Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Dallas Buyers Club

Matthew McConaughey is Losing Weight! Actually, it's not that funny, since he's having a hard time putting it back on, I've heard, and he is seriously skinny as Ron Woodruff, HIV sufferer, drug-user, and homosexual-bashing-occasional-maybe-bisexual-or-at-least-into-some-manly-looking-chicks.

Dallas Buyers Club is an essentially American story. Woodruff gets HIV and, in what should be his final days, gets a hold of experimental drugs that arrest his condition. And when I say "gets a hold", I mean "illegally procures". This leads to further procurement of other unapproved drugs, time south of the border in Mexican clinics, and ultimately smuggling—and kind of smuggling-in-plain-sight—these drugs across the border for fun and profit.

Where the hell does the U.S. Government get off saying what drugs anyone can use for any reason? is, of course, my question. Must be in one of them "penumbras and emanations" the Supreme Court likes to go on about.


Outstanding performances from McConaughey and Jared Leto as the gay man who provides Woodruff with his entreé to his client base. Both won Golden Globes for their performances last Sunday.

Woodruff, while doubtless lightened up by the charming and abdominally-excellent McConnaughey, is commendably incorrect politically, racist, sexist, antagonistic to homosexuals, antagonistic to most everyone outside of his parochial world, and yet still admirable for his boldness, his refusal to lay down and die, his refusal to accept a dubious authority telling him it must necessarily be this way.

He gets over the gay-bashing thing, more or less. He manages to woo Jennifer Garner, a doctor, which would strike me as more than implausible, if it weren't McConaughey. The movie doesn't make too much of his heroism, nor too much of the bizarre and corrupt drug trial system, nor even too much of the villainous FDA.

The director, Jean-Marc Valleé, is a French-Canadian. I think that's significant. Ultimately, this is a movie about a bunch of banal, desultory yet overpowering forces against a single, reckless man.

I do hope it makes people ask why, though.

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