DALLAS BUYERS CLUB (2013)

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Christopher

Dallas Buyers Club was fantastic. I was a little nervous about watching this cause I imagined it being sad from start to finish, and it is in many ways, but there is so much to this movie that the sad parts make sense instead of being sad just to be sad. That was kind of a mouthful but for a movie about AIDS, Dallas Buyers Club is bad ass! This was also probably the best movie I have ever seen Matthew McConaughey in. He can be funny on occasion but I don’t think I’ll ever see him as anyone other than his character in The Wedding Planner. I think I feel that way because that was the first time I remember knowing who he was, the guy who got caught playing bongos naked in his house.

My knowledge of AIDS is very limited, I guess I might have an above average knowledge of it, but after seeing How To Survive A Plague, Dallas Buyers Club was a nice companion to it. More from a straight man’s perspective, which I really liked cause it made it very relatable (only in a few ways though cause his character is a lot meaner than I am).

What’s also crazy about this film is that I think Jennifer Garner is the heaviest main actor in this film. McConaughey and Leto are so sickly looking it kept reminding me of Christian Bale in The Machinist.

This movie is really good and if you don’t see it, I think that’s a mistake. I would sit down and watch it again, right now.

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

Whoa. So, I went into Dallas Buyers Club having absolutely no clue what it was about. I knew the principle cast and that was it. Honestly, I assumed it was about a prostitution ring for some reason. So when we first see Matthew McConaughey on screen as Ron Woodroof, he was so weirdly emaciated I thought, “God, it looks like has AIDS.” WOMP WOMP.

I’m not one to think that extreme weight loss or gain automatically makes a performance great, but good lord. If it wasn’t for his distinctive voice, I probably wouldn’t have recognized him. The same goes for Jared Leto as Rayon, who loses weight as the film progresses. So, yes, McConaughey is playing someone with AIDS. And he’s incredible.

What makes his performance so incredible is the subtlety, which is something I don’t think he’s usually known for. His character starts off as a low-life; a homophobic, drug and sex addict who’s undereducated and over-confident. As the film moves along, and he gets lumped into the stigmatized group of AIDS patients (the movie starts in 1985), he (slowly) starts to see gay men as just men and takes control over his own self-education. Maybe this doesn’t sound that transformative, but it’s important to note that Ron doesn’t go from being completely homophobic to someone dancing with guys at a gay bar or something. He definitely maintains his distance. It’s not really until it becomes nearly impossible for him to not be around gay men that he starts to see them a little more clearly. It makes it very realistic; Ron might not be an advocate for gay rights, but he is an advocate for AIDS research, which puts him in a weird category all his own.

I also really loved seeing Jared Leto in this. He’s so good! He’s great at playing the role of the cross-dressing flamboyantly gay man without being a stereotype. I don’t really know how he even pulls that off. And Jennifer Garner is so great, too; her character is a doctor on the forefront on AIDS research who is torn between trying to help her friends with AIDS, keeping her job, being the only female doctor involved in AIDS research, and trying to be ethical.

Even though so much has happened socially and scientifically since this movie took place, Dallas Buyers Club is also an interesting metaphor for marijuana. Much of the conflict of the movie is Ron denying AZT and other drugs and going for more natural (not homeopathic, just more natural) cures that treat his symptoms, knowing that they won’t cure him. And I think that’s the biggest argument for legalizing marijuana; that it’s a stigmatized, natural remedy for symptoms that can’t be treated as well with anything else. It’s crazy to think that we might be in the midst of something like that now, as they were in Dallas Buyers Club.

Anyway, I hope everyone sees this. Maybe don’t see it with your parents. But your parents should see it, too. And if you’re scared of seeing a movie about people with AIDS because you think it’ll automatically be incredibly sad, don’t let that stop you from seeing Dallas Buyers Club. Yeah, it’s sad. Sure. But it’s also incredible and pretty funny. It’s amazing!

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