Musings on AMERICAN PSYCHO (2000) – released 21 years ago today

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Yesterday I stumbled upon the fact that American Psycho was released on April 14, 2000, which was 21 years ago today. I can’t remember when I saw this movie exactly, but for sure it was before Christian Bale became the caped crusader. So before he became Batman, his big break was playing Patric Bateman. Written/directed by Mary Harron, based on a Bret Easton Ellis‘ novel, this dark satire has become a cult classic since it debuted at Sundance. The reception was unsurprisingly mixed, some praised it for its great screenplay and performances (especially Bale’s), but the violent nature didn’t land well with some people. To be honest, I remember fast forwarding some of the really horrific scenes, especially the graphic violence against women. 

A film about a narcissistic psychopath who delves into his violent, hedonistic fantasies isn’t exactly for everyone, but its satirical message was spot on for its time… and still true today. It’s a bold, unrelenting, even vicious commentary on vanity, gross excess and reckless materialism… as this Guardian article points out, “Bateman would probably be held up as an archetypal model of American success, were it not for the fact of him being a murdering psychopath. The book directly compares the power-longing, money-grubbing tendencies of the American WASPish elite to mental dysfunction.”

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I really can’t imagine anyone else but Bale as Bateman and he apparently campaigned heavily for the role, ignoring many people’s advice that it’d be career suicide to do this part. Bale even turned down parts/auditions for nearly a year in the hope of winning this part, clearly that gamble paid off for him!

This Vulture interview with Mary Haron, she spoke about how Bale was perfect for the role and his dedication for it, and nearly losing him because the producers wanted Leo DiCaprio as he was a bigger star than Bale.

But the part that really got me was how Bale transformed himself physically so quickly… which later became sort of a signature for him as a shape shifter. This is what Haron answered when asked if Bale had already looked fit like Bateman:

“No, no, no, he was this skinny English kid. I said, “Christian, have you ever been to a gym?” He said no. And I said, “Well maybe you should go to a gym, because Patrick Bateman works out, so just get a gym membership.” Two weeks later, he’s totally transformed. I had no idea how obsessive Christian was or what I was unleashing with this kind of casual comment.”

The ensemble cast is pretty amazing!! Jared Leto, Chloë Sevigny, Samantha Mathis, Josh Lucas, Justin Theroux, Reese Witherspoon, and Willem Dafoe

Of course since Suicide Squad came out, I can’t get over the fact that here Batman did kill the Joker, mwahahahaha!!

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This is one of the most quotable movies and so many of them are hilarious!!

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Now THIS one is my personal favorite scene of mine… it made me smirk every time I see raised lettering on ANY business cards!

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Thanks to IMDb trivia, I feel like the behind-the-scenes drama warrants a making-of documentary of this film!

Per IMDb, the single biggest cost on the film was purchasing the rights to the various songs used throughout, including those from Genesis, Robert Palmer, Depeche Mode, Huey Lewis and the News, Chris de Burgh, and Simply Red.

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During the shooting of the film, Bale spoke in an American accent off-set at all times. At the wrap party, when he began to speak in his native English accent, many of the crew thought he was speaking that way as an accent for another film. They had thought he was American throughout the entire shoot.

When Leonardo DiCaprio was still attached to the project, feminist activist Gloria Steinem lobbied him not to make the film, as his fan base consisted predominately of young teenage girls, and he could ruin his career. Steinem had spoken out about the novel several times and was against the film version in any incarnation. Her involvement is rendered especially interesting insofar as she would soon become Bale’s stepmother (as Steinem and Bale’s father were dating at the time that Bale accepted the part). Bale later dismissed rumors that he specifically accepted the role to irk Steinem as unsubstantiated gossip.

Looking for a way to create the character of Patrick Bateman, Bale stumbled onto a Tom Cruise appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman (1993). According to co-writer and director Mary Haron, Bale saw in Cruise “this very intense friendliness with nothing behind the eyes,” and Bale subsequently based the character of Bateman on that. Interestingly, Cruise is actually featured in the novel. He lives in the same apartment complex as Bateman, who meets him in an elevator and gets the name of Cocktail (1988) wrong, calling it “Bartender.”

Someone made this music monologues on YouTube, and I just had to include it here

Now, it’s been reported that Whitney Houston did not allow her songs to be used in the film because of its violence. But you could hear The Greatest Love of All in the background, and per this article, here’s why:

Lynn Volkman, Houston’s representative, said ”since they’re not using Whitney’s version, and she didn’t write the song, they didn’t need to come to us.” She added, ”if the public perceives this to be a Whitney song, I think I’m going to call her lawyer and see what his thoughts are.” In the final film, Bateman discusses Houston even over an instrumental version of ‘The Greatest Love of All.” Houston became a part of the American Psycho mythos — even if she didn’t like the film’s violence.


Let me end with one of my fave gifs from the movie…

Well, what do you think of AMERICAN PSYCHO?

FlixChatter Review – Dead Don’t Die (2019)

Written & Directed by: Jim Jarmusch

In The Dead Don’t Die, the quiet small town of Centerville is thrown into chaos as the dead begin rising from their graves and feasting on the citizens’ flesh. The few police in town (Bill Murray’s Chief Cliff Robertson, Adam Driver’s Officer Ronnie Peterson, and Chloe Sevigny’s Officer Mindy Morrison) do their best to defend the town and take out as many zombies as they can, aided by the mysterious new town coroner, Zelda Winston (Tilda Swinton).

This movie is pretty fun, although it does move at a painfully slow pace for an hour and forty-five minute run time; it takes a surprisingly long time to get to the actual zombie plot thanks to all of the various character setups, since the film boasts a pretty large cast. Fortunately, everyone in the cast gives a thoroughly enjoyable performance, making the pace slightly more tolerable. Adam Driver is especially hilarious, and Tilda Swinton gives a delightfully weird and fun performance as well. Even some of the smaller cameo roles stand out; Carol Kane’s undead Mallory O’Brien groaning “Chardonnay” and Iggy Pop’s coffee-guzzling zombie awkwardly shuffling around while pouring coffee in the general vicinity of his mouth made me laugh extra hard.

The writing in The Dead Don’t Die is kind of a mixed bag. Most of the dialogue is pretty funny, although there are a couple running jokes where the repetition quickly becomes boring. My biggest gripe is the ending; I won’t give anything away, but it’s meta in a way that feels super lazy considering there’s next to no indication that that’s the direction they’re going.

While this is a comedy, it’s still a zombie movie, and although it is fairly grisly, it’s doesn’t feel quite as gory as other zombie films, so if you’re thinking about seeing it but have a sensitive stomach you’ll probably be okay. The zombie design is mostly what you would expect, and I really like the creepy, disjointed way they move. I also like that instead of bleeding when  decapitated, the zombies expel this gritty black dust; it’s a small detail, but it’s always cool to see something different done with the popular horror movie creatures.

While The Dead Don’t Die is kind of a slog to get through, it’s mostly a fun slog, thanks to a slew of talented actors and funny dialogue, even if the ending is a little disappointing. If you like zombie movies, give this one a watch.

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Have you seen Dead Don’t Die? Well, what did you think? 

FlixChatter Review: Love & Friendship (2016)

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You already know I LOVE period dramas and I adore Jane Austen. This was one of the Sundance films I couldn’t wait to see and it absolutely didn’t disappoint! Love & Friendship is an adaptation of Austen’s short epistolary novel Lady Susan that was published posthumously in 1871. Writer/director Whit Stillman changed its name but the focus is still on Lady Susan, played brilliantly by Kate Beckinsale.

Lady Susan Vernon is a beautiful widow who’s famous for her dalliances and flirtatious nature. As she waits out all the colorful rumors about her in her in-laws estate, whilst securing a husband for herself and her reluctant daughter Frederica. Chloë Sevigny plays her American best friend Alicia who’s loyal to her despite her husband’s threat to send her back to America if she doesn’t sever her ties with Susan.

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Right from the start, Stillman’s script infuses the movie with such biting wit and his direction is whimsical and fresh. I enjoy each character’s introduction, clearly labeled in an amusing fashion that makes it easy to understand who’s who in the story. One of Susan’s suitors is her sister in-law’s brother Reginald DeCourcy (Xavier Samuel) who’s immediately smitten by her against his better judgment. The truth is, it’s very easy to be charmed by Lady Susan, as was I throughout this movie. In fact, this is perhaps one of the rare Jane Austen movies where there’s a lack of swoon-worthy Austen hero. But we do have an utterly hilarious character in the form of Sir James Martin, played by Tom Bennett who stole every scene he’s in. That ‘Churchill’ bit in the trailer got chuckling but it’s even funnier in the movie.

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I enjoyed this movie immensely and I think the fact that it’s more of a satire than a romance drama, it’d be as enjoyable for those who are normally not into this genre. Described as the most irresistibly devious of Austen protagonists (who’s not shy of admitting the fact that she has a married lover), Beckinsale shines in the lead role with her beauty and wit. The way she spins things to make it sound as if it’s everyone else’s faults but her own, when confronted with something that’s actually true, she’d say ‘Facts are horrid things!’ She delivers the most cunning, devious lines with such breezy, sunny disposition that’d charm the wits out of you. I’d say she’s utterly bewitching in this role, which is a welcome change considering I haven’t been impressed by anything she’s done lately. This is the second time Beckinsale has starred as an Austen character (the first time was in Emma in 1996), but this one is definitely a far superior performance. She has a nice chemistry with Sevigny, whom she co-starred with in Stillman’s The Last Days of Disco (1998).

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The movie is also gorgeous to look at, with sumptuous costumes (by Irish costume designer Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh), lush cinematography and picturesque scenery (apparently Ireland subbed for Regency England here). I absolutely adore Beckinsale’s purple dress featured in the poster. The music by Benjamin Esdraffo is lovely and adds that touch of whimsy. But it’s the droll and dry humor that keeps me engaged, I don’t think I’ve laughed this hard in an Austen movie. I mean Pride + Prejudice + Zombies was hilarious because of the amusing juxtapositions, but as far as a straight Austen adaptation, this is by far the funniest. But then again I’ve always found Austen to be a funny and witty writer, and that’s what makes her social commentary on class and manners in polite society so wonderfully timeless.

Speaking of PPZ, interesting to see Emma Greenwell and Morfydd Clark from that film, who played Mr. Bingley’s sister and Mr. Darcy’s sister, respectively. Also fun seeing reliable British comic actors Stephen Fry and James Fleet as part of the ensemble.

At only an hour and 32 minutes, the movie flows with such upbeat energy. Kudos to Mr. Stillman for his brilliant work here, which made me want to check out his other films. I was privileged to see him talk about this film following the screening, and the New Yorker has such dry British humor, which explains the wit that transpires in the script. I might even check out his companion novel, titled Love & Friendship: In Which Jane Austen’s Lady Susan Vernon Is Entirely Vindicated. I think the fact that Stillman is a huge fan of Austen’s work (though he admitted that he disliked Northanger Abbey) definitely helps in making this such a delightful adaptation. This is another Austen movie I could watch over and over for years to come.

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Have you seen ‘Love & Friendship’? I’d love to hear what you think!

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Everybody’s Chattin + Trailer Spotlight: Love & Friendship w/ Kate Beckinsale + Chloë Sevigny

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Happy Midweek everyone! Can you believe it, when we thought Spring is finally here, it’s snowing outside! Not just snow flurries or just a coating, this is a pretty big one that it’s like a Winter Wonderland all over again outside.

I’m actually not feeling well today and I pulled a muscle on my left hand so I decided to work from home. I’m sure glad I did as it’d be pretty challenging, not to mention dangerous, driving with just one hand in snowy conditions!

… about those links…

Margaret did a fantastic hit-me-with-your-best-shot post on Daredevil season 2.

Jordan reviewed the Best Foreign Language Oscar winner Son of Saul

I’ve been meaning to see Perfect Sense, so thanks Vinnie for reminding me w/ his great review

Eddie‘s been busy with his new site Jaccendo, check it out if you haven’t already. I especially love his post on Captain America: Civil War 

Steven reviewed Terrence Malick’s latest, Knight of Cups

I haven’t seen any short film in a while, but Nostra reviewed one I’m curious to see called Ellis, starring Robert De Niro

Abbi‘s Film Friday post is always one I look forward to. Read her thoughts on Spotlight, Clouds of Sils Maria and more.

Last but certainly not least, check out Cindy‘s upcoming Lucky 13 edition which will center on the Jeff Bridges!


Trailer Spotlight

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Set in the opulent drawing rooms of eighteenth-century English society, ‘Love & Friendship’ focuses on the machinations of a beautiful widow, Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale), who, while waiting for social chatter about a personal indiscretion to pass, takes up temporary residence at her in-laws’ estate. While there, the intelligent, flirtatious, and amusingly egotistical Lady Vernon is determined to be a matchmaker for her daughter Frederica—and herself too, naturally. She enlists the assistance of her old friend Alicia (Chloë Sevigny), but two particularly handsome suitors (Xavier Samuel and Tom Bennett) complicate her orchestrations.

Check out the brand new trailer:

This was one of the films I highlighted the week of Sundance last January. As you know I LOVE anything Jane Austen, but this was based on her earlier work called “Lady Susan” that was published posthumously in 1871. This isn’t the first time Kate Beckinsale played an Austen heroine however, she played Emma in a TV movie back in 1996.

Interesting to see Chloë Sevigny here, which I never seen in a period drama before. Both are such underrated actresses so that’s another reason to see this. I do think it’s lacking a real um, Austen hero eye-candy. I have no idea who Xavier Samuel is but he doesn’t exactly set my heart aflutter the way um, Sam Riley’s Colonel Darcy did in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies 😉 I’ve never seen director Whit Stillman‘s work before this, but the trailer looks like fun so I definitely will be watching this! 


What do you think of the ‘Love & Friendship’ trailer?