Have you ever seen Fool’s Gold? Do you remember Matthew McConaughey starring in said movie? Or perhaps you unfortunately recall that abomination that is Failure to Launch. If there is one thing that can be said about these “movies” is that the threshold for good, or even kind-of-sort-of-decent-in-the-right-light, was not exactly present during the making, writing, or even just the thought that popped into some dude’s head when he was taking a dump (Scientific term). It may have taken about ten chick flicks too long but eventually McConaughey came to his senses and realized that crap painted gold is still crap. I promise I will not bring up or reference fecal matter again… in THIS review.
With this sort of rebirth as an actor he starred in The Lincoln Lawyer which is a wonderful film. That movie opened the flood gates for him leading to such films as Killer Joe, Mud, Magic Mike, and soon to theaters, The Wolf of Wall Street and next year, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. I can happily say that McConaughey is a very talented actor and with his most recent film in theaters this November, Dallas Buyers Club, he continues to impress. In fact, with Dallas Buyers Club I would be shocked if he didn’t at least receive a nomination for best actor at the upcoming Oscars. Even before you hear him spout a single line in the movie, you can immediately see his new found commitment to his craft due to the significant weight loss he underwent for the real life person he portrays, Ron Woodroof.
In 1986 Ron Woodroof was a womanizing gambler who thought nothing could knock him off of the high horse he rode in on; life had other plans. After an accident at work lands him in the hospital, he learns the cough he’s been dealing with is from something far more terrifying than the common cold. When the doctors walk in wearing masks and they keep their distance, it’s pretty apparent that something is wrong. As he sits, staring at these doctors in front of him he is told the unfortunate news that he has AIDS on top of which, due to the fact that it took so long for him to get diagnosed, his current life expectancy is a mere 30 days away and counting down. Ron is, like most I think, under the impression that AIDS can only be contracted through homosexual acts. This, as we all know of course, is incorrect. Through his own research he learns that it can be passed between persons through drug use and unprotected sex; two things of which he participates in abundance. From this moment on, naturally, his life is forever altered; his ignorant, hillbilly friends aren’t accepting of this news and ostracize Ron with a bunch of homophobic slurs. A stand up group of guys they are.
It is at this point that Ron is formally introduced to the FDA, again, another great group of stand up people; nothing off there (note the sarcasm). Essentially the largest and most powerful drug cartel on the planet, the FDA, like any cartel, hates competition. When Ron quickly grasps that drugs approved by the FDA aren’t really meant for human consumption, he looks elsewhere for alternatives. Most might assume that any drug unapproved by the government must be something very dangerous… hardly. In fact, if there is no backing by some billion dollar corporation promising lots of money for FDA CEOs, the drug will not be approved. What Ron discovers in Mexico are a type of vitamins and a type of harmless protein that promotes a healthy immune system thus creating a resistance to the disease. None of it is harmful any yet none of it is allowed in the United States, what a great government, they really are for the people… that is, themselves.
Seeing this utter betrayal of the American public, Ron takes action by bringing in large quantities of these drugs to help AIDS patients who don’t have access to the proper drugs. Here is when the aspect of competition comes into play, hence the FDA pulling out the claws. At every turn he is blocked with one bullshit law after another, but through his nothing-to-lose situation Ron isn’t going out quietly; much to the chagrin of the wonderful FDA. If there is one thing he could say confidently and positively about his disease and his bout with the government it is this; it changed him as a person. He became a more accepting and knowledgeable human being allowing individuals of all kinds into his life. If they needed help, he would help; it became that simple for a man who once was an ignorant, homophobic bigot like his former drinking buddies. Given a disease with such a short life expectancy he of course would never live a long life, but I like to think that in the short time he had left he lived a full, meaningful life… which is a lot more important than the path he was headed down. He may have died young but he lived more in the time after he was diagnosed than he would have otherwise and I think this could be his silver lining.
This was on my must see list for 2013 and it surpassed my expectations completely. It is heart breaking as it tells the real life story of Ron Woodroof and the lives he touched through his disobedience of the FDA. McConaughey portrays Ron beautifully with great support from Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner who help create one hell of a character piece. If you want to see a film that is frustrating and entertaining as well as truly tear-jerking then see Dallas Buyers Club. This film shows both the best and worst of people and it’s wonderful to watch it unfold. This isn’t for everyone, but if you ask me, I say see it if you get the chance.
Rated R For: pervasive language, some strong sexual content, nudity and drug use
Run Time: 117 minutes
After Credits Scene: None
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, Denis O’Hare
Directed By: Jean-Marc Vallée
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 5/ Acting: 5/ Directing: 4/ Visuals: 2.5
OVERALL: 5 Nerdskulls