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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Youtube Review: "Steel & Marsilio: The Drinking Game"

     I came upon this appalling bit of "cinema"while scouring Youtube for concise, informative how-to videos about varnishing cabinetry:



     Needless to say, this crude claptrap contained few, if any, valuable varnishing hints. Quite the contrary! Instead, I was greeted with binge drinking, cartoon pornography and references to reptilian genitalia. I would call this video garbage, but I don't want to insult the pile of used syringes behind my apartment. But lest I come off as unfair, allow me to break down this buffoonish enterprise to fully enlighten you as to the depths of its inanity.
     We open with Garrett Steel making a laughable attempt to pretend to be waking up. I can pretend to wake up better than that in my sleep! But Steel's thespianism in on par with that of Jeremy Irons compared to his clownish compatriot, Joey Marsilio, who we are introduced to via uncomfortable closeup, his face practically glistening with Italian grease. Marsilio, who clearly was filming these shots by himself and haphazardly guessing where he would show up in the frame, has all the charisma of a moldy jack-o'-lantern and half the charm. He somehow manages to simultaneously overact and underact while goading his supposed friend into a situation that the more sensible Steel knows will be disastrous. You see, Garrett is a recovering alcoholic, and Joey is clearly attempting to lure him into a situation where he will be surrounded by booze. Their inane banter drags on and on, the verbal equivalent of Sisyphus eternally pushing a boulder uphill. Perhaps, metatextually, the viewer is expected to be so harried by this boorish boredom that he or she will require alcohol and/or narcotics in order to continue viewing this hooey.
     After this ponderous exchange finally concludes with Garrett acquiescing to Joey's hang-out request despite his better judgment, you might think that the pace picks up a bit. You might also think that a dolphin is a fish, if you're an idiot. Garrett arrives at Joey's apartment to find the latter for some reason speaking in a bizarre voice that evokes a grotesque experiment to crossbreed Jack Nicholson's vocal tones with those of Pauly Shore. Fully embodying the essence of a creep (something I am sure comes quite naturally to Mr. Marsilio), a visibly intoxicated Joey invites Garrett into his den of debauchery. I was praying that Garrett would show the good sense to leave and end this nonsense, but no! All we get is another rambling conversation between the two on Joey's doorstep that was seemingly filmed by an epileptic on heavy doses of Oxycontin. Calling the dialogue "trite" would be excessively complimentary, but that's a given at this point. At least the disdain on Mr. Steel's face is believable, as it is the only conceivable human emotion anyone could be experiencing at this point.
     Just as the brain's survival instinct begins to be replaced with the insatiable urge for death's sweet release, the pair take the action inside. If this sounds like a euphemism for gay sex, it both is and isn't. Anyway, we are "treated" to a montage of S&M (eww, I just got that) playing the NES classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game, accompanied by the dulcet tones of Far East Movement's "Like a G6;" as expected, neither work is treated with the proper respect. Instead, we get shots of Garrett getting increasingly agitated (and rightly so) at Joey's hackneyed antics, including drinking multiple alcoholic beverages in the same mouthful and shoving a Nintendo controller down his pants. It is at this point that the viewer begins to lose all sense of hope for humanity. Then, once the music drops out, Marsilio vomits out a viscous stream of filthy dialogue that I dare not repeat here, just in case there was an illusion of class about these proceedings. When Joey arises to use the bathroom, the sense of relief at being removed from his presence is palpable, like the moment when you realize your kidney stone has finally been passed.
     Now Garrett Steel is left to his own devices, and I suppose the idea is that we should sympathize with his plight of trying to maintain his sobriety while surrounded by several oh-so-conveniently-placed liquor bottles. The thing is, like the victim in a slasher movie, our sympathy is muted due to the fact that Garrett has led himself to the metaphorical slaughter. Where's the gravity? But let's just play along here and assume that Garrett is a tragic figure acting out of loyalty to his friend despite its probable ill effect on him. OK, fine, but then the film asks us to go along with possibly the greatest suspension of disbelief in cinematic history: that Joey somehow owns pornography so vile that it makes Garrett physically ill. Now, I can buy that Mr. Marsilio has some disturbing "literature" in his apartment; he has that sort of air about him. But something so appalling that it makes noted deviant Garrett Steel upchuck in his mouth? To say I find that a bit hard to believe is like saying the Rwandan genocide was a bit violent. As a side note, I must express my surprise that I made it this far into the video before my first genocide comparison.
     So Garrett gets the idea in his head to ruin Joey's reputation by making his collection of disturbing erotica public (also a bit of a leap, albeit less so given the latter's ostensible career as a Young Adults Author, an unsettling notion in and of itself). Joey whines from inside a bathtub, because I guess we as an audience didn't get enough back-and-forth phone blithering. At least this time we have the benefit of seeing our vile antagonist reduced to tears in a pathetic display no doubt torn from Marsilio's real life. Finally, we get our first bit of real pathos, as a shaky, defeated Garrett relapses, taking a shot of vodka with a wry smile. We then get a montage of photos of the duo from younger, more carefree days as the credits roll. The worst part of it is that I actually LIKE this ending. It is the first truly human moment in a production that has, up to this point, exclusively concerned a monster and a shadow sniping at each other. If only the rest of this filth film had a shred of soul, we might be on to something here. As it stands, the fact that the only good portion of this tripe is the very end just makes the entire endeavor even more maddening. It's like being force-fed rat feces with a delicious Andes mint at the end. It's a mockery.
     Overall, if I could rate this audio-visual excrement in negative stars, I wouldn't. The very idea of using stars in any form to dignify this video's existence is far more than it deserves. I have half a mind to try my hand at making a Youtube video myself, just to prove how easy it is to make something, anything, better than this classless goonery. But then, who really has the time for that? I've got cabinets to varnish.


Joey Marsilio doesn't know the meaning of the word "egotism." Pick up his novel Henry Garrison: St. Dante's Savior right here and show your love for his selflessness.

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