A major part of why Drafthouse Films has become such a prominent and well-loved distributor is the wide range of films and genres that they release, which we’ve tried to showcase a bit with this month’s picks. From obscure archive finds, to the cutting edge of genre and international filmmaking, to the weirdest films about the weirdest subjects you could possibly imagine.
And they don’t come any weirder than The Final Member, a documentary about the world’s first and only penis museum. Established in Iceland, the museum has exhibits from hundreds of species but lacks a major component: a human penis for display.
The Final Member traces two men as they compete to be the first to donate their, ahem, endowments to the museum.
Now, I’m not going to sit here and string a bunch of dick jokes together…but Austin will. Austin?
Not to sound cocky, but we now embark on what is perhaps the wildest dickumentary we’ve ever had the balls to select as a Two Cents prick. The Final Member is a strange look at the real life story of the founder-curator of the Icelandic Phallological Museum – that’s right, a penis museum. His collection includes species from all over the world, but is missing one in particular: the elusive human horn.
Yes, it’s true: this museum has no dick.
The film has been described as hilarious and bizarre, and it also introduces us to the two men who volunteer their anatomy. Which will be erected into history, and which will be sent packing? Whose will be the final member, and who will get the shaft? Let’s find out! At 72 minutes, it’s not too long.
Thank you, Austin. The Final Member may not be the sort of film that brings Drafthouse Oscar noms or cultural buzz, but it’s the kind of singular achievement that has come in many ways to define the peculiar madness of the Drafthouse.
Next Week’s Pick:
We had originally planned to cap off with The Look Of Silence, a film that’s well worth your time – and we still want you to watch it. But for several reasons, we’ve decided to highlight a new arrival to the Drafthouse Films family, and to Netflix: Raiders! The Story Of The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made features the story of a group of teenage nerds who decided to craft their own remake of their favorite movie: Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Lost to time, their impressive film was passed around underground circles until it was discovered by Eli Roth and introduced to geekdom at large. Since then, the boys, now men, have had their ups and downs, but with this new second wind decide to finally cap off their film with its one missing piece. Captivating, hopeful, and a perfect embodiment of the Drafthouse spirit, we’re proud to cap off our Drafthouse spotlight series with Raiders!
Then comes our annual month-long Halloween event, Trick Or Treat! Shoot us your picks and we’ll consider them for our lineup, to be announced next week!
Would you like to be a guest in next week’s Two Cents column? Simply watch and send your under-200-word review to twocents(at)cinapse.co!
The film focuses on Sigurður Hjartarson, an Icelandic penis collector who has been grabbing male members for his collection for decades. As his collection grew in size and shape, he was forced to erect a museum. However, his collection had remained ill equipped, unable to jerk the prized piece from a human being in order to expand the collection to the ample size, that is until he was linked up with Mr. Mitchell’s Johnson (which actually goes by the name Elmo, however it isn’t named such for its ticklishness as the endowed man’s member was named Elmo long before the furry red monster sprung from Henson’s loins).
Then comes the back and forth, the curator and Mitchell push and pull, yank and tug, over what will happen with Elmo. As Mitchell wrestles with a decision to remove his manhood and transition to becoming an asexual being, Hjartarson worries about getting the shaft. The film creates a concern for the fate of the collector of cock as he wonders if his collection will ever fill out.
Then, while Mitchell remains in a flaccid state of indecision, the museum receives its first human specimen, an Icelandic rod from a recently deceased 95 year old man. Hjartarson informs Mitchell and tells him that his member would still fit. The film ended with a curator swollen with pride and a would-be donor deflated and limp.
Size does matter when it comes to this tumescent tome, despite its runtime being short. The film is weird, off center, and leaves you hanging a bit, but I personally was tickled at the fact that a topic as oddball and wrinkled is receiving the such attention. Let’s all give a hand for a job well done. (@thepaintedman)
And good God these fucking people. It takes a very specific kind of person to want to cut off their genitals (pre-death) so they can be showcased for the world, and The Final Member at times plays like the horror movie version of a Jackass prank, as Tom Mitchell, the American seeking dick-immortality, talks and talks and talks and talks and talks about his penis, “Elmo”, as if it was an actual separate person from himself. I don’t know which I enjoyed more: the tattoo artist who is unphased and profoundly uninterested in this yapping wack-job while imprinting an American flag on his dick, or the poor lady doctor who tries to politely contain her extreme confusion and discomfort as this man tries to cajole her into cutting off his penis. No writer could ever conceive of a character so off-putting, and if they did, no one would take the story seriously. This is a story so strange it has to be true, and whatever The Final Member lacks in polish it more than makes up for in brazen depiction of humanity at its oddest. (@TheTrueBrendanF)
At first, Mitchell comes off as sort of a swaggering frat boy with his arrogance and big, swinging dick mentality. But his obsession with Elmo soon reveals a much different picture of an insecure man who dreams of immortality, yet lacks an identity. This is rather sadly verified when he opens up about his reason for donating: he’s had rotten luck with women in the past, and these extreme measures (removing not only Elmo while alive, but his genitals as a whole) somehow seem to him a reasonable course of action. Why while alive? He must be the first, else Elmo could be robbed of his immortality.
The resulting look at the conflict between these two very different personalities is certainly surreal, sometimes funny, and always odd. Mitchell’s pestersome harassment of poor Siggy (which includes lengthy e-mails with plenty of festive pictures of Elmo in different costumes, plans for how Elmo will be displayed, and inquiring whether he can keep Elmo in the museum’s off-season) will strike a chord with anyone who regrets being friendly with someone they can’t stand, because now they can’t shake them. But Mitchell’s obsession is mirrored in the curator’s own life as well: while Mitchell worries that another possible donor will die (and thus beat him to the dick-punch), Siggy worries about his own mortality – that he himself will die before his collection is complete, never living out his dream.
Ironically, perhaps this film will do more to immortalize either Hjartarson or Mitchell than their museum dreams ever could have. (@VforVashaw)
Did you all get a chance to watch along with us? Share your thoughts with us here in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook!