Sunday, January 17, 2010

Good Dick

Per Nzingha's request, I just watched Marianna Palka's 2008 Sundance favorite, Good Dick. It wasn't bad, and it was certainly unique. That is, it's the only film about a porn-loving twenty-something woman I've ever seen. Actually, I really liked it, largely because the protaganists are so compelling. But it's not without its problems. Mostly, I wished that the main character (played by Palka, who also wrote the script) wasn't portrayed as so messed up, her affinity for porn due to her dealing with major childhood sexual abuse issues. But then I suppose she had to be, that is, something very significant had to explain her agoraphobia and odd prudishness. So while that story line (featuring a cameo by Tom Arnold as her father) seems contrived and disturbing, it also helps the whole film to make sense. (But does this woman really spend so much time looking at the same childhood photos of herself, particularly one prominently featuring her naked toddler-self ?)

While I was pondering this, I watched Mo'nique's Golden Globes acceptance speech for her role as the terribly abusive mother in "Precious." She said "I accept this for all you who have been touched... It's time to tell." That reminded me, once again, how important it is for childhood sexual abuse to be exposed, for people to tell their stories. But the way this film put these things together...makes me feel ookey. I mean, I too am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and as an adult I sometimes watch porn. Is there a correlation? How did Palka come to that in creating the story?

Jason Ritter's character is very likable as the boy who stubbornly works his way into the woman's life. He attempts to help her in overcoming her fear of touch and the outside world, despite her outright meanness toward him and constant flippant rape cries. He looks so much like his father John Ritter (especially in the eyes) and has some of his mannerisms too, that sometimes I felt like I was watching a film starring John Ritter and my friend Amahl, who sharply resembles Palka...

As in all quirky indie films, there are quirky indie details, like Polish references throughout, the main character sleeping in his car, and a running joke about Annie Sprinkle's "Zen Pussy." But there's something to this film that made me really like it. I think it's primarily the two main characters, their chemistry and the unconventionality of their relationship. And the acting is great. I tend to grade films like this on a different scale than others, it being a first film from director Palka and all low-budget and all. But even considering that, I think this will stick with me for a while, something that's always a sign of a very good film.

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