Movies We Love: Less Than Zero

People are afraid to merge.

Once a junkie, always a junkie. A part of me has always felt sad for Robert Downey Jr's character Julian, who had the world on a platter until he began performing fellatio for drugs while his only friends willing to give him a chance for redemption (Andrew McCarthy and Jamie Gertz) go on a wild goose chase in hopes that it will not be too late. Meanwhile, Clay (McCarthy) is battling his own demons with his unfaithful girlfriend Blair (Gertz) who also has a drug problem and family issues.

Less Than Zero teaches its viewers two valuable lessons. You cannot trust anyone and…… Cocaine is one hell of a drug. The other part of me has no pity for Downey's character Julian. I have had to deal with friends, family, and lovers who had drugs problems in the past and it's no fucking picnic. They will take all of your money, push all of your friends away, disobey your trust, and perform the most bizarre, paranoid behavior that not even Dr. Drew can come to terms with. Pills especially, will turn people into monsters that go out of their way to say cruel things they don't even mean because the come down is unbearable. They made their choice, now is the time to accept responsibility for your own retarded actions.

What's silly is that Downey's portrayal of Julian mirrored his real life and would you believe it.... The man turned his fucking life around and is one of the hottest and highest paid actors in Hollywood.

The most electrifying essential feature in the film is the GORGEOUS visual beauty of the sets and cinematography. California wealth is illustrated in bright technicolor perfectly. It's almost unbelievable. The azusa blue swimming pools, glamorous Christmas parties with a million television sets on deck, fancy cars, everyone looking like a fashion model - All of this supported by a fantastic soundtrack with artists like; The Bangles, Poison, Aerosmith, Slayer, Joan Jett, Public Enemy, LL Cool J, Danzig, Roy Orbison, Run-D.M.C. David Lee Roth, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Cult, The Doors, and Jimi Hendrix. That's one mighty fine variety.

The acting performances between McCarthy, Gertz, and Downey are pretty standard for your typical 80s drama. I do enjoy seeing familiar faces from the Brat-Pack. Downey isn't a member of the Brat-Pack from this time (technically he is) but there's no doubting that he's the most talented actor in this film. His heart-gripping performance almost brings viewers to tears. Along with the star trio, we have one of the many loves of my life, James Spader. Most of you who either know me in real life or keep up with this blog and articles for various websites can tell that I have been a massive Spader fan since Pretty in Pink. It's just like me to fall for the bad boys. There are also cameos by "Heather's" Lisanne Falk that tries to down a bottle of pills and Michael Bowen from Valley Girls and Kill Bill, "My name is Buck and I'm here to fuck." Ugh, serious douche chills. According to IMDB, Brad Pitt was paid $38 for his uncredited appearance and Keanu Reeves was initially cast as Clay Easton. Interesting.

The final 30-minutes of the film is quite depressing and ultimately, the same result as many cocaine users whose lives have spun out of control. The actors did a good job helping us to feel the tension between the main characters. Julian has nowhere to go. His family has cut him off and he has this crazy drug dealer Rip (Spader) after him and prostituting him out to settle old debts. Clay (McCarthy)  really cares about his best friend, even though he fucked his girl, and he will do anything to get him out of this situation. He tries speaking to Rip but Rip is all, "Who the fuck do you think you are talking to pal?" With that horrible slicked-back 'do' and gigantic cellphone in a hot tub. These people went to high school together, including Rip. They're barely into their 20s and they're already prostituting their own friends over cocaine debts. It's just nonsensical madness. Then there's Blair who seems to have some family drama with her father and his new bitch. This is never really explained into detail in the film but the tension is pretty obvious, especially when Blair's father's lady comes out of the bedroom with that 'fresh fucked' hair and make-up and her daddy's shirt. Blair decided not to go off to college. Instead, she thought it would be a good idea to become a model and form a cocaine habit. Clay still has feelings for Blair. Throughout all the chaos of Christmas, he plans to take Blair and Julian back to school with him. While Julian has made it clear that he is "Not ready for homework," Blair seems to be for this idea to get their lives on the right track. I will not spoil the ending for you here but let me just say, it's not good.

The film is actually based on Bret Easton Ellis's nihilistic novel with the same title. The film stays true to the book, for the most part but doesn't provide the coldness in all of our characters, including Clay. The novel is far more depressing than the film.

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