Cine-Trash – Gift – Column


Gift (Perry Farrell/Casey Niccoli, 1991)
by William Ham

I’ve been trying to avoid covering this film – hell, I’ve been trying to avoid thinking about it – for some time. On the occasions I’ve attempted to assay this, uhh, thing, I’ve always jumped the track marks and degenerated into a mire of full-frontal abuse heaped upon the hollow skulls of the “talents” responsible for it, eventually deciding that it’s best to pretend that it, and they, do not exist. Would that it were so. As it is, however, both heroin and artworks on the subject (thanks to Trainspotting) and Perry Farrell himself (no thanks to anyone) have reassumed positions of importance in the last few months, meaning that some benighted souls (the sort that would use the words “Perry” and “genius” in the same sentence, one that does not include the phrase “is more a drug-addled stick insect than a” in it) might be inspired to score this video and boot it into their VCR. In the immortal words of Melle Mel, don’t do it.

Whatever you may think of Farrell’s musical endeavors, Gift suggests that movie cameras should be regulated just as stringently as handguns. It’s your typical boy-meets-girl/boy-and-girl-flaunt-their-privates/girl-ODs/boy-fucks-girl’s-corpse/corpse-does-better-acting-job-than-boy love story, showing Perry and his ex-galpal Casey being too cool for you or anyone else, living that bohemian lifestyle to the hilt, scamming scag and letting nothing stand in the way of their star-crossed romance, be it death, the pigs, or production values that make your mom’s home movies look like Gone With the freakin’ Wind. Offensiveness abounds; I’ve struggled with myself for weeks (and nearly went blind in the process) trying to figure out the most repugnant thing about it. Is it the loving shot of naked Niccoli showing off the bloody scabs up her arm? The “hilarious” scene where a dominatrix pours candle wax into Perry’s manager’s butt-crack? The bathtub necrophilia sequence? (When Farrell mewls, “I had to make love to her. I know that sounds sick,” I was positive he was going to follow that with “I can’t help it, though. I’m an artist.”) But no, the ugliest aspect of this brightly-wrapped turd is the fact that millions of dollars that could have gone to providing clean needles for hostages or something went to finance this monument to self-indulgent rock-star ineptitude. Do the right thing: Rent Drugstore Cowboy again and return the Gift.