Less Than Zero

“I kinda have mixed feelings on Brett Easton Ellis as a person. He’s said some kinda insensitive things and made some questionable choices, none of which we’re going to discuss right now. But as a writer, he’s brilliant. Well maybe not necessarily brilliant, but certainly fearless and more than a little missed up, which is exactly up my alley.

My love of American Psycho is no secret, especially coming off seeing it on Broadway recently. (Also on the list of things we will not discuss, the level of my giddyness during the act 1 “”Hip to Be Square”” finale). So of course, that’s not the only one of his that I’ve read. Less Than Zero and Rules of Attraction are also on my shelf. I remember them being equally dark, but not quite to the levels of disturbing as Psycho of course. At least for today, we’re looking at Less Than Zero.

This one actually came first (movie and book) and I even noticed a sly nod to it in Psycho’s book. In what would prove to be true Ellis form (at least based off the three that I have read) is that there isn’t a whole lot of through plot, mostly a lot of isolated scenes. The movie tries very hard to tie in a more coherent storyline than I remember there being (granted, it’s been a while since I read it).

So in the movie, Andrew McCarthy’s (hey remember him from Pretty In Pink the other day?) Clay has come back home from college over Christmas. He finds his old girlfriend Blair (Jami Gertz) has picked up some rather bad habits we’ll say, but not quite as bad or to the extreme as his best friend Julian, Robert Downey Jr, in a role that would prove somewhat prophetic for his life, given his well documented struggles with addiction.

Anyways Julian is coked up to his eyes and indebted up to his ears. Clay is torn between trying to save his friend and escaping back to his new life. Again, I don’t really remember much from the book, but I at least got the impression that what was on film was pretty tame in comparison. Mostly because not a whole lot happened on film. It’s one of those movies that has sort of been forgotten to time, and there truly are so many better films to spend your time on. Except for the haunting glance at a young RDJr, I think I’d rather spend time rediscovering the book than watching the movie again.”

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