Saturday, September 20, 2003

Rules of Attraction

Okay, so you may or may not know who Roger Avary is. And you may or may not know who Bret Easton Ellis is. But it’s more than likely you know who James Van Der Beek (do I capitalize Van Der? van der?) and Jessica Biel are, so we’ll start with them.

Jessica Biel, as you may remember, was on television’s Seventh Heaven, a show so wholesome it makes me want to vomit, and yet I can’t stop watching the show once it’s started. And then she was in Summer Catch with Freddie Prinze, Jr. (whom I may or may not refer to as ‘Chico Jr.’ unless I can come up with a better name for him), which totally bombed at the box-office. And then you hopefully won’t see her in the remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, for the simple reason that some things just shouldn’t be remade, and I’ll probably go on that rant some other time.

James Van Der Beek, on the other hand, played Dawson on TV’s Dawson’s Creek, a show notable for being renewed year after year as the show gets worse and worse, like some kind of twisted experiment on the part of The WB programming staff to gauge viewers’ tolerance for shit. Due to the fantastic results of the third and subsequent seasons of Dawson’s Creek, we have this year’s programming. Onscreen, his finest hour was playing himself in Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back.

So now we bounce back to Bret Easton Ellis. He writes novels. More specifically, he writes satire. He wrote American Psycho, which was stylish as hell and hugely entertaining, basically because of Christian Bale’s performance. And then there’s Less Than Zero, which was probably hugely entertaining back when any movie with Andrew McCarthy, Robert Downey, Jr. and Jami Gertz could be termed as even remotely entertaining. Beyond that, I really can’t comment on his work, since he’s one of those authors (like Don DeLillo) who I’ve been meaning to pick up and start reading, but I never actually do.

Finally, you’ve got Roger Avary, who’s probably best known as “the other guy who wrote Pulp Fiction,” which is to say that he gets to capitalize on that fact for the rest of his career, and thus Rules of Attraction was marketed as being “from the creators of Pulp Fiction and American Psycho,” which is technically true, just as long as you’re not expecting a Tarantino film. Which is what happened when Avary did the movie Killing Zoe around 1996 or so, which Tarantino executive-produced (which is one of those things in the movie business that means virtually nothing other than you can capitalize on the name of someone who’s for all intents and purposes not involved in the movie in any way, whatsoever), and which featured a cameo by Ron Jeremy as a bank security guard. Anyway, Zoe is available on DVD at a lot of places in a two-pack with Chris McQuarrie’s Way of the Gun (which makes me think that I should do a budget-DVD day or something sometime), so you should pick ‘em up if you’ve got ten or fifteen bucks to drop on movies that you could potentially hate. Anyway, Avary’s got style. It’s not Tarantino-style, but it’s gotten a lot better over the years. I think Avary did a movie with Wil Wheaton after Killing Zoe, but since I didn’t see it, we’re just going to pretend it didn’t happen.

Let me just say this: Rules of Attraction is absolutely the most fucked-up movie I have ever seen. That’s from a story-point and stylistically. The plot doesn’t really start until fifteen minutes into the movie, and then it’s the sort of movie that you’ve got to pay attention to. It features characters you basically shouldn’t care about. The DVD has a fucking commentary track by Carrot Top, who’s not involved in the movie in any way. It’s told out of sequence, features some terribly interesting cinematography, has Fred Savage playing a junkie, and all of the performances are over-the-top by about fifty percent (which I suppose is a good thing for this movie), all of which –in my expert opinion- generally would add up to absolutely nothing.

I was watching the movie this morning, and finished it just before I had to leave for work, and there were probably about ten instances where I almost laughed so loud that I thought I was going to disturb someone. A couple of these instances were just camera shots during sex scenes. And it’s got an absolutely, astoundingly, insanely great soundtrack, which I enjoyed to no end and will be picking up after work tomorrow. And then the rest of it probably has to do with how completely fucked up and self-centered all of these people are (including the hospital staff), because I figure if there’s any single word to describe the movie, it’s got to be “removed.” These characters are removed from each other, from themselves, from everything but sex and drugs. Typical college life, from what I hear.

But it’s just so damn entertaining. If my mother ever sees this movie, there’s no way I’m ever going back to college. See it. Rent it if you must, but watch the movie.

“It’s toe-tag time in Teenville tonight. Again.”

"I only did it with her because I'm in love with you. ... Since when does fucking somebody else mean I'm not faithful to you?"

AIM: therbmcc71
ICQ, MSN, Yahoo: Yeah, right, like I use those.

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