February 19, 2014

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner



Years before it became cool to eschew cable for streaming Netflix, I lived in a little studio apartment with no cable and - you guessed it - only a Netflix subscription. I split the subscription with my then-boyfriend, allowing him to choose one of the three discs we would receive at a time. 

The extra money I spent each month for the extra DVDs was worth it, since it was nearly impossible to predict what mood I'd be in by the time Netflix shipped out whatever movie was next in my queue. And no matter how many countless hours I wasted at work, managing my queue, scouring the site for movies I might foreseeably watch one day, there was never any way I would ever actually get around to seeing 954 movies, including a number of Oscar-nominated documentaries that seemed important to watch, but perhaps not particularly exciting prospects on a Saturday night.

So then that fateful day arrived. My boyfriend had ordered Brokeback Mountain. We both stared at it. It was a serious, critically acclaimed film. An Oscar contender. A film we should see. An important film. We just kept staring at the red paper cover. Finally I said, "It just seems like such a serious movie. I'm not sure I'm in the mood for such a serious movie right now." He seemed to breathe a sigh of relief and we quickly put on one of our other choices.

So it sat. For months. It's hard to say how many, but I would estimate close to six months. From time to time, we would half-heartedly pick up the disc to suggest it, then just as quickly, suggest whatever movie had come in that day. Eventually, I realized the shame that was keeping me from returning the movie, unwatched, was too deep and I cancelled my Netflix subscription all together. I've never had Netflix since.

Seriously.

At this point, you probably think I'm a homophobe. I'm not. I would list all the "gay friendly" movies I've watched (and enjoyed), but that would just make me seem even more homophobic, like those racist people who say things like, "I'm not racist, I have a black friend!" I just don't generally look forward to watching movies that have a socially conscious or politically motivated theme to them. I don't like feeling like I am being manipulated to feel a certain way on an issue, even if I agree with the the director's view of that issue. Call me stubborn.

Anyway, so when my husband brought home Dallas Buyer's Club, I felt some of those same feelings of dread creeping back in. But I refused to relive my shame (and fought off the urge to yawn) and forced myself to pop the disc in. And you know what? I'm glad I did.

Like some of the other Oscar contenders this year, it isn't the most groundbreaking story ever told. And this is apparently the year of the biography, with five of the nine Best Picture nominees based on true stories. But it is vindication for every crappy romantic comedy Matthew McConaughey has ever starred in (hello, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past! Which ironically, also stars Jennifer Garner, who is not vindicated in any form for her acting here). I've always believed Matthew McConaughey (yes, I need to continue to use his full name) could be a serious actor ever since I saw him in A Time to Kill and it's always mystified me as to why he kept choosing to star in movies like Failure to Launch. I mean, I know everyone likes money, but does pride really count for nothing?

But like I said, he is as excellent as everyone has been buzzing about. It's not just the weight loss, though that alone is pretty impressive. He and Jared Leto make the movie. I was never a big My So-Called Life fan (I know, I know - I'm going to have to turn in my 90's child card in right now!!), so I really don't understand what the big fuss is about Jared Leto and his dreamy eyes or whatever, but he does make one hell of a trans woman. In fact, I think he may have looked better as a woman than as a man...

But that's about where the accolades stop. Because then Elektra - I mean, Jennifer Garner - enters the picture. She doesn't ruin it or anything, but she adds nothing to the movie, which is unfortunate because with two powerhouse performances that will likely net two Oscars, she's the only other main character in the movie and you could remove her and it would practically be the same movie.

And my final complaint? Matthew McConaughey's mustache, of course! You didn't think I could go the entire post without a comment about being grossed out by it, did you? I don't care if it was the 80's and he's a cowboy! It's bad enough I know in the back of my mind he doesn't wear deodorant! To have him weigh 143 lbs and have that mustache? It's safe to say I will probably never again find him attractive. I will never be able to get this image out of my head.



Final word: Not for the easily offended, but worth guilting yourself into seeing.

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