Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Dallas Buyers Club

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! I'll just leave this here...

Dallas Buyers Club – 5 out of 5

I’ve always enjoyed Matthew McConaughey as an actor…however, I can’t say I’ve always enjoyed his movies. During his romcom phase, I can’t say that I pushed over my own mother and any random child that got in my way in a mad dash to get to the theaters to see him play the Southern slacker who may or may not be the perfect boyfriend material for the generic female character who has no time for love because she has a career to think of but, ultimately, realizes that love is all she needs. Of course, there have always been the exceptions like seeing a bald and bearded McConaughey get devoured by a dragon or a moustached McConaughey wax philosophically about how high school girls always remain the same age while he, inevitably, gets older or a fresh face, non-facial-haired McConaughey kill demons after being trained by his father, the twister-hunting Bill Paxton. Even better now is that in the last few years McConaughey has been moving away from the romcom bits and has been taking roles that really showcase how talented he is; films like The Lincoln Lawyer, Killer Joe, Bernie, Mud and, now, Dallas Buyers Club.

Damn...this might be the best facial hair McConaughey has ever sported.

A dude who loves the rodeo gets AIDS.  Surely, the people
who attend these events will be open-minded and sympathetic
to his plight.
Based on a true story, Dallas Buyers Club tells the tale of rodeo enthusiast/electrician Ron Woodroof (McConaughey). After his drug-happy, protection-less sex lifestyle ends up giving him the dreaded HIV virus (and in the 80s, no less. A time where it was still believed to be a “gay disease.”), Woodroof enters into a frenzy of determination to prevent the disease from killing him and aims to make it past the 30 days that the doctors told him he had. After his friends abandon him, Woodroof turns his back on a trial study being organized by the local hospital and does his own research into other medications that have not been approved by the FDA. When he see results, he starts to sell the drugs around the local gay clubs and befriends a member of the transgender community (Jared Leto).  The two work together to create something that challenges the established system of medicine and seek to do real work for those suffering from the disease. Together, they form the Dallas Buyers Club; a club that, with its membership, gets HIV/AIDS suffers the medication they need to fight the virus…but the FDA and local doctors aren’t going to allow this system to continue.

What are they talking about?  He looks like the very definition of perfect health.

Since McConaughey seems like he no longer wants to be associate with cheap, date night movies that make men everywhere believe that because they sat through the entire hour and a half, paid for the film AND the popcorn (that they briefly contemplated whether or not they were going to poke their dicks through) feels like they instantly deserve a blow job, it couldn’t have been a better move for the man who has been silently fighting a war against shirts for years. McConaughey is a really talented actor and he’s finally getting roles that showcase that. Dallas Buyers Club may be one of his best performances I’ve seen from him (until his next role comes out…come to think of it, I haven’t watched True Detective yet…).

And that face makes me want to watch it even more...

Like any talented actor about to embark on a major, fully dramatic role, McConaughey prepared the way one should…he lost a fuck ton a weight (a “fuck ton” being about 50 lbs.). I joke about the weight loss but it shows the dedication he had for the character. I mean, it’s not like he’s some sort of sprinting madman playing a German officer but completely disregarding doing a German accent.  Such a thing would look like a complete disregard for dedication.  This is the exact opposite; McConaughey looks sick and his behavior as Woodroof is easily engaging. You see and feel the fear, the loss, the anxiety and all other emotions he’s going through and it made it easy to lose myself in his performance and sucked me into the story even deeper…and the story is already several kinds of interesting.

The look of a man who pissed in your drink and is trying not to laugh as you are about to drink it.

However, this isn’t a film where you have just one actor and the rest are just alright alright alright. No, there is strong performances all around and the interactions between them is strikingly realistic and authentic feeling. Jennifer Garner plays a young doctor who, after some time, becomes invested in the work Woodroof is doing and watching her go from someone who is hesitant to be around the guy to someone who is actively seeking to see him win was quite fluid and natural looking. Of course, it helps too that the story and script were incredibly well prepared and the story itself has such a consistent pace that develops incredibly well and progressives nearly perfectly.

The person blocking the view is her husband in the Batman suit.

Other than great performances, an interesting and captivating story and the momentous feat that McConaughey was in a shirt for nearly the entire damn movie, the one thing that really captured my attention in this film was the relationship between McConaughey’s Woodroof and Jared Leto’s transgender character of Rayon. Woodroof comes off very homophobic earlier on in the picture and is heard spouting off about how AIDS is the “gay disease” (sadly, in the 80s, the AIDS epidemic was actually considered to be this…actually, a lot of primitive thinkers now still think that) but as he comes to terms with the reality of the situation, we see those homophobic feelings dissipate. This comes from the friendship and bond he forms with Rayon.

Leto makes a damn convincing woman.  I'm not saying I would hit that but...I would hit that.

Although the character of Rayon was complete made up from the film (so was Jennifer Garner’s character, for that matter), he provided that gateway to the gay community that the Woodroof character needed, as well as the catalyst for Woodroof to become more understanding of others and his determination to help those suffering like he was. There’s also a unique friendship between them that was entertaining to watch and see McConaughey and Leto unfurl during the story. Often they are antagonist towards each other in a playful manner (which is a fun detour in a dramatic film such as this) but my favorite scene involves one of Woodroof’s friends—who abandoned him because he now believed him to be a “faggot” for having AIDS—and this friend tries to be civil to Woodroof after running into him (despite the fact the friend was a complete dick to Woodroof when the man needed support the most) and, after seeing Rayon, instantly has some homophobic insulting word vomit come firing out of his mouth. Woodroof ultimately comes to Rayon’s defense and you really get to see the bond the two have. It’s a simple and easy scene but it really spoke volumes about the journey the two characters are going through and it really showcased the chemistry that Leto and McConaughey had.

Nothing against Leto but...he looks better as a woman in this movie.

Dallas Buyers Club is one of those great dramatic films that really knows how to show inner turmoil and steadfast determination. The editing and camera work really showed off the confusion, hurt and physical pain that Woodroof was going through but it was the strength of the performances that made it feel real. From a technical standpoint, this film is put together amazingly well but it was the story and the acting that really made the film something to witness. I like the direction McConaughey is taking his career and I think this one earned himself a couple of extra large pizzas…you know, to put the weight back on. Super skinny McConaughey is a little weird to look at.

Seriously...eat a pizza.  Your thin body makes your head look HUGE...but you still
probably look better without a shirt than I'll HOPE to look.

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