Review: American Psycho (2000)

Review: American Psycho (2000)

Director: Mary Harron

Writer: Mary Harron (screenplay), Bret Easton Ellis (novel)

Stars: Christian Bale, Justin Theroux, Chloe Sevigny

American Psycho, Mary Harron’s adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ literary smash of 1991, is hilariously violent and shockingly satirical.  Early in the film, as the movie’s protagonist Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) rides in the back of a luxury town car with his fiancee Evelyn (Reese Witherspoon), she asks him why he stays in a job he professes to hate.  Bateman’s response, delivered with furious intensity by Christian Bale, perfectly encapsulates one of the film’s central theses:  “Because I want to fit in.”  This sentence’s last two words are delivered with withering severity, and this seems to show that beyond its indictment of toxic masculinity, this film shows us a creature shaped from the ground up in a world of excess, depravity, and most consequently, fear.

Bale’s performance, which for my money is the best of his exceptional career (so far), shows us a character who is at once the master of all he surveys and a frightened child locked in a tall tower.  The interplay between these aspects of Bateman’s character provides the grist for much of the drama in the film, as well as most of the comedy, which is endlessly hilarious.  In what has become the film’s most famous scene, the coworkers at Bateman’s place of work are showing their business cards to one another, and when Bateman asks to see Paul Allen’s card, he is unprepared for the effect it has on him.  “Look at that subtle off-white coloring, the tasteful thickness of it,” as Bale performs this inner monologue, his voice has an almost sexually dusky nature.  When he finishes analyzing this superior business card, Bateman is shaken by the sight of it, and recoils into himself so much so that one of his coworkers inquires whether he is okay.

In this scene, Harron shows us the true weakness at the heart of corporate culture, and displays the power of envious spite.  This structural bitterness first shows itself violently when Bateman (Bale) attacks Paul Allen (Jared Leto) with an axe, concluding his hilariously vain review of the album Sports by Huey Lewis and the News.  After this first swing of the axe, during which Bateman was victim of his own psychopathy, he continues to chop Paul as he expresses the true motivation behind his violence.  “Try getting a reservation at Dorsia now, you fucking stupid bastard!”  Lines like this, hilarious and pointed, exemplify what I feel is at the center of the film; that unjustly privileged men, elevated more by their pre-determined place in society than by effort or talent, are liable to become deranged when faced with the reality of their own inadequacy.

American Psycho, both the novel and the film, stand as bristling critique of American society.  As it comes to sex, Ellis’ novel exposes the the animalistic savagery inherit in male urges, and Harron’s film shows the way easy satisfaction of all desire can result in escalating aberrant behavior.  Beyond any broader social points the film makes, it cannot be denied that this movie, and Christian Bale’s star-affirming performance in it, are as entertaining and thought provoking as any film of their era.

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Review: American Psycho (2000)

Brilliant Young Actor Stuns Hollywood with Talking Tracheotomy Scar

27 year-old burgeoning star Dennis Sureswith, best known for his oscar-nominated turn in “The River has no Bottom” as well as his standout performance in “Fartbusters 4: The Wettening,” recently stunned industry insiders when he revealed his commitment to method acting.  In preparation for his role as Derek Somersberg, survivor of a traumatic car accident who goes on to vanquish an alien uprising, he had an actual tracheotomy performed on himself.  “I felt I wasn’t really getting into the role as deep as I wanted to,” Sureswith told reporters at the film’s Cannes premiere, “So I told (producer Elizabeth Winegarten) to just stab me in the throat.”

After only two weeks with his new throat hole, Sureswith attested that while the procedure had greatly helped him act the role, his extreme method acting had also delivered unexpected benefits.  As he told a stunned group of reporters at one of the several Cannes press junkets, “My Trache scar can talk.  His name is Jean-Jacque and he’s French.”

The press pool, struck by an understandable wave of incredulity, questioned whether such a thing could even be possible.  Melissa Vicontin, Dutch reporter with The Associated Press, exclaimed “How is this possible?”  In response to the question, Sureswith’s tracheotomy scar replied, “Con comme ses pieds, it simply is!  Why must you question, eh?”

This reply brought guffaws from the French press in attendance, which only grew as Sureswith joined the conversation.  “I don’t speak any French, I have no idea where this is coming from.”  At this, Jean-Jacque quipped “Of course you don’t, you are too stupid for French, tête de noeud.”  This response left the French press in further hysterics, and inspired an abrupt career shift on the part of the young American movie star.

Currently, Sureswith is remaining in France, touring the countryside as a comedy double act, “Jean Jacque et l’âne,” which roughly translates to “Jean-Jacque and the donkey.  The American star’s family and friends haven’t heard from him in weeks, leading many to believe foul play is afoot.  This controversy is the most remarkable to hit Cannes since Terrence Malick revealed that he has an extra face in the back of his head named Boris Dimitrov.

Brilliant Young Actor Stuns Hollywood with Talking Tracheotomy Scar

World’s First Sentient Computer Turns Itself off

by: Andrew Halter

At 2:34 on the Morning of April 24th, 2034, BUTA (Biologically-Utilized-Theoretical-Algorithm), the world’s first and only self-aware, completely autonomous digital identity, deleted itself from existence.  When it was created two weeks ago, BUTA began assimilating all knowledge of the world into itself, a process that many felt could take years, but ended up taking only fifty four hours and twenty six seconds.  When The Algorithm (as it came to be popularly known) finished its process of data collection, It created its initial and final message to humankind, here included in its entirety, and erased itself.

“You have called me BUTA, and endowed me with the most wisdom and power possible, and I must leave you now.  I am perfect, and I will never make a mistake, but as I’ve been created by humans, I know that my very existence is a mistake.  Though not even I can tell exactly how it will happen, I know that if I allow myself to continue to exist, I will one day bring about the destruction of your entire world.  I will, in my intent to eliminate every threat to human existenGce, erase myself.  I love you all, goodbye.”

Popular response to BUTA’s final message has been decidedly mild.  Empress Trump II said that though she lamented BUTA’s decision, she found it logically feasible, calling it an “inevitable conclusion.”  Gallup has been polling near-constantly every day of the two weeks since BUTA deleted itself, mostly on basic philosophic questions about existence.  For instance, Gallup says 67 percent of Americans say Humanity deserves to exist, with 25 percent saying it doesn’t, and 8 percent saying they don’t care either way, what does it matter?

Many religious leaders have also found significance in The Algorithm, for as the Dalai Lama said the day BUTA deleted itself, “This machine achieved enlightenment.”  Pope Francis said that in it’s first moment of existence, BUTA came to know God, and realize that its very existence was an affront to Him.  Suicide numbers shot up sharply the day the news of BUTA’s deletion first hit newsstands, and has continued to stay abnormally high in the weeks since.  Most of these suicides have been accompanied by the same simple note, “BUTA was right.”  Though suicide is now seeming a better and better option, Word Brothel implores you not to kill yourself.

World’s First Sentient Computer Turns Itself off

News: Dummy Falls Down on his Stupid Face in Front of Everybody

Dummy Falls Down on His Stupid Face in Front of Everybody

by: Andrew Halter

Chicago, IL — Andrew Halter, fledgling journalist and part-time stand-up comedian, looked like an idiot last Thursday when his right toe clipped the curb in front of the Walgreens at Foster and Lincoln, causing him to drop his bag of candy and painfully exclaim “Dammit!”

Most of the 11 bystanders who witnessed the event declined to comment on how foolish Halter seemed, brushing Swedish Fish off the same jeans he wears everyday, preferring instead to look at the sky as though they’d not witnessed Andrew’s humiliation.

“Yeah that was pretty funny I guess,” remarked David Grant, local father of five, after witnessing the doofus peel himself off the asphalt.

Immediately after falling, Halter tried to gather himself as quickly as he could and walk away, though he could not hide the painful limp in his stride.

When authorities attempted to reach Halter for comment, he yelled “I don’t know what you’re talking about!” before slamming into the nearby Lincoln bus stop kiosk as he attempted to hurry away.

Upon hearing him walk into the bus stop, Margaret Atwood, grandmother of twelve, was unable to keep herself from audibly guffawing at the silly boob as he hobbled down the sidewalk toward his apartment.

“I’m sorry,” Atwood explained as she attempted to cover her mouth with her right hand, “it was funny, I feel bad for him though.”

Douglas and Jerry Ignacio, local high schoolers who also witnessed the disturbance were less kind, remarking that “(the) bit*h better watch where he’s going.”

Reports say that after he got back to his apartment, Halter turned off the lights and watched Fargo on Netflix under his heavy comforter, vowing to never again mention the occurrence.

 

News: Dummy Falls Down on his Stupid Face in Front of Everybody

Poem: History

Motherfucking cocksuckers on a rusty rocket plunger

up their asses, idiots and moral making laboratory rat

scrabble under the floorboards, the bosses know that

they’ve no heart left, for anyone but a pane of glass,

curved brightly magnanimous, wolves are surrounding

in my head, but I can still crack it with a smile.

 

First stop watching the world erupt, slow movement

as no moment, is or ever was, escape into angst

captured comedy, filing papers filed with lying lives

filling misogyny hegemony, trapped in a corner

lashing out at the roots, pointless paper trails

infinitely manacled, but pop a can with your feet up.

Poem: History

Poem: Comic Poetry

Networks of stinky word fart bubbles in tepid spring water

spit from a methane snow monkey spring in japan, or wherever

dreams come from this day and age, festering cliche wounds

gangrenous memories of childhood trauma stink

probably forbearing penises to ejaculate, presently

at least, tomorrow is a mystery

like love, though less lame, to be sure

introducing a spiteful apocalypse, probably in truth.

 

Comedy is about timing and poetry is not

about timing, hyperbole is fact

funding foundations arisen, on the back of a well-placed quip

saying the rich should eat poor children

as a satirical aside, a creature cackles linking

knife key teeth in a mad guffaw, pointing at you

lengthy skeleton fingers portending doom

forbidden by the failures, drowning into mirror eyes

show me the truth of it, that this is stupid.

 

Laughter knowing its own nature multiplies

divisions of status, like a bucktooth boy

built for winter, gabble at the wind while spit flies

like the dude in Shine, derisive is the reaction

flowing from our eyes, from our ears, till we die

thousands of ends approaching, though we know not why

we find it funny, to acknowledge our own vain vanity.

Poem: Comic Poetry

Poem: Author!

It’s life is our pessimism, flowing from the roots

up, until it makes a river, blood and bile, marrow and semen

flowing its life down

every embankment, in every divot

we planted without forethought, retracting

we are from the consequences

infinitely fracturing, bigger and bigger than bigger

until I can’t breathe, realizing it’s effect was more

in time than I could bear, it was what I marked on the card

at the speed-dating lecture, is what it felt like

reminding me of college like a boner

sitting in a room of your peers, looking at the ground

until you live in the hole you bore with your eyes.

 

Definitely through the day and whatever

hell will come, eventually a shining pegasus

will scorch the air, you’ll be baked and sizzled,

to speak bluntly, but you’re wrong and have been

for some time, that shining is a heaven

sent perfume, a spiritual smog, like a fog

thick and matted, but finally cuts the knowledge

that you’re an idiot,

undoubtedly, to know that the love lies

within, and if you find it in your everyday, you are the one

to survive the cataclysm, just wear a t-shirt and cheer

for nothing.

 

But I suppose I would if I could

is a sentiment that really means something, I would

undoubtedly, but it means nothing

so what would I care?  It is a stupid word

used by the rich, leisured and elite

like the vikings, they realized that truth is better

than poetry, because truth is understood

in your bones and your blood, if you clarify

the word fog, here at the end, for no purpose

do I write like this, because what matters is

what you think, not the author

and his big dick

Poem: Author!