Drafthouse Films Review: The Final Member


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The Final Member (11)

*Warning- This review is penis-heavy and often refers to the male genitalia in unscientific terms. 

What do you collect?  I collect Blu-rays and limited-edition screenprinted movie posters.  I have friends that collect sneakers, rare books, and hangovers, among other things.  Sigurður Hjartarson of Reykjavik, Iceland is a collector.  A serious collector for 40 years, Hjartarson isn’t interested in your coins, stamps, comic books, or things of that nature.  What he really wants is your penis.

Reality is often stranger than fiction, and I’m not kidding when I tell you that Sigurður Hjartarson is in the market for a good tallywacker.  Founder of The Icelandic Phallological Museum, Hjartarson’s collection contains 280 specimens from 93 different species, making him the undisputed dingaling king.  His collection contains everything from hamster pricks (less than 2mm in length) to whale dongs (average length of 8 ft) and almost every mammal in between.  A human specimen is the only one that evades him.

The Final Member, Jonah Bekhor and Zach Math’s bizarre and sometimes hilarious documentary, chronicles Hjartarson and his efforts to complete his collection.  He’s an interesting fellow and not the sicko many would assume a penis hoarder to be.  His collection started in 1974 when a teacher gifted him a dried bull’s shaft as a joke.  Nowadays, his members are on display in his museum; some rest in jars of Formaldehyde, others were dried and mounted on the wall or hung from the ceiling.  All of them are surrounded by art focusing on the most private of parts.  He’s an enthusiastic fellow and he takes his hobby seriously, speaking unabashedly about his collection and educating people who visit his dixhibit (my term).

In Western culture, genitalia is a somewhat taboo subject.  It’s rarely discussed and when it is, the conversation is often accompanied by jokes or nervous laughter (tell ’em Maude).  The Final Member is a goldmine of unintentional humor.  People speak frankly about things we don’t normally talk about and it leads to some gems, including:  “My dad has been collecting penises for as long as I can remember” and “I’ve always thought it’d be really cool for my penis to be the first true penis celebrity.”  Both lines are delivered with deadpan honesty and bring unsolicited laughs.

What seems like a cock-and-bull story turns out to be a complex character study.  Hjartarson yearns to complete his collection before he dies, and finding somebody to donate their little soldier is no easy task.  Enter Páll Arason, the elderly Icelandic Casanova with the shrinking stub, and eccentric American Tom Mitchell (and his tattooed patriot “Elmo”).  Will 95 year old Arrason surpass the “legal length” for donation?  How far will Mitchell go to make Elmo famous?  Will he chop it off?

Who’s penis will go down in history?

Páll Arason
Tom Mitchell

The Final Member is strong for it’s duration, but comes up short in the length department.  At only 72 minutes there was room to flesh things out a bit.  Even so, it’s an enjoyable experience and penetrates deeper than expected.

A special bonus: If you pre-order The Final Member Limited-Edition Collector “Package” you get a copy of The Final Member on DVD or Blu-ray, a signed certificate of authenticity, a penis donation form for the Icelandic Penis Museum, and an actual bull penis preserved in a glass jar and sealed with wax. Link and photos here

I rate this documentary 4 out of 5 Nerdskulls.

Essential Viewing:  Herb and Dorothy, The Art of the Steal, Just Like Being There

Check out the trailer below:

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Salty Winters

Salty Winters once said, "Everything I learned I learned from the movies." He was quoting Audrey Hepburn.