RULES OF ATTRACTION Review
RULES OF ATTRACTION is a brilliant satire, however I get the rather sick feeling that like FEAR & LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, BIG LEBOWSKI and FIGHT CLUB the film will go mostly reviled by the critic community at large due to a generational difference.
Reading criticisms about there being a lack of an ‘entry character’ to care about simply shows the callousness and the sheer enormity of how out of touch some people are that watch this film.
American culture prior to college and post-college is mostly a culture of repression. A time where the stringent morays of society be it teachers and parents or the business world… well those are the periods where the individual in this country begins to evolve. For the most repressed, college and the open abuse of sexuality, alcohol and drugs runs rampants in a Bacchian manner.
Fucking becomes for many, the whole point of relationships… be they Male/Male, Female/Female or Male/Female. Sure you have folks that are mature in college and have begun to form that full functioning adult thing about mutual respect and understanding. That understand that sex is as much about the build-up as it is about the release as well as the post-coital time too. However, more common is the Simian armpit plucking tribal sense of getting fucked up, fucked and sore. The serial relationships, the casual nature of sensory overload. The massive drug use to FEEL. The hardcore pounding of sex to FEEL something. And the glugging of beer and alcohol to numb it all away.
THE RULES OF ATTRACTION isn’t about the deeply sensitive types. It isn’t about the Richard Dreyfus character from AMERICAN GRAFFITTI… This is about those other people. The amoral ones. The folks that justify it all as being “an experience”. The ones that bang through college as a late day class into an all night party… day after day after day.
Folks that seemingly celebrate each and everyday as though it were the last. The ones that go wild for the first time in their lives. THE RULES OF ATTRACTION is about three such characters. All three characters are transformed by their experiences. Some learn, some merely evolve from it.
The day after I saw this film at Sitges I was sitting down with a lovely reporter from Canal Plus and she didn’t understand the desperate quality of the need to ‘get fucked’ that these characters were exhibiting in the film. She didn’t understand the wanton exhibition of it all. The manic freakshow of unfeeling non-caring characters. However, these characters do feel… They are human.
If you watch Roger Avary’s Sean Bateman, you’ll find someone quite different from socio-psychotic in training that you’ll find in Brett Easton Ellis’ novel… Instead you’ll find a character that we start off to recognize as a social shark… he calls himself a Vampire, but more than that… he’s a shark. He dies if he slows down, a consuming machine. He needs to experience moment to moment, second to second or he dies. By the time you reach the mid-point of the film his character is consumed with the idea of being loved and of loving, but he is still the shark, he’s still a monster. Then he sees himself through the eyes of his loved one, and it completely transforms him. The shark is hurt, he’s contemplative, he’s a raging bull with a Picador’s vara piercing into his neck causing him to bellow out in agony. His is the only character that changes his destiny. What has become of Sean Bateman at the end of the film… nobody can say for sure. Has he been transformed for the better or for the worse? Where is he headed on the motorcycle on that blizzard of a night? Will he hide from his pain, revisit it upon others or become the man he had never been? We may very well never know. That answer is up to the individual, but I can say this… James Van Der Beek fully arrives in cinemas as a real actor in the film. He is absolutely magnetic in the film and a thrill to watch. He isn’t featured on screen so much as he is unleashed. In a way, this reminds me of the wonderful performance that Leonard Nimoy gave in Phillip Kaufman’s INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS. Where a television actor fully unleashes a torrent of emotions that had been forbidden to his serial character upon the boob tube, but upon the silver screen he comes to life. Absolutely splendid.
Watch Shannyn Sossamon’s Lauren Hynde. This isn’t some unfeeling wanton tart, this is a character who is surrounded by orgiastic activity. Her hyper-breeding roommate played by Jessica Biel would put a Eunuch into heat, so Lauren’s desire to lose her virginity is quite understandable. She doesn’t want to just lose it, she has a dream about how she wants to lose it. Whether it be her dreamy Victor or even Sean Bateman… She wants to feel complete, to know what sex fully is. To have that shared moment with a man. What happens to her is as far as her imagination would ever allow her to nightmare about, but if you stay with the movie… If you watch her character, see her react, watch how she’s affected by the serial betrayals. Her roommate, her teacher, both of her dream-mates. The suicide, the unfortunate prank, the terrible deflowering… The Lauren that walks out of “The End of the World Party” at the end of the film with smeared mascara and talks as a human to Paul Denton… This Lauren has aged 10 years in this movie. I don’t believe she’ll ever be the person she was before that party. Who has she become? I’m not sure. This movie isn’t about answers, it is about transformations. The changes.
Behold Ian Somerhalder’s Paul Denton. A gay man that pursues those he’s attracted to, sometimes… often times to terrible ends. In an environment where every guy ruthlessly pursues the object of his desires, he simply attempts the same, only to find an unsympathetic world that is still quite filled with aggressive homophobia. Paul is not happy with his obvious available field of mates, he’s attracted to people as handsome as himself. Watching this film, I just couldn’t imagine a better ALEXANDER THE GREAT than Ian Somerhalder. Just looking at him here, he is an amazingly magnetic presence and his eyes are just piercing. He’s the exact right age for Alexander – and he certainly demonstrates the acting chops here. That’s beside the point though… Where is Paul at the end of the film? He’s had his heart cleaved in two, but he seems to be a humanist at the end… a realist… Not bitter, but sad. Will he be realistic and not self-deluding in his future pursuits of passion? Do any of us?
Now, while these are the three main characters of the film, this is an ensemble cast that just unleashes character after character. Watching Fred Savage or Kip Pardue or Jessica Biel or Kate Bosworth or Thomas Ian Nicholas or Eric Stoltz or Clifton Collins Jr. or Faye Dunaway or Paul Williams just all unleash in this film… You find that each and every actor in this film is alive. Nobody is sleepwalking here like in RED DRAGON.
Then there is Russell Sams’ DICK Jared, who reminds me of Belushi’s brilliant Bluto Blutarsky in the brilliant ANIMAL HOUSE. Russell Sams is just a discovery and a half in the film. I mean watching that guy steal every second from Somerhalder and Dunaway was just stunning. He is a living satyr, an imp. When he walks out of the film, you can’t help but wonder where is he going and what would that movie be like? I mean he is just that friggin great here. His dance scene with Ian to FAITH was simply the sheerest joy I’ve seen in a theater in quite some time. It made me howl with memories of my Band Bus blaring out the rest of that ALBUM and the dance was so perfect, so unbelievably well timed that it feels like sheer spontaneity, like the greatest happy accident caught on camera, except… well, who knows. I do know that according to Bogdanovich, Welles, Dennis Hopper and John Ford… that the greatest achievements on cinema are those happy accidents. Perhaps that was what this was, but however they did it, the carefree elation of it all made me giddy as hell.
Here there is a vital and different pulse under each and every character’s skin. In fact the entire film has a pulse, a beat infused by the vitality of the cinema on display here by Roger Avary.
Everyone seems to highlight VICTOR’S EUROPEAN TRIP, but frankly the Split Screen Marriage Shot and the Snowflake tear both completely blew me away. Watching that snowflake land on Sean Bateman’s eye-corner and melt – the symbolism of a man that is so cold inside that the world’s conscience sends out a flake of snow to force a tear where they should naturally spill forth… BRILLIANT! The Split Screen Marriage is so impressive that the theater in Sitges actually erupted into applause and gasps of awe. There is more of course… The brilliant use of reverse cinema. The use of music… Oh God the use of music in this movie is brilliant.
Avary understands exactly how to use pop-music to perfectly compliment and accent a scene. The use of George Michael’s FAITH and Harry Nilsson’s WITHOUT YOU are so iconic and so perfect as to be unbelievable. This isn’t to downplay the other music… oh no, in fact the rest of the music is equally perfectly chosen, only… These two particular sequences resonated and evoked very strong, albeit totally different, emotional reactions.
Roger Avary literally throws down RULES OF ATTRACTION like a dare to other filmmakers attempting to tell stories in the college age arena. This isn’t just an entertaining film, it is also art, satire and a sociological statement about modern American college lifestyles. I can not highly recommend this movie enough.
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Oct. 17, 2002, 4:04 p.m. CST
oooohhhh ooooohhh i'm first
Oct. 17, 2002, 4:06 p.m. CST
sad isn't it. when the highlight of the day is being the first to post.
I saw this Friday night and thought it was awsome. Shame it's already disappearing from so many theaters. Should've been released on a less busy weekend.
Oct. 17, 2002, 4:28 p.m. CST
gen x movie, not so applicable to gen y who are in college today. you can say that every generation faces the same situation--- the same transformation-- but I don't feel that way. I don't think it's a "satire and a sociological statement about modern American college lifestyles." feel free to disagree, I'm just saying my opinion.
Oct. 17, 2002, 4:32 p.m. CST
Let us not forget that Harry and Roger Avary are friends. The movie sucked! It was a pathetic attempt at filmmaking. It looked like a college film project. Using film-school gimmicks to cover bad direction. This is one of those movies where if you say you don't like it, people will say you didn't understand the satire. Give me a break. Compare it to a well done film like American Psycho and you'll see how bad Roger Avary is at directing!
Oct. 17, 2002, 4:37 p.m. CST
I sat through RULES OF ATTRACTION and thought it was very, very poor. It's an adolescent idealization of sorts of the college sexual experience, barely connected to reality. The characters are so unenlightened and, within the film, unmotivated that it's really difficult to care; there are plenty of despicable characters in films out there which don't undermine sympathy toward the filmmakers' vision, so it's more than a bit disingenuous to argue that if someone doesn't like the movie in spite of its anti-heroes (ahem), that there's a generation gap or they're Missing The Point. Maybe folks who DO like this film are missing the point -- there's a soggy symbolism at work in this movie ("Viktor: The test came back positive!" everyone at the door fails to register), and a cheapness in motivation which undercuts any good will the movie almost gets going: the girl's suicide is the result of myopic obsession, and we never noticed her because the film didn't either, until it's too late (and if that implies UNDERSTANDING or EMPATHY or TRAGEDY, then why are we spending so much time with the three leads?); people who are barely even introduced suddenly feel the world will come apart if their lust is unrequited; and the final stroke betraying the Lauren character as equally unaware as the rest of these folks is either a crime pulled on her character or a revelation that her performance wasn't so hot after all, since absolutely NOTHING pointed toward Lauren as delusional. Undoubtedly the film was supposed to be something of a bludgeoning sledgehammer, and instead it's more like being asked to watch as a second-year film student (I'll give Avary that much) performs with a moist towel. The worst film I've seen this year next to FULL FRONTAL. Pseudo-hip fetish worship regurgitation. 3.5 out of 10.
Oct. 17, 2002, 5:13 p.m. CST
Minor spoiler, for those who care -- As an example of how "carefully observed" this film is (as opposed to "realistic"): has anybody EVER seen someone beaten by a drug dealer and his henchman with a baseball bat in a rather isolated place come out of it with a couple of bruises on their face? This, after using an electric knife on one of the guys? Hmmm...
Oct. 17, 2002, 5:21 p.m. CST
I completely agree with you on this one, Harry! I absolutely love this film! The biting satire- society is only self serving! The fact that everyone has atleast a jerk ,maybe more. The way Van Der Beek learns to love (mistake).... Then quick swifts from comedy to tragedy and back again. The disater--- THE NUDITY! Three cheers! Remember this film around oscar time (it should be nominated for ATLEAST Best Adapted Screenplay, maybe more).... also, I am over at imdb.com's boardroom, if you want to read my review there----
Oct. 17, 2002, 5:35 p.m. CST
One of the worst creations of a confused species.
Oct. 17, 2002, 5:59 p.m. CST
nt (no text) is usually put in the tagline so people won't click on the subject line expecting a longer post.. warrenbuffet, putting nt where there is no text is just surreal.
Oct. 17, 2002, 6:04 p.m. CST
by The Gline
It's crass, boorish, cold, creepy, ugly, filled with the sort of people we would cross the street to get out of the way of -- and we're supposed to SPEND MONEY TO WATCH THEM FOR TWO HOURS? Like hell! Face it, if Roger Avary's name wasn't on this thing no one would care about it. (The same goes for Bret Easton Ellis's name, come to think of it.)
Oct. 17, 2002, 6:32 p.m. CST
And your film will disappear overnight.
Oct. 17, 2002, 6:39 p.m. CST
by Respect The Cock
Who saw THAT coming?!? That's right...we all did.
Oct. 17, 2002, 6:42 p.m. CST
by Brother Putney
linguo says: bacchanalian! ("I thought he was a party robot!")
Oct. 17, 2002, 6:44 p.m. CST
by Respect The Cock
A rave review next to the ad banner for the movie -- wow! Can't wait for the raves for BELOW and SANTA VS. THE SNOWMAN.
Oct. 17, 2002, 7:06 p.m. CST
Or the 'brilliant' shots for their ridiculousness. What about the fucking movie as a whole? What made Van Der Beek so great?
Oct. 17, 2002, 7:38 p.m. CST
another garbage film from the den of depravity known as hollowweird.
Oct. 17, 2002, 7:59 p.m. CST
That's the only reason it was funny, because of how incredibly gay those two freaks were. Anyone that can relate to that song or that part of the movie is a FLAMER!!!
Oct. 17, 2002, 10:27 p.m. CST
by Darth Phallus
He ruined it! Every time he came onscreen the movie just became Dawson goes to college and gets an attitude. And I've never even seen an episode of Dawson's Creek! How does this guy keep getting work? What was the other piece of crap he was in? Dawson becomes a hick football player and rebels against his Dad or something? He is definitely in the "Freddie Prinze" school of vapidness. Being wooden and boring is not the same as mysterious and interesting. Roger Avary did an admire job in the direction...the split screen work in particular was very inventive and felt new and hip (kinda reminded in ways of what I read in the KILL BILL script) but his casting here just sucked!! Somebody like Leonardo DiCaprio would've taken this role and just fucking "owned" it! Van Der Stone is just a dime-a-dozen got lucky dud, he's the Luke Perry of the Boy band generation. I read this novel back in college and it was fucking brilliant, to see this character massacred by a talentless block of nothing like Van Der Tool just ...well...it sux...and therefore so does ROA...save your dough and rent it
Oct. 17, 2002, 10:34 p.m. CST
by Darth Phallus
I really wanted to like this film, too! Dammit!
Oct. 17, 2002, 10:38 p.m. CST
It's shitty, shallow, mean-spirited and empty-headed satire. It was a crappy novel and it's a crappy film. Go figure. All the ostentatious camera and editing tricks in the world do not make up for the superficiality of the material. By the way, I'm the same age as Harry, so this is not a "generational" thing.
Oct. 17, 2002, 11:31 p.m. CST
I guess I'm biased because I basically busted my hump working a full-time job to pay my own way through school. Full-time classes AND work. It didn't leave room for many other activities besides studying,eating and sleeping. But anyway...
Oct. 17, 2002, 11:42 p.m. CST
by Cutter's Way
Reaction to ROA has nothing to do with generation... it has to with taste. Call it Rules of Attention: Throw in some scantily clad young women, taboo sex acts (no realistic depictions of sexuality god forbid), salty dialogue, narcotics, some violence (but it has to be ironic comic violence, nothing too real)and you have the latest edgy picture - guaranteed to get some press and acolades by the wannabe hipster zombies. There are always apologists for shallow yet flashy films offering up would-be shock and titilation disguised as "truth". Nothing in Rules resembles the vast majority of college students' lives, even those priviliged party types the film romanticizes in a pathetic attempt to satirize. There is nothing wrong with a good exploitation film, but if a filmmaker tries to have it both ways, the film comes off as pretentious, insincere, and confused. Avary's trying to get noticed again because he's been forgotten by anyone who remembered him in the first place - that's all there is to his film. Majority reaction to Rules has been right on, despite Harry's appeals on its behalf. The film is a desperate, tedious wail very much like that of a child who thinks he isn't getting his fair share of attention at his own birthday party. Maybe I'm being too hard on Roger Avary - Ellis' novel is even worse.
Oct. 17, 2002, 11:55 p.m. CST
Whne this movie gets released into video stores it should be put into the fantasy section, because this is about the least accurate portrate of the lives of young Americans ever filmed. This movie is crap, and if I had respect for Harry as a movie reviewer, I would have just lost it. Where have you gone makers of "Pump Up the Volume?"
Oct. 18, 2002, 12:22 a.m. CST
PUTV? realistic? um...
Oct. 18, 2002, 12:46 a.m. CST
This movie is the best of the year so far. All you little whiny bitches that are easily offended or are homophobes or are too dense to appriciate the verbal humor should go watch Pearl Harbor or some shit. Sure Harry is a big fucking shill for his friends and sponsors but that doesn't mean the movie wasn't good.
Oct. 18, 2002, 6:26 a.m. CST
Thank you, Tut. I needed that after this terribly depressing talkback. --d
Oct. 18, 2002, 7:56 a.m. CST
Sorry had to get in on the whole Clue Talkback. Oh wait. This is Rules of Attraction. Sorry. Back to your regularly scheduled talkback.
Oct. 18, 2002, 10:11 a.m. CST
ROA wasn't bad but it wasn't exactly good either. I mean stylistically and performance wise it was spot on but I felt that the story was really rather pointless. Maybe I just didn't get it but I really didn't give a shit. And ah no college is not like how it was portrayed in this film. I only wish that there were party's with hot naked chicks walking around groping everybody.
Oct. 18, 2002, 10:39 a.m. CST
I love it when Harry gets all intellectual! You go, girl!
Oct. 18, 2002, 10:53 a.m. CST
I'm sorry but no amount of flashy camerwork and techincal proficiency can mask the fact that this film does not have a fucking STORY. There are some very funny scenes and I think Avary does well given the source material, but this film doesn't work as a satire. Pants.
Oct. 18, 2002, 10:59 a.m. CST
but didn't it seem like Harry wants to plow Ian?
Oct. 18, 2002, 11:33 a.m. CST
Great review, great movie. Unfortunately this movie will not be well received by the public at large.
Oct. 18, 2002, 11:42 a.m. CST
then you're either out of the loop or you just don't know any horribly shallow, awful people. Maybe it's because I live in Texas?
Oct. 18, 2002, 12:45 p.m. CST
by Fitzy Funk
Simply put, this is one of the best reviews you have written. Evah.
Oct. 18, 2002, 1:01 p.m. CST
by Maynard McGuffin
With freedom of speech comes a large measure of responsibility. An increasing number of young filmmakers confuse using the word 'fuck' alot good screenwriting, having actors yell all their lines good acting, and think juxtapozing sudden, graphic violence with the mundane is representing reality. In an excellent recent interview, Avary (who seems like an intelligent fellow)remarked that most people don't understand the Bret Easton Ellis is writing social satire. I would agree. THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS DON'T GET SATIRE! (pardon my 'yelling')To make a film and claim it's satire, and then fill it with beautiful young actors and advertize it during the 8-10 slot on the WB is irresponsible. Do you think that the generation reared on the Real World and watching Christina Agulliera writhe around in a thing is going to understand that they're not supposed to emulate this behavior?
Oct. 18, 2002, 1:05 p.m. CST
by Maynard McGuffin
sorry for the mistake
Oct. 18, 2002, 1:09 p.m. CST
Hey now! Easy on the criticism of Christina! SHE is the victim here. SHE has been maligned by society. She WANTED to writhe around NAKED, but SOCIETY won't let her! God bless her valiant struggle...to squeeze into those tight pants.
Oct. 18, 2002, 1:14 p.m. CST
There. I said it. I said what all of you were thinking when you watched this movie but are too big of pussies to admit. The scene where Bateman and what's her face show up late for class is sheer magic. He says something to the effect of "I don't give a fuck about school" in a way that it seems like it's never been said before. like it is some kind of new epiphany and it makes every other college movie to date irrelevant.
Oct. 18, 2002, 1:20 p.m. CST
by Maynard McGuffin
I don't believe in censorship. But I don't want my twelve year old watching it on TRL and thinking she should act that way.
Oct. 19, 2002, 12:12 a.m. CST
this is my favorite movie of the year, you know why, cuz i'm a jerk and i love jerks. but seriously i caught that ice tear thing as well (brilliant) and the camera split, lovely. shannyn sossaman is my girl and everyone was so beautiful, i have new respect for van der beek. and the references to american psycho had me going ga-ga, can't wait for the dvd. whoo hoo! - 81666
Oct. 19, 2002, 3:53 a.m. CST
First of all the film isnt a complete satire.2nd this isnt nearly as brilliant as say KILLING ZOE.Roger Avary should be shot for caring enough about college life to make a film out of it.The whole backwards thing got old very quick also,trying things that are different is one thing but when if fails it fails and this movie more then fails. Satires of and teen movies are just awful.Oh im sorry college life.Its the same crap recycled over and over and over again with someone trying to do something different so bad it just comes out the same.ROA Blows and it deserves the money its making=none.
Oct. 19, 2002, 7:03 a.m. CST
If Avary wants to do a dark movie... why doesn't he do a real one? I want to watch a movie with The Stairs of Death. http://www.remember.org/camps/mauthausen/mau-stairs.html
Oct. 19, 2002, 8:17 a.m. CST
first time poster, last time poster.... I've been coming to AICN for a while now, I come here to see a less newspaperish review of movies that I'm interesting in seeing, and as such, I've never been much interested in the talk back section. I just went through a whole lot of messages here, and my god, I'm glad I avoided it for so long. when any of you morons have a website as highly regarded as this one, or have such a tremendous fanbase, or just have the balls to do what you want to do, like it seems most of the boys who run this site do, THEN you can talk. Seems to me like most everybody is simply talking shit because they don't have anything better to do with their friday nights (much like me, except it's 5 in the morning, and I just got home...) so take a fucking step away from your immense self-centerdness, and give these people some respect for in the very least, trying to convey a message to people much like themselves. People who simply like movies. This a fucking review website, not junior high. Attack all you will, but remember, you don't know these people, and if you did meet them in person, would you have the balls to say it to their face? Of course not, that's the beauty of anonymity. Cowards. And as far as talking shit about the director, or actor, or what have you. When YOU make a movie that gets thrown into the mainstream, or get paid a pile of money for reciting lines, THEN you can talk. Until then, go back to your loveless existence, go beat off to girls you'll never touch, and leave these people alone. And given with what I know of this talk back board, I now fully expect to hear all sorts of name calling and piddling.
Oct. 19, 2002, 11:05 a.m. CST
I saw this movie twice last weekend and was thoroughly impressed, except for one thing: Victor. Has anyone read GLAMORAMA? Apparently Avary wants to make this Ellis novel into a film as well, but with Kip Pardue returning as Victor. THIS GUY IS NO VICTOR! I was jazzed that they were making GLAMORAMA until I realized it would be with Kip "Driven" Pardue behind the wheel, but now that ROA bombed maybe the novel will stay unfilmed, unharmed. Oh, yeah, James Da Beek was the shit in ROA. A sniper placed a bomb in my ribcage, dontchaknow. -BATEMAN
Oct. 19, 2002, 11:11 a.m. CST
Oct. 19, 2002, 11:17 a.m. CST
I also thought the restaraunt scene with "Dick" ("It sucks coooooock.") was an instant classic. Bravo to whoever that actor was, he'd make a good Victor Ward. Better than Kip Pardue. Maybe Bruce Paltrow's corpse could play Victor in GLAMORAMA. I'm sorry, I'm stuck on this topic. I have to return some video tapes.--BATEMAN
Oct. 19, 2002, 2:43 p.m. CST
by God Shamgodd
James Van der Beek is a major star in the making. He will achieve screen fame to be rivaled only by Ian Ziering's.
Oct. 19, 2002, 4:23 p.m. CST
Nobody sleepwalks here like in Red Dragon. Why? Because these actors and actresses cannot act. They are trying their best to act geniune and real, that is why they can't sleepwalk. In the case of Red Dragon, almost every main character (Edward Norton, Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson)has an Academy Award nomination. Red Dragon is nothing to these actors. "Actors" like James Van Der Beek and Shannyn Sossamon still are in the period where they need to be in more films to be accepted as geniune actors. As a freshman in college, I hated The Rules of Attraction. I cannot believe Harry loves bullshit like this and Reign of Fire but dislikes films like Minority Report. I would bet anyone that he hates Catch Me If You Can.
Oct. 19, 2002, 10:53 p.m. CST
Sorry, guys, ROA wasn't that great. And for people who don't think this is "realistic:" I could give you names and phone numbers of people I've known (and had to calm down afterwards) who do this kind of crap pretty regularly. Basically, I try to avoid them, but once you get a rep as a guy who won't turn you in to the cops, you get kinda stuck. ROA is stylized, yes, but to say it has no basis in reality means you must know different people than I do. ------- I think Avery would have made his point a lot clearer if he didn't seem to be so joyful in portraying the nasty ass side of things. The losing of the virginity scene is hard to watch, but not because of its grueling emotional content. It's hard to watch because a very grimy, evil thing is portrayed in such a slick, tongue in cheek manner. It takes it from realistic to mere entertainment. Nothing wrong with "mere" entertainment, but it takes a serious punch out of the subject matter (which, it should be said, was always Ellis' fatal flaw, IMHO.) It's almost as if they can't say anything without a wink. "It's OK, it's just a movie." REQUIEM FOR A DREAM is loads better.
Oct. 20, 2002, 12:36 a.m. CST
Rules of Attraction is easily one of the best movies of the year. Oh no! Roger used the word "fuck" and fancy camerawork! It must be 100% style and zero substance! It must be a misguided attempt at morals and satire! Give me a break. The world is not a go go happy place, there are true animals out there, and they just all happened to be shoved into one film. Dislike it if you will, but don't be so quick to discredit it, please. There are real problems with outlandish characters. There are outlandish problems with real characters. Enjoy the insanity, reflect on the choices.
Oct. 20, 2002, 1:54 a.m. CST
Fight Club is a masterpiece that stands alone as the most pointedly funny, unnerving and true to life comentary on social behavior in America. So, take your Dawson's Creek on meth and jump off of the nearest mountain top. If none is available, just go away. But please don't compare this film to Fight Club, Harry.
Oct. 20, 2002, 6:09 a.m. CST
Most of you people are really stupid. Your criticisms make little or no sense. All any of you are doing is cluttering this board with inane dribble.
Oct. 21, 2002, 12:02 a.m. CST
to whoever wrote that these characters are too smart to do dumb shit like this. think about how man intelligent serial killers there are out there, how many (unfortunately) racists that are intelligent (though it's an oxymoron if you ask me) this is about animalistic feelings taking over your self control. it's not about college, it's about how cold and repressive interaction and relationships are. it's pretty cool. - 81666
Oct. 21, 2002, 1:12 a.m. CST
This movie will be viewed by one's own experiences and relationships. Those who haven't seen or acknowledge the real world will think it is unrealistic and exaggerated, as many of my friends do. Complain and moan about the camera tricks and whatnot, but accept the message. People are funked up. Face it. That's why the Jetsons, in the future, live above the fog. Because we funk up the world. Word
Oct. 21, 2002, 1:16 a.m. CST
The word "moray" does not exist. If our overweight hero is writing about social behavior deemed appropriate by unwritten rules the word would be spelled "more". We need to do some spell checking and proofing for those readers who are actually out of college with degrees. Didn't Moriarty say something about our willingness to "settle" for less than we should from film? I think we should no longer settle for such poorly written reviews written by biased third parties which refuses to give worthwhile criticism.
Oct. 21, 2002, 4:09 a.m. CST
I literally jumped up and down in my seat when the snowflake tear thing happened, but I think Harry kinda ruined it for the people smart enough to get the symbolism who haven't seen the movie. Oh well, those too dumb to get the symbolism won't like the movie anyway.
Oct. 21, 2002, 8:10 p.m. CST
by Darth Hideous
You're both right and wrong, and you both hit on one thing Harry and most others missed about this. It is satire, but it's not satirizing the characters in the movie - it's satirizing the viewer. No, this movie is not entirely realistic, no college exists where everyone is like this. It is, however, 100% reflective of what college would be like if all the people who wanted to be like this got the chance, if they were as cool and as rich and as sexually successful as the people they'd like to be. It is, as someone in another talkback said, what reality would be like if _American Pie_ et al took place in the real world. I am amazed at how many people react to this movie by saying "I expected a happy little sex comedy, not this perverse filth!!!" As if the characters in the movie they wanted to see are any healthier, as if the *movie* they wanted to see is any healthier. Ellis pulls the same trick - *exactly* like Kubrick (but not Burgess, who was making a different point) in _Clockwork Orange_, and quite deliberately, he makes his anti-heroes so slick and cool you want to be like them, but of course you delude yourself that it's okay to fantasize about being as cool as them because if you were them you wouldn't do the awful things they do. He's forcing you to face your own repellant desires and warped value system that lets you admire someone you know is as disgusting and empty as Alex DeLarge or Sean Bateman. But too many people are just too damned dense or too deep in denial to accept the message. If anyone thinks this movie is poorly executed, fine, we can agree to disagree, but if you think it's awful because it's unrealistic, or because there's no sympathetic character to relate to, or because it's not happy and charming and harmless like _Porky's_ or _American Pie_, you're just full of shit and lying to yourself. That or old and over the hill like Ebert, whose jaw was probably as slack during this as it was when the entire point of _Fight Club_ went sailing three feet over his head.
Oct. 22, 2002, 4:50 a.m. CST
You speak wise words. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE is quite possibly the most perfect film ever made. Are you a David Lynch fan?
Oct. 23, 2002, 7:56 p.m. CST
I walked into this movie only because I liked American Psycho so much. From the reviews by people like Leonard Maltin and the fact that Dawson sucks ass, I expected to walk out of this film in horror and disgust. To my surprise I really liked it and thought, God help me, Dawson was really badass. It was actually the closest to the mark college film that I've ever seen. Parents paying thousands for their kids educations may not like to hear that but it's true. In fact I didn't cringe in horror and disgust until just now when Harry put the image of him jiggling his shirtless pudding-belly with another guy on a bed singing Faith by George Michael in my head. Thanks for ruining my curry dinner.
Oct. 23, 2002, 9:05 p.m. CST
I really admire parts of Bret Easton Ellison's works. I would like to believe that he is not a woman-hater thinly veiling his hatred under the title satire but it's hard to swallow. I'm no PC-Nazi but I can't recall a female character he's written who isn't a whore, airhead, or pretty lamb waiting to be dismembered and slaughtered.
Oct. 24, 2002, 4:34 p.m. CST
... was Jean, Patrick Bateman's secretary. I'm not entirely convinced he would have actually harmed her had he not been interrupted. I think that she was one of the few people to genuinely care about Bateman, and he knew it.
Oct. 24, 2002, 5:37 p.m. CST
There is a difference between satire and exploitation. Films like "Fight Club" get under the skin. They pose questions, challenge assumptions, and offer hints that redemption is possible and even worthwhile. If TROA is really just meant to show its audience that human depravity is alive and well in America's youth, all I have to say is NO KIDDING. Tell us something we don't know or give voice to something we can't articulate ourselves, and maybe we'll plop down our 8 bucks. We've seen shock for the sake of shock before. In the end, this kind of "entertainment" has nothing more to say than "Jackass" does.
Oct. 27, 2002, 3:52 a.m. CST
by Vincent Vega
The movie (Rules) had some interesting stuff going on and clearly was influenced by Kubrick, but sadly, Roger Avery is no Kubrick. Which is to say, I don't think its impressive aspirations (teen sex movies are rarely so ambitious) fully panned out, but I admire at least what he was trying to do. I actually thought one of the best scenes was the one in the restaurant with the mothers. Stuff with the drug dealers was probably the least well realized.
Nov. 11, 2002, 3:10 a.m. CST
by Trader Groucho
Seriously. Rules of Attraction was this vile repugnant exercise in pointless pseudo-artistic self-flaggelation on the part of writer/director/pompous ass Roger Avary. Worst thing he ever did was part ways with Quentin Tarantino, and judging from their post-partnership work, it's clear enough to me who brought the meat to the table in THAT professional relationship. I'm not going to blame the actors, at least two of whom were simply looking for a role that was a total 180 from their WB personae. Where there was the occasional interesting camera angle or brief display of editing panache, I'll just throw credit to the cinematographer and editor, respectively. It would have helped for there to be at least one audience surrogate character in this ensemble, one person we could glom to on some level. Instead, we get Fassbinder on a bad E trip. And I don't mean that as a compliment. The non-stop loathesomeness of the characters works in the literary source material at least partially because the novelist can curl a phrase up and toss it the reader's direction so we know what's up. Also, we can put the book down. In the theater where I saw this, roughly half the audience of just over a dozen had gotten up, disgusted, and walked by the hour mark. I hung in there 'til the end because, after all, this is the guy who worked with QT to give PF. Well, Avary ain't gettin' my time or my moola next trip out unless I hear seriously good recommendations from a variety of people I trust. Harry, thanks for the AICN site and for your gushing fanboy reports from China and for providing the talkback forums, but your opinion alone won't sway me next time Roger Avary steps up to the plate. I'm not even sure Jessica Biel in a Daisy Chain with Halle Berry, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Elisha Cuthbert and Michelle Forbes would get me into the theater if it starts out, "A Film by Roger Avary". -- Trader Groucho (AKA Alpha Zebra)
Nov. 24, 2002, 9:01 p.m. CST
I havent seen the ROA Movie Yet cause im from Europe.. And since Im a big FightClub fan.. And already read the ROA novel, and most people here didnt, All I can say is that the GENERATION X in the original Novel is the 80s Crack Generation.. The Novel takes place in around 1985, thats Why So many people didnt react properly nor didnt identify themselfs on the movie.. Read the Novel, See the filme.. Them you can fully understand it and review it then :P Cya ppl!
Dec. 21, 2002, 12:34 p.m. CST
and has one the best sequences ever seen on film - the trip to Europe - genius. However, the scene with the drug dealers & the machette - a piss poor rip-off seen thousands of times.
Jan. 25, 2003, 10 a.m. CST
How can you compare a terrible, rotten film like this, with Fear and Loathing and The Big Lebowski! Rules of Attraction needs a decent scriptwriter, to loose about thirty minutes of people walking, some actual caracters, and a director able to put it all toghether! My regards to the cinematographer, some nice shots, but that is not by far enough to save this movie! Karenica, Norway
April 9, 2003, midnight CST
It was in the theatre in my city for 3 days... 3 FUCKING DAYS! Disgusting. Anyways, this was an amazing film. The bathroom scene made my jaw drop. The ensuing flashbacks to explain exactly what led her to that bathroom- that was just genius. + the look in Van der Beek's eyes- sweet. "Nope. I'm a freshman. Peter. Peter the freshman." I know guys who pull that same shyte. This movie was truly great, + I'm glad Avary did such a great job of pulling off an accurate adaptation while still throwing a few curves balls at everyone. Out.
Aug. 18, 2008, 2:27 a.m. CST
I bet all the people that hated this movie back in the day are calling it brilliant now. Kind of like how everybody said Donnie Darko was amazing for a couple of years, then it became hip to hate. I love this website, you guys are nutty.
Jan. 31, 2012, 7:22 p.m. CST
I'm finding it extremely rewatchable and I think it's all down to the characters and the acting. The way Van Der Beek is able to convince us that Sean shares his brother Patrick's genes.
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