Fantasia 2021 with "The Booth" and "Sexy Furby"

We kick things off with two kinky shorts

(Note: Moviegoing, whether it be at the theater or at home, brings about some expenses. If you enjoy this blog/newsletter and are so inclined to support it, please do follow along, subscribe, leave comments, and share it around. Many thanks!)


Dear Moviegoers,

Lo and behold, just a month or two after watching Abel Ferrera’s wonderfully friendly and bro-tastic The Projectionist and just a few days before a planned viewing of Searching for Mr. Rugoff, do I find myself hitting play on another peek into the world of film exhibition - of a sort, mind you. This sort is the kind that brings up fluids, germs, choice, and liberation even. And its roots go all the way back to the early days of cinema.

Michael Arcos’ short documentary The Booth is a brisk six-minute explainer of the impact on and importance to communities that adult video arcades can have. Interviewees - only referred to by job titles or personal passions - talk of their first sexual encounters, the hush-hush discretion inside of a booth and, believe it or not, an interesting sense of being with others despite the walls separating the various channels of pornography. Learn to cruise, be with a close friend, share an experience, etc. A stool, a trash can, a monitor, an array of buttons, and a money machine. Is it odd that a sense of togetherness and connection can come from such a cynical depository?

Not at all.

The Booth runs through its subject a little too quickly, but does break from the traditional formula here and there to stretch and flesh itself out. The style of static television sounds and VHS analog filters criss-cross over and over, perhaps juxtaposing the get in get out nature of dropping a coin and dropping a load business model with this idea of freedom in secret just around the corner. The owner of one arcade seems too happy-go-lucky and loose to be a stuffy suit, “saving” street cats and letting them live in the back rooms while showing jubilation at the latest vibrating dildo contraption he has to sell.

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Darkness and shadows play a part in the film too, with the camera having to navigate through such mystery and danger to reach the light of an adult video arcade. Not always subtle and with little time to be subtle, The Booth excels when hitting on that certain sweet spot of exposing consumerism and community, the kind of action that’d make any critic just… well, just get excited. I want to add this to my collection of movies about moviegoing. I want to watch it again. I want another trip to this Kinetoscope.

We spend but a few moments in The Booth, but I imagine that’s par the course for a standard video arcade visit. No judgments. Leave only footprints, take only memories.

And don’t pick a booth with any holes in the wall. 4/5


The voice of Sky Elobar is pretty recognizable to this Greasy Strangler fan. When he popped up this time, I flipped. Indeed, Sexy Furby has much in common with Jim Hosking’s demented film, specifically in the harsh but easy tonal shifts and the sense of not knowing if you’re watching a comedy or a horror. Sexy Furby fits both labels, but is not a simple watch. An unforgettable watch, but not an easy one.

A suicidal young but middle-aged dressed woman attempts to kill herself by way of wheelchair stabbing, but sees in the distance a man-sized Furby, who changes her life drastically. He breaks into her home one night, and proceeds to engage in sexual pizza cutting routines on his doll-like body, in exchange for hard cash that comes out of his limbs. The woman gets out of debt, finds her sexual awakening, feels love, feels boredom, feels murder, finds the lord… man, Sexy Furby is packed with multitudes.

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Don’t let the title throw you off any, as Sexy Furby is inventive, wildly thoughtful, and utterly nuts, all at once. It could be pinned down a bit as a Moebius strip-type journey of discovery and revelation, or a piece on our relationships with toys as we blossom into adulthood. Or, and I might be reaching, it could be exactly what it is: bizarre.

All of the above, I suggest.

Sexy Furby takes the cake in providing surprise after surprise, and feeling as fulfilling as it does, paced impeccably and timed just right. For a movie with at least two scenes of Furby love, it’s not too pleasant on the eyes or the mind. But neither was The Greasy Strangler. Or any John Waters flick. Nothing worth having is ever “easy.” Hyperbolic? Absolutely, and rightfully so. Sexy Furby deserves some over-exaggerated accolades. All of them, actually. There’s strength in the strange, satisfaction in finding some strange, and success in ending stranger than strange. For Sexy Furby, for us all, that’s foolproof. 4/5

Sincerely Yours in Moviegoing,

:)


(Note: Moviegoing, whether it be at the theater or at home, brings about some expenses. If you enjoy this blog/newsletter and are so inclined to support it, please do follow along, subscribe, leave comments, and share it around. Many thanks!)