Beer Goggles (2002) and Pornographic Apathetic (2003)

Running time: approx. five minutes each
Written and Directed by T. Arthur Cottam

Kind of an unusual move, but in celebration of the opening of the Florida Film Festival (from which these pages will immensely benefit over the next week or so) I thought I’d take a look at the entire professional output and comedic genius of hit-and-run filmmaker T. Arthur Cottam, whose latest multi-minute epic Pornographic Apathetic is in competition in the Midnight Movies category.

Unlike many filmmakers, Cottam starts with a good idea, and executes the idea perfectly. He does not pad out a five-minutes sketch to 90 minutes just to give some ex-SNL cast member some work. He does not suffer from delusions of grandeur about the importance of his work the way, say, Ed Wood did. He simply wants to tell his tales, the stories that are burning to be told, as quickly and cheaply as possible. Would that more filmmakers would study at the feet of this wunderkind.

Beer Goggles was my introduction to the world of T. Arthur Cottam. Following a magnificent and side-splitting PT Barnum-esque PR buildup, this just-over-five-minutes epic finally arrived at my door and was relished like a kosher hot dog from start to finish. Like the mouth-breather heroes of the film, my jaw was agape and the simple elegance and earthy reality of his plot and characters. I went to high school with some of those guys, ah sway-ah!

It would take me longer to describe the plot than it would for you to watch the film, which you soon will be able to do at dirtylittleshorts.com (later this spring). Suffice to say that on a typical redneck evening out, things don’t go quite as planned. Keystone, but no cops.

So it was with great anticipation that I opened the promo copy of Pornographic Apathetic, a film which by contrast had arrived with minimal fanfare — only the teasing tag of “Sex Like You’ve Never Seen It.” What a lot to live up to!

Again, to discuss the plot at length would really ruin the experience, and since it too will soon be available via the aforementioned website I don’t want to delve into it too deeply. It will hopefully be enough to mention the following facts:

1. It is indeed a take on sex in film that has never been done before.
2. It will leave you flushed and breathless, but not for the reasons you think.
3. In the PR kit, Cottam included some Lubriderm and tissues. Neither were needed, and yet I feel as though I may never need to watch a porno ever again.

For point number one alone, Cottam should get more attention in Hollywood as a bright, inventive filmmaker who puts the emphasis where it belongs — on interesting ideas well told, even with the handicaps of limited resources. This is truly one of those rare auteurs who would take a million dollars (if it were ever offered to him) and make 100 good belly-laugh movies rather than one artsy-fartsy crap one.

Keep an eye out for this fellow — an upstanding example not just of a good filmmaker, but of a good man. You can’t help but admire that rarest of creatures, an American male who actually knows when to stop. I predict great things from our Mr. Cottam.

My rating: Highly Recommended.

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About chasinvictoria

Writer/Editor, Comic Performer, Doctor Who fan, radio DJ, Punk/New Wave/Ska fiend, podcaster, audio editor, film buff, actor, producer, leftie (literally and figuratively), comedian, blogger, teacher, smartarse, and motormouth. Not necessarily in that order.

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