Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Cinematic Experience - Less Than Zero

Less Than Zero, 1987

Hello again Lovelies, I feel like it's been a long time...

The past two weeks have been filled with Birthday Celebrations.  I have been able to turn March into an entire birthday month.  And while that's pretty spectacular, it has left me without much blogging time.  My friend, Kim, drove down from the Bay Area on Thursday and left this morning.  I have quite a few posts which I will attempt to quickly produce within the next few days in order to catch up.

Upon getting home from work today, I put my apartment back together and sat down with the movie adaptation of my February Book Club selection, Less Than Zero.

Watch the trailer here
According to many reviews, the movie is a very loose adaptation of the novel, the only similarities being the movie title and the characters.  I disagree.  While the movie does not follow the book explicitly, I think it does do a good job of taking a stream of consciousness novel with so many characters that it's easy to get confused and pull the central characters out, focusing only on them by flushing out the central story.  Really, that was the only way to make this story work on the screen.  Also, I think one of the most brilliant and necessary aspects of the film was the fact that our main character (the novel's narrator), Clay, is much more likable, which makes you care about him and what is going on around him.  In the film, Clay, played by Andrew McCarthy, comes home for Christmas and finds his friends' lives in shambles and does whatever he can to help them out.

This is a far departure from the amoral character in the novel.  This film did a fantastic job transforming Clay and also in focusing on Julian, played BRILLIANTLY by Robert Downey, Jr.  Then again, is there any role that he can't be brilliant in?  I don't think so either.  Downey's performance is so powerful and achingly honest and really is the best, most heartbreaking, aspect of this movie.  While the film is watered down from the novel, something that Ellis was VERY unhappy about when the film was released, I think Downey's performance ultimately makes the film more powerful than the novel.

The film becomes more focused on the friendships here than it does on the parties and drugs themselves.  So, in a sense, much more positive, but SUPER depressing none the less.  One of my favorite artists is Roy Orbison and the film contains his song Life Fades Away.  Orbison's voice is haunting and sad enough on it's own, but the words (especially in the context of the film) made me cry - something I'm sure will continue to happen.  I came across this fantastic video on YouTube that I highly recommend, but beware the clip is full of SPOILERS!  (Enjoy...with a tissue in hand)

In an effort to raise your spirits, overall, the music in this film is really fun.  The late '80's were good that way.  I was unaware that The Bangles' version of Hazy Shade of Winter was recorded for this movie.  The music video gives you some movie clips, but also gives you some idea of some of the excess of this time that the movie captured.

-Rick Rubin was the Music Supervisor for the film
-Brad Pitt is an uncredited party goer, according to IMDB.
-Despite all the bad reviews, the one thing that everyone can agree on is Robert Downey, Jr.'s flawless   performance
-There are some fun parallels between this film and the Jami Gertz masterpiece, The Lost Boys.  Especially the decor in one of the opening sequences.

Good Night Kittens.  Happy viewing!

No comments:

Post a Comment