Bottom (Todd Verow)
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Warning: The documentary film Bottom contains graphic sexual images. This is a work of non-fiction which chronicles the sex life of one individual and is intended for mature adult viewers only. The sexual activity has been edited for length, but not for content.
"This film is based on the personal blog "confessions of a bareback cunt," written by "bbcunt." The voice-over narration has been taken from this blog and edited for length. None of the scenes were staged, re-enacted or directed by the filmmaker or subject. Everyone presented in this film is over the age of 18 and consented to being filmed. Faces and distinguishing marks have been edited out and voices have been altered to preserve the anonymity of the subjects. This film makes no judgments about the sexual activity of its subjects." - Filmmaker Todd Verow
If you're planning to watch Bottom, please do so with caution. Prolific filmmaker Todd Verow has made a career out of pushing the envelope with his work, but Bottom is, without question, his most graphic and potentially offensive offering yet. Many gay men - especially those who survived the tumultuous 1980s and watched friends and companions fall victim to AIDS - will find themselves appalled by the footage in this documentary. That being said, the film's subject is worthy of examination - and Verow, for better or worse, is unbiased in his study of one dysfunctional New Yorker's dangerous pursuit of complete sexual obliteration.
After a brief warning and an opening selection of quotes from Foucault, Ionesco and even Tolstoy - on the subjects of danger, sexual repression and death - we're introduced to "bare_whore24," our anonymous protagonist. Verow edits out his subject's face and uses a voice-modulator for bits of narration (taken directly from bare_whore24's blog "Confessions of a Bareback Cunt") in an effort to protect the leading man's anonymity. The voice modification makes it seem like you're watching a sci-fi flick – which is actually fitting, as the movie will likely seem other-worldly to most people with a healthy, “normal” sex life.
A self-professed "cum dump," bare_whore24 has one goal for the year - to take as many loads as possible. Always cruising for potential "fuckers," he spends his days in chat rooms and web forums and his nights in sex clubs, adult bookstores and bathhouses. He's not the slightest bit afraid of contracting STD's - in fact, when one aggressive partner asks him "you want that AIDS cum up your ass?," it turns him on even more. Verow aims his camera directly toward the action as bare_whore24 tries to strengthen his "load count."
In the most stomach churning sequence of the film, he acquires a wealth of used condoms from an online friend. With some assistance from an aggressive buddy, bare_whore24 inserts the contents of those mystery condoms inside himself using a speculum to keep his hole open - all in an undiscerning effort to improve his numbers. And, while we don't want to give away the finale, let's just say it involves some squatting, a glass bowl and the dirtiest session of show and tell you can imagine.
Though Verow manages to keep the film visually interesting, Bottom suffers as a result of its attempt to keep the key player anonymous. In his blog posts alone, bare_whore24 comes off as arrogant and unapproachable (unless, of course, you’re looking to approach him with a large, indiscriminate cock). It’s even harder to have sympathy for him when we’re never able to see his face of hear his voice.
I can understand why bare_whore24 would prefer to keep his identity under wraps – he is, after all, spreading myriad diseases to every willing participant who crosses his path (of which there are many). Still, this could be an enlightening cinematic experience were he willing to show his face and offer some intelligent insight into sexual addiction – and his specific desire to be degraded and used as a waste receptacle. As it stands, the film serves up shockingly graphic scenes of unprotected sex (some titillating, some repulsive), but offers nothing in the way of answers.
VideoGuy wrote on 09/08/2013:
This "documentary" is almost unwatchable, but not for the reasons you might imagine. First, the visual style is incredibly off-putting. Because the subject, and his tricks, all want to be anonymous, not only every face is pixelated, but every single identifying detail is as well - the room, people's upper bodies, etc. - so the entire film is one close up of the subject's torso. Second, every voice is digitized, most so heavily the filmmaker is forced to provide subtitles. So you're listening to robots for 90 minutes. Third, there is no context here. The subject has very little of interest to say, the filmmaker asks almost no questions. It's just one blurry, robot-voiced hook up after the next. No story arch, no lesson to be taught (good or bad), no content of any kind except poorly shot sex. Strange moment - during a hook up, the filmmaker cuts to a heavily pixelated close up shot of his own face, implying that the subject is him. But if you know Todd Verow's body (and you can get a good look at all of it on his alter ego's sites - "Hook Scott" who is a bug-chasing barebacker) you know that the subject of the film is not him. Not sure why that shot is in the film. Not a great, or even good, film.
Amos Lassen wrote on 02/19/2013:
Todd Verow is a director that always delivers surprises. “Bottom” is based on a personal blog “Confessions of a Bareback Cunt” which is written by the mysterious bb cunt. The original blog has been edited for length but the graphic images are all there. This is the story of one man and his sex life and unlike anything you have seen before outside of porn. Nothing here is re-enacted and everyone in the film is over 18 and agreed to being filmed. The faces and distinguishing characteristics are blurred or edited out and the voices have been altered. Most important is that the film makes no judgments. That is left to the viewer. BB Cunt is a man living in New York who is determined to have raw, bareback sex with as many men as possible in a year and he keeps a meticulous count of “the loads he takes”.
Verow is known for dealing with the dark aspects of gay sexuality and he knows what he is doing every time he pushes the envelope.
I am sure that there will be those who will find this film to be disturbing. It is indeed physically intense. Using the text of the blog, we see all of the details of a sexual hedonist. Much of what we hear, we hear for the first time on film and we see a man who is determined to collect the maximum amount of sperm even when it means degrading himself and degrading those he couples with. There is no tenderness or affection here and in fact, such displays are considered to be harassment. There is no condom usage and it is not so much about having sex as it is about collection semen. Everything here is intense and words are not minced and one could easily get bored watching this were it not so unique. If we are looking to understand what is going on, we are wasting our time and if feels as if we are watching someone deconstruct as he aims for his own self-destruction. We must remember that what we get here is a dose of reality as we see that there are indeed people who live like this.
I am not sure how this film will be received but I feel I must say that it is an important look at one aspect of gay life and sexuality.