Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, Steve Zahn, Denis O’Hare, Michael O’Neill, Griffin Dunne.
Rated: R. Biography/Drama/History. Running Time: 1 hour 57 minutes.
Wow, Matthew McConaughey is on fire! After viewing the abysmal movie duo of Killer Joe and The Paperboy within the last couple of years, I thought this guy was heading for career suicide. He got me to consider jumping back on his bandwagon with Mud, then reeled me in hook, line and sinker with his turn in the amazing HBO series, True Detective (see TV Talk at MRSRAG.com), and apparently everyone else has hitched to his star after his Oscar winning performance in Dallas Buyers Club. The true story of a bull riding, con artist/hustler, electrician, bigot, drug using, and all around asshole named Ron Woodroof; who contracts AIDS in Dallas in 1985. He’s so far gone by the time he goes to the doctor that they give him a measly thirty days to live. McConaughey lost more than forty pounds for the role, and he looked so bad it was hard to watch on several occasions. ’85 was close to the beginning of society’s understanding of the disease, and treatment was non-existent or VERY hard to come by. You could say many things about Woodroof, but a quitter he was not, and he goes literally to the ends of the Earth to stay alive. Along the way he meets, and forms an unlikely partnership with, Rayon (an almost unrecognizable Jared Leto), a homosexual cross dresser. Together they hustle to get the drugs that people with AIDS need but can’t get through regular and legal channels. It’s no mission of mercy to start with for sure, they make tons of money and they need the drugs themselves, but eventually the whole story morphs into something deeper.
The sheer magnitude of the transformation these two actors have gone through for the authenticity of their roles is just impressive. There’s no other way to put it. I pointed Jared Leto out to Ross and he hadn’t even realized it was him on the screen. And McConaughey is seriously hard to watch in the first half hour of this film. His usually muscled and healthy looking physique is a sheer shell of what it normally looks like. The appearance is capped off by some non-stop hard drinking, drug use and altogether hard to watch activities…including stomach turning coughing fits. This film is not my favorite type of fare, although I do enjoy a true story every once in a while. But DBC did more than depress the shit out of me. It also showcased the unbelievable transformation of a total douchebag, highlighted a majorly disturbing road block our government set in the path of some seriously ill citizens and seamlessly told a story of overwhelming struggle and the amazing human spirit. There is no doubt in my mind that these men deserved their Academy Awards. They earned them with these unforgettable and powerful performances.
They absolutely deserved their trophies, no question, but Hollywood loves an actor who will change their body for a part. Think Robert De Niro in Raging Bull and Tom Hanks in Philadelphia and Cast Away (Golden Globe). I read that the script for Dallas Buyers Club had been floating around out there for a while, and that the people with the money were having a hard time envisioning it having commercial success. I can understand it, as Maria mentioned, the movie is a series of unsettling scenes. I would submit that there are at least a couple of enduring lessons to be learned from DBC. One is to appreciate life and what you have and try not to sweat the small shit. And also, try to understand your fellow man and the trials and tribulations they may be encountering. Ron Woodroof is a bad man. He is a bigot and a homophobe and it’s not until he has to walk in the shoes of some of the people he reviles that he begins to transform. It’s a shame and an indictment on the human condition, that oftentimes it takes a tragedy or loss in our lives to truly appreciate what we have or to take a really good look in the mirror. Hopefully, watching Dallas Buyers Club can turn on the light bulb for some of us, yours truly included.
It’s so true. You can’t help but feel blessed to have your health after watching this. We’re all guilty of taking the small things for granted and it’s nice to have something to remind us how lucky we truly are. I enjoyed the movie a great deal more than I expected, which is always a nice surprise when it comes to film. I remember the first time I saw McConaughey in one of my all time favorite crime/thrillers, A Time to Kill. He was so young and handsome – and he just oozed stardom. I can never forget the scene when he lets out that genuine and lovable laugh when he views his ‘on-the-curb’ drunken parking job. A laugh as recognizable as his dimpled face these days. It seems he has found his niche in Hollywood. Let’s hope he keeps on this newly found path.
Ross’ Rating: 3.5 Gummy Bears out of 5.
Maria’s Rating: 4 Gummies.