Friday, March 11, 2011

News Events and American Psycho.

This month has already been a crazy one, and I'm trying to keep some semblance of organization going inside my head, therefore, you can consider this kind of a little newsletter/game plan post, as well as the send off to the Locked, Loaded, and Laid list, ended appropriately enough, with Patrick Bateman and American Psycho.

The biggest news this month is probably that I started officially writing (official, no-profanity) film reviews for! It's fun, so far, and quite a test of discipline since I've basically written first-person, foul-mouthed, devil-may-care "reviews" for four straight years; I had no idea how rusty I'd gotten at actual *writing.* Anyway, I'm still planning to keep up on Television Lady, here, but will be altering my format a little bit, just for consistency's sake. TL will still focus on television, and older release/cheese films, just like always, but new film releases will be covered on Additionally, in order to keep local (which is what I've told them that I'll do), I'm going to be grabbing one film a week from Kowalski's Red Box and one from Washburn Library down the street, two places from my neighborhood. So I'm not leaving, I'm just . . . expanding. See you over there?

Also: I would like to open the floor to anyone who has anything to say, good films, bad films, television, guest blogging, and so on, let me know! Talk to me! Let's get something going, yeah?

And lastly: film vs. book.
American Psycho, 1991, by Bret Easton Ellis.
 Beginning on April Fools' Day 1989, American Psycho spans roughly three years in the life of wealthy young investment banker Patrick Bateman. Bateman, 26 years old when the story begins, narrates his everyday activities, from his daily life among the upper-class elite of New York to his forays into murder by nightfall. (wikipedia)

"These are terrible times." This obviously a very personal, very dark, hate-Valentine to the eighties from Ellis; someone just doesn't sit down and create a story like this out of thin air. If you were a child, like I was, during the eighties, it's possible that you too were unaware of just how bat-shit ridiculous the materialism and superficiality was, but clearly, it must have been massive. The descriptions of peoples' clothing labels, shoe and jewelry designers, costs of furniture, luggage, handbags, restaurant names, locations, menu offerings, costs, and fucking SKIN CARE ROUTINES literally go on for minimum, three pages each time there is a new setting and situation. The musical reviews (Huey Lewis, Phil Collins, Whitney Houston) also go on for days, but are somehow funnier than everything else because the artists are divorced from all the materialism, if you can imagine. As with any story with a million characters, some of who are mentioned once and never again, you start to filter out many of the names, but in this story, this faceless transparency business---everyone looking the same, everyone mistaking someone for someone else, and there being no real meaningful exchange about anything--is obviously the point of Patrick Bateman's issues. He wanted to fit in, but now that he has, he can't control his murderous rage at the world around him. And despite this, no one notices.

" . . . where there was nature and earth, life and water, I saw a desert landscape that was unending, resembling some sort of crater, so devoid of reason and light and spirit that the mind could not grasp it on any sort of conscious level and if you came close the mind would reel backward, unable to take it in . . . Fear, recrimination, innocence, sympathy, guilt, waste, failure, grief, were things, emotions, that no one felt anymore. Reflection is useless, the world is senseless. Evil is its only permanence. God is not alive. Love cannot be trusted. Surface, surface, surface was all that anyone found meaning in . . . this was civilization as I saw it, colossal and jagged."
Ending: THIS IS NOT AN EXIT. Fucking amazing.

American Psycho, 2000, directed by Mary Harron.
Written by Mary Harron and Guinevere Turner (screenplay)
starring: Christian Bale, Jared Leto, Reese Witherspoon, Justin Theroux

The film is a much different experience from the book, but a good one, too. Pretentious, violent, sexual. It's amazing to me just how much work it must have been for the screenwriters to cut into a novel like this (399 pages), sort through the meaty parts and then throw out a film that still seemed to capture what was at the heart of the novel. I dig Mary Harron, a lot. Bale was a great Bateman; everyone was actually well-cast. And you get that everyone is superficial, doesn't really have any loyalty to anyone else, mistakes names and faces constantly, and are silly tools with money, but the book explains this *way* more, like, to the letter. Regardless, the film had a very specific look to it---tons of blacks, whites, and reds; a really great soundtrack, and big hair!. The aesthetics were amazing, even above and beyond Bale's many, many skin scenes (FTW). There were a lot of little dialogue things that obviously weren't meant to be funny, but became funny just because of Bale's stiff, banana-in-the-tailpipe delivery: "I was probably returning videotapes." "No Lewis, it's not me, you're mistaken." "Do you like Phil Collins?" "Your name is Kristie. You are to respond only to Kristie."
Fun and ridiculous.


Donald said...

This is one of those movies that I loved right up until the ending... which I just didn't understand. Movies with weak endings are ruined for me. I need consistency and a great finale. Anybody can throw a story together with no real ending.

But it's very, very entertaining. I enjoy it. Tried reading the book once but I found it annoying. I think I tossed it across the room and read a Resident Evil novel instead.

Anna said...

it's very long and drawn out, i mean, once he started with the clothing labels i just started skimming for the pages it took for him to finish because i hate clothes and fashion.
agree about the ending, but after i read the book all the way through to the end, I liked it a lot better.

Justin Garrett Blum said...

I loved this movie, as well. You know what you should watch? American Psycho 2!

Just kidding. That movie sucked. What I did kind of enjoy, though, was Rules of Attraction. Not a great movie, but it had its moments.

Donald said...

I forgot about American Psycho 2. Was that the one with Mila Kunis?