Sunday, April 30, 2017

Short Film Spotlight: THE LAST VIRGIN IN LA

Welcome to another installment of SHORT FILM SPOTLIGHT. This week Robert reviews the short film THE LAST VIRIGN IN LA.

Comedy can, and often does, go to some sensitive places. Usually this is done for the cheapest of reasons, but sometimes there's method to the madness; a filmmaker wants to comment on some topic or other and uses comedy to make his point.

The Last Virgin in LA falls in to this latter group, or at least I think it does. Two women are engaged in the usual kind of "girl talk" the movies like to believe all women engage in whenever they're alone, namely a blow-by-blow of how much sex they're having (pun only kind of intended). When they include third-wheel Millie in the conversation, Millie is forced to confess that she has never actually done the deed. I will leave you to make what you will of the fact that the film only defines losing one's virginity as engaging in heterosexual congress.

Anyway, her friends are naturally horrified that poor Millie has reached the ripe old age of 20-something without giving any of that milk away. But then the film breaks from traditional propaganda as we learn that all the virgins in LA were supposed to have been killed off by a gun-toting killer known as "Young Hollywood". Apparently Millie is the last one. Out of a desire to save Millie's life, one of Millie's friends calls her boyfriend over to handle the de-flowering, even though getting laid isn't really on Millie's radar. Young buck and Young Hollywood both arrive at about the same time, and Millie is left with a choice: she can go with rent-a-stud and take the ol' plunge, or she can get killed.

I like how this movie comments on the choice of virginity, and how the world still responds to it, without falling back on trite moralizing. Millie's hasn't stayed a virgin because of any lofty ideal, it's just not that big a deal to her. She'll likely get around to gettin' down one of these days. And yet her virignity, more specifically, the ending of it, is still a life or death situation that must be resolved immediately. I thought we were supposed to be tolerant of womens' choices?

I didn't find this movie particularly funny. The girl talk at the beginning is just not something I want to listen to, and the "oh my gosh, you're still a virgin?" panic of Millie's friends, whatever their reasons, hit a little too close to home. This movie actually put me in mind of Shivers, a 1975 horror movie directed by David Cronenberg, in which a parasitic outbreak turns people into sex-starved maniacs. In both cases, the story revolves around the removal of personal control over a meaningful part of life. Neither project is out to praise or particularly condemn sexual freedom or the individual's decision to restrain their expression of it. But it should be an individual choice when to engage in sex, not something that gets decided by someone else. The shag-or-die stakes on Millie are ludicrously high, but that only serves to throw the ridculousness of the situation into sharper relief.

On the one hand, I'm glad this topic is still being discussed. On the other hand, that we are still discussing this topic in the age of tolerance and personal choice suggests that maybe we still have farther to go in our journey towards enlightenment than we might think. Check out the short below, and see what you make of it.

Robert's Score: 6 / 10

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