Monday, October 06, 2008

Less than entertaining

The other day my wife mentioned she never saw the film Less than Zero and that we should Netflix it. I recall enjoying the book and the movie in my teen years, but man is this a bad movie. As you may recall, the story concerns three scions of LA hyper-wealth who live in an amoral and sensation obsessed world. Drugs are omnipresent and become a particular problem for Julian, played by Robert Downey Jr. Downey does well as the collapsing Julian, but there is something a bit disturbing about watching his performance given his later experiences.

The main character, Clay, returns from college to help his drug abusing friend. Andrew McCarthy is amazingly wooden in this role. On watching, I wondered if this was an existential statement that drug abuse and going clean are supposed to be presented as equally hellish choices, but I doubt it. Those looking for reasons why James Spader is known for oily, evil characters should watch his drug dealer character in this film.

All in all, it isn't very good. I suppose it is supposed to make us view the wealthy as decadent and twisted, but it is mostly just boring.


Citizen Reader said...

Oh, does this take me back. I taped this one off network TV in my misguided youth--meaning a lot of the actual sex and drugs parts were cut out--and watched it over and over. Why? I have no idea, now. Loving movies like this one and "Top Gun" in my early teens is always a nice reminder that yes, people can change, and yes, I have changed. Just thinking about "Top Gun" now makes me want to vomit.

Don't forget Spader's equally oily turn in Pretty in Pink, by the way. I totally forgot he was in this one too.

Will you be going on a Bret Easton Ellis kick now, complete with "American Psycho" and Christian Bale?

Tripp said...

You know I am thinking about watching American Psycho (which I never saw!) I never read the book as I heard about some of the cruelty and just didn't want to try it.

Tripp said...

80s movies in general are just bad. I think the reason people got excited about movies like Reality Bites is that they were surprised that movies started to not suck in the 90s.

harris said...

Perhaps - I'm just sayin' - you didn't enjoy the movie becuase you wouldn't enjoy the lifestyle. I say that only because I spent a few days in 1989 with some overprivileged scions in Oklahoma City of all places, whose lives were like those of the characters in LTZ. I enjoyed that time as little as I enjoyed LTZ the movie. Which is to say, the movie may have been spot on.

Tripp said...

A possibility, but by that logic, I would have to dislike movies about all lifestyles I dislike, which would exclude Westerns. gangster films and so on.

You allude to the fact of over privilege. There might be the case of disliking a film because all of the characters are pathetic which is the case here.