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YMMV: Ben and Arthur

  • Critical Research Failure: With the option to marry Arthur in Hawaii now gone, Ben mentions to Tammy that he and Arthur can marry in Vermont instead, as a means to dismiss Tammy's claim that "men can't get married in the United States". Vermont allowed same-sex civil unions in 2000, while the film was released in 2002; as Obscurus Lupa noted, same-sex marriage was not possible in Vermont until 2009.
    • In fairness, the attorney does clarify the matter by stating that Ben and Arthur attained a civil union in Vermont, not a marriage. However, this comes after Ben and Arthur already made the trip to Vermont. Considering that the two protagonists are serious about legally consummating their relationship through marriage (not to mention that a trip to any other state that allows same-sex marriage would certainly prove expensive for two paper cup washers at a café), shouldn't the two of them have known beforehand that they would only get a civil union in Vermont, not a full-fledged marriage license?
    • In fact, Ben and Arthur should have been told as much the moment they walked into a Vermont town clerk office and spoke with the appropriate personnel, who would have had no choice but to correct them and state that a civil union was their only option.
  • Dawson Casting: Inverted and lampshaded; the guy playing the private investigator looks way too young, which Victor calls him out on. It turns out that he's an intern.
  • Designated Hero: Arthur. You can sorta sympathise with him in spite of his bitchy, narcissistic behavior... at least until he torches a priest alive. Ben to a lesser extent; he comes across as a fairly decent guy overall, but his admission of having affairs with other men behind his then-wife's back really doesn't help.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Most comparisons between this film and The Room (which was written and apparently shot before this film, but released afterwards) tend to refer to their mutual incompetence and anviliciousness, but the two films have a surprising amount in common:
    • Both films take place in one of the two largest cities of California (Los Angeles in this film, San Francisco in The Room), with the primary setting in each film being the apartment of its male lead.
    • Both films have terrible leading actor-writer-directors, who are fond of showing off their bodies much more so than most audience members are fond of seeing them.
    • Both films depict everyone bar the leading guy and one other male character (Ben in this film, and Peter in The Room) as being evil bastards.
    • A wedding is an important plot point in both films; in The Room the wedding never actually happens, while in this film the wedding does technically happen, but isn't recognized by the state of California.
    • Each film features a main character obtaining a pistol during a Big Lipped Alligator Moment, and the pistol in question is used to take someone's life at the end of the film.
    • Both films have a Downer Ending, with the saintly protagonist meeting his untimely demise at the hands of a gun.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Victor and Arthur both have one, namely their killings of the lawyer and the priest respectively.
  • Paranoia Fuel: It's kinda impossible to not be paranoid with so many psychotically homophobic fucks.
  • Special Effects Failure: The film has almost zero need for effects to begin with, but the gunshots are consistently done with.....well, nothing. There's zero muzzle flash, recoil, or slide movement (with one instance of smoke, appearing after a cutaway and obviously some kind of burning object stuffed in the barrel of the gun), extremely poor sound effects that fail to remain consistent with the same gun, and either no wounds at all or bullet wounds that only appear after a cut to a different angle. This creates a rather amusing cut where Victor has no visible mark when shot in the head and stumbling back into the blinds, but after a cutaway for two seconds his face is suddenly drenched in blood. It seems like guns in the Ben & Arthur universe run on magic, and pulling the trigger simply causes people to fall over dead.
    • Also, Victor's gun is very obviously a painted water pistol, with even the filler cap visible on the rear of the frame.
  • Squick: Arthur's bathtub baptism, mostly because Victor thinks they should be performed with the recipient "naked in Jesus' eyes."
  • Unfortunate Implications: Where to begin?
    • All Christians are apparently violent homophobes who either actively seek to kill homosexuals, or at least are happy to condone it.
      • Actually, it's more like there's basically three types of people in this world: homosexual, psychotically homophobic, and (very rarely) non-psychotically homophobic.
    • Furthermore, it's seemingly acceptable to kill such people, and even burn them alive. Contrast this with the way that the death of the lawyer is depicted as a horrible thing, even if it doesn't get followed up on very well.
      • Note that Ben and Arthur (affirmed homosexuals), Victor and the attorney (presumed homosexuals per Mraovich's statements), and the priest (many of whom have been outed as pedophiles in recent years) are killed, while Tammy and Stan (patent heterosexuals) survive, inferring that death is the only fate for sexual deviants, while those who practice approved sexual behaviors will stay alive.
    • There are only three female characters in the film; Mildred, who comes across as rather unpleasant, Tammy, who is a complete whackjob, and Ben and Arthur's attorney, who gets Stuffed into the Fridge and then is never mentioned again.
    • According to Sam Mraovich, the attorney is supposed to be a lesbian. While no doubt an attempt to give homosexual women some token representation in the film, the fact that she's the only character who shows any real sympathy for Ben and Arthur's situation ends up giving the implication that heterosexual people are fundamentally unable to empathize with homosexuals.
    • After an argument, Ben punches Arthur, knocking the latter down. In the following scene, Ben tends to Arthur's wounds and gives the following gem: "That'll teach you to not say stupid things." An already bad comment is made worse by the following: Considering how irritating Arthur has been up to this point, we actually cheer when Ben throws the punch. This places the audience in an awkward position of tacitly condoning domestic violence, which sadly presides in many hetero- and homosexual relationships and is (usually) condemned.
    • The tagline for the film is "Only the power of love can defeat a holy soldier on a mission." In the film, however, the opposite happens: Said "holy soldier" actually defeats the ostensibly loving protagonists by killing them. Such success as accomplished by Victor would render the tagline false. With a dose of Fridge Logic, however, one could reinterpret the tagline and the events in the film to imply that the two protagonists lacked the love that was necessary to stop Victor, meaning that Ben and Arthur weren't really in love to begin with. This would give the impression that homosexuals form relationships out of sheer interest (sharing the rent, having a regular sexual partner, proving some point about the viability of a homosexual relationship, etc.) and are simply incapable of (or even uninterested in) committing to steady, trusting relationships based on love.


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