It’s that time of year again– awards season! Each year I try to see each of the Academy Awards Best Picture Nominees. Last year I managed to see six out of nine of the nominees and blogged about them. Feel free to check out last year’s posts if you are procrastinating or bored. They are in my archives. This year, the nine films nominated are: Dallas Buyers Club, American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street, Philomena, Captain Phillips, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, and 12 Years a Slave. I have about a month to see them. I picked Dallas Buyers Club to watch first, since I was going solo and DBC was one of the few films nominated which did not interest my husband.
Before I focus, bear with me a second . . . My son M. loves trains. He’s particularly obsessed with a series of train videos called “I Love Toy Trains.” I kind of love the videos too, I must admit. Each video starts with an adorable kid named “Jeff” (who is probably 30 by now) saying: “As always, we open with a song.” I wish Jeff could narrate the beginning of each of my posts saying: “As always, we open with something irrelevantly relevant.”
That being the first, here is this post’s second irrelevantly relevant factoid: On the way to the movie theater, I’m listening to the radio in the minivan and Falco’s Rock Me Amadeus comes on. I know what you are thinking. Something along the lines of Oh my God I haven’t heard that song in DECADES. Or That’s SUCH a GREAT TUNE. Am I right? Well, maybe not. But that’s what I was thinking.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, Rock Me Amadeus exemplifies 80’s music, in my mind at least. Here are the scintillating lyrics: “Amadeus Amadeus. A-ma-de-us. Amadeus Amadeus. A-ma-de-us. Amadeus Amadeus. A-ma-de-us Amadeus. Uh uh uh rock me Amadeus.” Pure genius. I know. Anyhow, during the radio version that I heard on the way to the theater (apparently there are many versions), the singer (presumably “Falco”) narrates a short biography of Amadeus Mozart’s life, ending with a line similar to this: “And in 1985, Austrian rock group Falco records Rock Me Amadeus.” Since I’m driving I can’t immediately download on iTunes, so I rock out thankful that I lived through the 80’s and mustering memories from 1985 (I started high school in 1985).
Well, lo and behold, I get to the theater to see Dallas Buyers Club and what’s the first shot in the film? A newspaper from . . . wait for it . . . NINETEEN EIGHTY FIVE. Kid you not! Is that a sign or what? I immediately opened iTunes and downloaded Falco to please the Universe.
Thanks for playing along– now to the movie.
DBC follows the path of Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey), a sort of prick-ish rodeo dude in Texas who contracts HIV and AIDS in 1985, when the disease is still new to America and in particular, heterosexuals. After illegally obtaining AZT, the drug being tested at the time, Ron learns that there are other options to treatment, like vitamins and proteins and stuff, which he obtains from Mexico since they weren’t FDA approved. He starts the Dallas Buyers Club, charging AIDS patients $400 per month to obtain the unapproved drugs. It’s made apparent in the movie that these “Buyers Clubs” were popping up around the country. Ron, previously a homophobe, also becomes friends with Rayon (Jared Leto), a transgender woman during the film and develops a platonic relationship with a doctor (Jennifer Garner).
My three word review: McConaughey. Is. AMAZING.
Other than that . . . Meh.
In my opinion, Dallas Buyers Club (Hey, punctuation people! Shouldn’t there be an apostrophe after “Buyers?” Like “Dallas Buyers’ Club”? Maybe not. Just a thought . . .) portrayed the emergence of the AIDS epidemic in a powerful but understated manner, expressing the panic and fear of both those who contracted the disease and the general public unfamiliar with the disease. I appreciate the 80’s feel of the movie, which reminded me of the portrayal of the 70’s in Argo. Watching DBC, I felt I was transported back to 1985 (although Falco was not playing in the Texas bars).
I just thought it was long. And kind of boring. I’m sorry.
But Matthew McConaughey was super. Seriously. I actually couldn’t believe that I was watching Matt. Matt, who I loved in The Wedding Planner with J.Lo and thought it was a stretch for him to play a doctor. Matt, who shook his admirable 40-year old buns of steel in Magic Mike. Would you ever believe that he could play a dying man and be nominated for an Oscar for it? He’s barely recognizable, especially if the last movie you saw him in was Magic Mike. He looks emaciated. Drawn. Weak. He looks like an AIDS patient in the 80’s. McConaughey won the Golden Globe for Best Actor. I wouldn’t be surprised if he took the Oscar too.
Jared Leto, up for Best Supporting Actor, amazed me too. Physically, he looked and sounded like a woman. His performance really turned me around, especially when he spent a couple of minutes dressed as a man and I thought he looked strange. He won the Globe in the supporting category.
I suggest that you see Dallas Buyers Club if you appreciate good acting or study the craft, or have a particular interest in the history surrounding AIDS. It’s well worth your time and money. The performances are outstanding and the accolades and nominations are well-deserved. If you’re not really into that, you should probably skip it. You aren’t going to leave the theater happy or excited or in the midst of an adrenaline rush, that’s for sure.
Have a nice night!