how it cuts! *Laugh* I have no words. “I told him to get his stupid wife over here and sign the divorce papers.

I think I took it rather well.”.

Yeah, you’re a real trooper.

So Ben’s wife comes over, accompanied by some ominous music. “I want a divorce.” “WHAT?!”. Didn’t you say you were finishing up the divorce? “I’m a homosexual.”. So Ben’s been with Arthur for 3 years and his wife had no idea?! Dude, you’re kind of a piece of sh*t. Really doing a lot for the cause there. Remember, she’s meant to be the bad guy here.

“I thought that it would change me-” “Ah shut the f*ck up, I’m f*cking getting out of here, f*ck you!”. Can’t really blame her. We cut to Ben and Arthur working together in a cafe. Arthur complains about how sh*t working in hospitality is, which is relatable. After one asshole customer too many, he gets inspired to ragequit. Again, that’s pretty relatable. “Aren’t you going to get me my sugar?!” *Laughs* “No!” “You’d better go get me my suger, or else I’m gonna tell your boss on you!” *Laughs* “Bye!” *Laughs* Absolutely based! Although he does wear sandals with socks, so… *urgh*… let’s just call it even. So he looks for another job.

What, what?! He goes to an audition, to be a stripper…. Somebody greenscreen that. That is glorious. “That’s great, now uh… let’s see your penis!”. Still better than working in hospitality, to be fair. “Hi, my name’s Arthur Sailes, I was wondering if the apartment was still available.”. I thought you were looking for a job! What?! Having no luck, Arthur tries to borrow money from his brother, Victor. Victor is a hyper-religious homophobe who wants to save Arthur’s soul, and serves as the antagonist of the movie.

Mraovich wanted this character to come across as a self-hating closeted gay man. And so gave the role to Michael Haboush, who is not only gay himself, but a veteran of umm… a rather colourful filmography…. Victor is also flamboyantly gay, with bleached blonde hair, tattoos, and a pink fluffy dressing gown. Subtlety is not on the menu today! Arthur wants money to go to college, but Victor doesn’t want to enable The Gays. So he’ll only give Arthur the money if he brings Ben over to Victor’s apartment. Trust me, the cat was infinitely more interesting than their conversation. Some time later, Arthur receives a death threat, which could only have come from one of, like, two people. But they dismiss it like it’s nothing.

Which is really weird seeing how they’re supposed to be aware of how much homophobia is out there. “I don’t see why we can’t go see an attorney here in California, and get married here!” “I know a great lawyer in Beverly Hills, we can give him a call.”. But then that attorney turns out to be a woman.

*SHE* advises them to get married in

Vermont, then take it to court in california if it gets challenged, and that her friends in the american civil liberites union will support them.

So they fly to Vermont, which apparently

Has palm trees now.

And they get married in what appears to be a garden centre. Except gay people couldn’t get married in Vermont at the time, they could only get civil unions. You’d think they’d have known that really.

So they fly back to California, by FedEx apparently. Where the totally real legit lawyer tells them that their civil union license will be recognised there, with all the rights that straight couples have. “So if it’s law here, why do we have to go to court?” “Because it’s all a matter about values and principals, and all gays deserves the same rights as anyone else.”. I mean, yes, but the way you’ve explained it makes no sense We cut back to Victor, who’s been trying to contact Arthur without success. So he hires a private investigator. They play off his youth by saying he’s an intern. Well he’s “in” something alright. “My brother is a homosexual, he’s gonna be marrying a man.” “I need to find out what his next move is, and I need to stop this insanity.” “I think it’s morally wrong what you’re doing.” “That’s none of your concern, anyways! I’m paying you money, right?!” “Okay, you’re right, you’re right.

Okay, yeah.”. Why would you even say it then?! So two days and one long-ass establishing shot later, he has the info. *Dance music*. Seriously though, what is this music?! *Dance music intensifies*. Then Arthur brings Ben over to Victor’s house like he promised, for a scrumptous dinner of graham crackers! The cheap bastard! Victor and *this* guy offer to cure Arthur of the BIG GAY. This doesn’t go down well, and after an unintentionally hilarious argument, they leave. And then there’s a random, completely out-of-place lovemaking scene. Which is cringe not because it’s gay, but because it’s really cringe.

Also, I can’t imagine missionary is especially practical. Just saying. While Arthur is out getting food, Ben’s now ex-wife shows up with a gun! *More dance music*. Oh, is that it? Okay then… “I’ll be gay too and then that’ll make it right for us to get married again, huh?!” “You are not making any sense!” “HEY! I DON’T MAKE SENSE! YOU DON’T MAKE SENSE! I MAKE SENSE! THAT’S WHO MAKES SENSE!”. I don’t think he’s acting right now. I think he’s as genuinely confused as I am. They struggle pathetically, he takes her gun away and kicks her out. And we never see her again.

They don’t tell the police about this, and swiftly move on. While Ben magically dons a sweater, they find out about the lawyer’s death. And this goes absolutely nowhere. Someone comes to the door, and Arthur opens it without checking who it is, AFTER HIS HUSBAND WAS JUST THREATENED WITH MURDER! They find out there’s been a break in at the garage, and Ben’s bike has been stolen. Yeah, his bike. The thing we never saw him have before! Why do we care about this?! Ben gets pissed because Arthur didn’t lock the garage, so Arthur has a strop. “You hurt me, you know that?! You.


Me.”. Dude, he just had his bike stolen and his ex-wife just tried to kill him. Seriously, f*ck off. But Arthur is mad that Ben isn’t willing to be display their relationship in public. Not that we ever got to witness this. They make up, and we cut back to the God Squad. “Well, I have a secret holy water recipe that you can give Arthur that will cleanse him of all his demons that possess him and turn him straight.”. Yeah, everyone knows that all it takes to cure the Big Gay is a dash of paprika! So Victor awkwardly attaches it to Arthur’s door.

And then… I dunno, what exactly was the plan here? Was he expecting him to just drink it?! Ben and Arthur go on their honeymoon, which just angers Victor more. So he goes to see his local Catholic priest, who says he has to kick Victor out of the Church because he’s the brother of a gay man. “They’re afraid you may hold some sort of karma or deep-seated evil energy and, and, well, quite frankly: “I’m going to have to ask you to stop offering your services for this church.”. Which is definitely not how The Catholic Church works. Gotta love that icon of Jesus though. *laughing*. Really does him justice. And I have to say that the priest was by far the most appropriate casting.

He definitely looks like someone who likes to lube himself with the tears of altar boys. This expulsion only makes Victor even more enraged at his brother. Jamie Oliver mediates for him, and then Victor goes back to see the priest. Victor thinks that killing Arthur will free him from the demons that are making him gay and thus save his soul. Which is definitely not how Christianity works. The deal is: kill Ben & Arthur, and Victor can come back to the Church. And not only is the priest is totally fine with this, he even refers him to a hitman! I swear I’m not making any of this up…. Victor tries one more time to get Arthur to repent.

“Because I hired a private investigator.” “A what?!” “Yeah, a private investigator! He told me that you’re running a porno shop!”. Wait, you are? When did we see that happen? “Now you see this: put some lube on it and shove it up your ass!”. Let’s be honest, one of them already has. So Arthur kicks him out and then vacuums up… something? While Arthur goes out to get more food, Victor brings the really intimidating hitman to their apartment. And they shoot Ben and leave him for dead! Knowing that his brother is responsible, Arthur sneaks into Victor’s apartment. Sick moves, by the way. TOMMY: “I show them! I record everything!”. Victor arrives just after Arthur bugs his phone.

And they have another confrontation that’s meant to be dramatic, but can’t help be hilarious.

“You’re a sick, you know that?!”

“wait til i tell agent moreen?” “he’s never going to believe you.

Oh yeah, Victor accidentally sussed himself out

To a detective earlier.

But he gets let go, and the cops never show up again. Arthur listens in as Victor calls the priest. Then goes directly to the church, fools the priest into giving him the hitman’s name and address (not that he ever does anything with that information) knocks him out with nail polish remover, sashay’s back to his car to get some gasoline, and then burns the priest alive! This film is going in some very interesting directions….

Arthur then retrieves Ben from the hospital. The fact that the American healthcare system would let him go home in that bad of a condition is the most realistic thing about the movie.

Victor shows up to their apartment, again. And *AGAIN* they don’t check who it is before opening the door! At this point, it’s just darwinism in action. *Inappropriate music*. And the Oscar goes to! Victor chloroforms Arthur (but doesn’t restrain him for some reason), then strips him naked and forcibly baptises him in the bathtub. I’m pretty sure this is somebody’s kink. Victor choloforms him again, but again leaves him unrestrained. Also, did noone else in the apartment block react to the gunshots? Although this is LA, to be fair. While Victor thinks about what a naughty boy he’s been, Arthur grabs the gun Ben took from his wife earlier.

“Is this what you want?” “You can’t stand it, having Ben touch me.” “So you want to touch me? You want to f*ck me, don’t you Victor?”. This is a reference to that famous scene from Scarface, but… way more questionable. *Awful-sounding gunshots*. Words genuinely fail me again. This is nothing short of amazing. And that’s how it ends. With several bangs and a whimper. Ben & Arthur is about a big failure as you can get while actually remembering to turn the camera on.

And yet, I kinda like it. It was motivated out of anger at a genuine injustice, and was the product of sincere passion by someone who both wanted to make a name for himself and make a difference in some way. Mraovich spent years of his life and a lot of his own money to make this happen. And he did. And I can’t help but respect that. Far more than the stale souless corporate trash we see on the daily, at least. And he seems to have taken the criticism in his stride, admitting that the movie has its faults and that he was out of his depth when making it. And he seems to have kept his head high.

So good for him. And frankly, I was having way too much fun with Ben & Arthur to have anything but positive feelings towards it. This one is firmly within the so-bad-it’s-good category. Check it out if you can, especially with a group of friends and a lot of alcohol and lube. You won’t regret it.