Orgies and the Meaning of Life - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Orgies and the Meaning of Life Reviews

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½ March 15, 2011
There are some interesting ideas in this story and honestly, if you read the synopsis, it sounds irresistible. The acting, however, lets it down hard as the main character isn't likeable, hatable, or even notable. What was notable and actually quite good are the stick figure cartoon segments which are almost tempting enough to make a full length movie of on its own. I really couldn't recommend it to anyone.
½ December 9, 2009
I give them credit for the stick figures, but the rest of the movie was nothing but the narcissist director/actor working out his own personal sexual and spiritual traumas.
½ October 22, 2009
Had the feel of a cheesy USA "Up All Night" movie back in the day. Some likeable qualities...the cute stick figure cartoons and some humor, but falls short in about everything else. Or maybe I'm just too obtuse to get a message from it.
October 16, 2009
this was different. entertaining, had its funny parts, and very psychological. Lots of good stuff thrown in there, the ending was great. Touches a lot of sensative issues. I think it achieved its purpose, Im glad I watched this.
September 29, 2009
Brad T. Gottfred's second feature length film, Orgies and the Meaning of Life, is filled with good intentions. It wants to-and is moderately successful at-ripping the closet door off of sexual fantasies and the embarrassment ascribed to them. In the film, Gottfred plays Baxter Goode, a man who needs to visualize himself in the middle of an orgy in order to have sex with a woman. He theorizes that when he finds "the one," she will help him kick the fantasy to the curb. He's a courier boy by day, aspiring stick figure story writer by night and riddled with guilt all the time. Why guilt? His father is a best-selling Christian self-help book writer and has ingrained five rules for being a good person in the eyes of God into his son's brain from a young age.

Okay, so let's get out of the way first. Orgies is a low budget movie. Want to know how low budget? Gottfred not only stars in the movie (he's in virtually every scene), but he also writes, directs and produces it. The budget, or lack thereof, is evident in every scene, in every interaction, in every setting from beginning to end. Disregard the seemingly missing key light (we'll talk more about that later) or the graininess in every scene. This goes to a much more basic level. Because Gottfred is the sole creative force behind the film, it's hard not to feel the movie needs a polish from someone "on the outside." While this isn't necessarily a problem only associated with small films, the money simply isn't there to hire anyone to professionally do the job. Baxter, more than anyone else in the film, vacillates between a normal version of conversational English and a more matter of fact, professional style.

Right after Baxter decides not to have sex with Allison (Lindsay Wray)-his theoretical "one"- he says the following:

"The reason I stop before we had sex is because every time I have sex with a woman, I can't help but to imagine..."

Say that line out loud. Doesn't it feel...awkward while rolling off the tongue? That's the way it sounds, too, in the finished film. And, in the long run, it's how the entirety of Orgies plays out: awkwardly, bumbling from one thing to another with elements thrown in "just because" Gottfred can. A minor plot line featuring a neighbor looking for a dog, a recurring scene of Baxter moving a turtle off the road and a lesbian roommate who may be a figment of his imagination are never fleshed out or given any meaning. (The writer/director even mentions all of them in his director's statement, refusing to explain what they mean.)

The problem, aside from budget, Gottfred runs into is a lack of focus. One moment we're heavily embedded inside Baxter's struggle to not fall back on his sexual fantasies and the next the setting shifts to his fantasy world or a past event concerning his parents, followed by pages taken out of his "stick figure porn" book. Clocking in at just 83-minutes (not the 89 listed on the back cover), Orgies has a form of ADD, never being able to focus on one plot line for too long. Had the extraneous material been omitted, there would have been more time to delve into why Baxter feels having the orgy fantasy is wrong because that is the more interesting story element. Not the vanishing lesbian friend or family drama. And certainly not his stick figure book.

These other portions of the movie, the stick figure book, his father's work and so on, are all variations on the main plot. For instance, a flashback shows Dad (Brooks Douglass) quizzing a young Baxter on the lessons he has written about. One, always telling the truth, comes up as Baxter can't tell Allison what his sexual "dysfunction" happens to be...while Stick Figure Baxter wrestles with being honest to himself. In his case, he is on a mission to find the three dimensional world (in other words, real world Baxter's "the one"). See how the movie plays out? There's something to be said for thinking outside the box and doing something different, but Gottfred gets completely lost in the writing conventions to the detriment of the story itself.

If there is a silver lining here, it's that Gottfred imbues his character with small flourishes, tiny personality quirks which feel authentic and real. He writes on a steamy shower door. A pencil sharpener and phone both distract him from work. These moments show us there is genuine talent inside the writer if everything else can be sorted out. The acting, across the board, is acceptable without any clear standouts or real stinkers. We're never given much time to know the people on screen, outside of Baxter, so that's to be expected. This is an indie film that wants to be provocative and thoughtful but gets caught up trying to be too cute for its own good.
September 22, 2009
Well, I love the stick figures. And I love the comparison of the Dad's Christian rules book to his for life and sex. "Maybe Gd wants me to write the first pornographic stick figure novel." The term "artsy fartsy" comes to mind however.
September 20, 2009
well this is certainly unique but not that great...it brings up a valid point but they way they handled it is a dissapointmet...better luck next tme...skip it
½ September 18, 2009
A man's search for the meaning og life in one night stands fantasizing about an orgy with his former lovers.
½ August 4, 2009
This was a very uninteresting movie.
Baxter was a lame character.
Nudity aside this was boring movie.
June 27, 2009
A self indulgent coming of age film that tries very hard to be something else, something profound. Too bad.
May 26, 2009
haha sounds retarded.
½ March 3, 2009
Like the title suggests, this movie is at times graphic and indulgent and oddly spiritual in others. The story revolves around a womanizer searching for the ideal woman and projecting his fantasies while "doing the deed" with the ladies he seduces. All in the while, he is writing a graphic novel about stick figures to parallell his own life journey including his attempts to reconcile himself with his estranged family. Like the main character, this movie really doesn't know where it's going or how it wants its story to end.
February 10, 2009
poop
it can be very slow at points
February 5, 2009
not bad, but it just doesn't make sense. i think this could have been really good if there was some "aha!" moment, but it just seems to be confusing for the sake of being confusing
January 11, 2009
Except for the rotic scenes, which excites any male on the planet, there wasnt anything to this film... at the beginning I had fooled myself that this was going to be an interesting film, but it turned out to be absolutely horrible...
January 10, 2009
Weird but very likable movie.
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