23 July 2004

"Party Monster"

Sat down and watched another movie last night- and it was an odorous, rotten piece of shit called Party Monster.



The film, directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato (based on their documentary of the, uh, same name), Party Monster is the tale of the rise and fall of Michael Alig, late 80's NYC club kid. He came from Indiana a weird gay kid, made friends with James St. James (who wrote the book upon which the film is also based- "Disco Bloodbath"), and blew up an emerging club culture into something more. What that "more" is, I don't know. Probably just more "people" for bigger parties. AT said parties, partygoers voraciously consumed drugs- heroin, coke, ecstacy, Special K- danced, dressed like retarded toddlers left to their own fashion devices, and wasted their lives away. There is certainly something charming and liberating about the lifestyle that is appealing- a sort of punk-rock aesthetic preening that "everything goes- no, seriously, I'm telling you anything goes." It was destructive, but it had it's merits as an idea.

But then Alig got stupid, self obsessed, and killed a drug dealer. Michael Musto, someone who was in the thick of the club kid scene while writing for the "Village Voice" in the 80's, wrote this about Michael Alig's tribulations. You see, drugs ruined the man. Not only did he kill the drug dealer (Angel Hernandez), but he bragged about it, incorporated it into his publicity/ attention fetish, even using it to advertise for parties. Not only did he kill and advertise it, he also took the body, stashed it in his bathtub with ice for weeks, then injected it with Dran-O to combat the smell...then gave up, hacked the dead guy to shreds, fed him into a duct taped box and threw him in the East River. Great.


The real-life Michael Alig



So let's get to brass tacks- I've seen home-made horror films with tin foil and ketchup-blood with better staging. Every scene was forced, poorly paced, and oftentimes misunderstood. Culkin isn't bad, it's just that the person he is playing is in many respects written to be archly annoying and obnoxious- and that's just exactly what he is in the film. His gay-posturing is almost color-by-numbers, but he can't be faulted for that. I think Michael Alig was a bit of a "color-by-numbers" personality.

Wilson Cruz is great-but-wasted as Angel Hernandez, the dead drug dealer, and Seth Green has his moments as James St. James. But the entire movie isn't even convinced it matters- as it opens, we hear about the murder, and are told by a voice over that it's the crux of the story. So they get to the tale leading up to it, and the filmmakers make little effort to set it emotionally. It's almost as if they're saying- "Well this kid, he killed a drug dealer- well, see, yada yada yada, he got famous, got mad at a drug dealer, and conked him on the head." This, of course, makes it difficult to engage the audience.



There are some nice scenes- James and Michael meeting was a bit forced, but it's heart was in the right place. Too much of the film though forces you to just accept this behavior and culture as a great and revolutionary notion instead of showing us why that may be true (it's not). It's almost preaching to the converted, and the effort to make Michael any less the drug addled monster he became is pretty lame as well. There is a scene late in the film where Alig's ex-boyfriend Keiko (played by Wilmer Valderamma- Fez) sees him and tells him he "looks like shit", presumably from his lifestyle and drug use.

Thing is, he didn't look like shit. He looked like Macaulay Culkin, dressed up and acting in a movie, healthy and at a party. Maybe that WAS Alig, but there were no signs of desperation (even couched in denial), no effort to detail what was indisputably a descent into a sad, drug-infested existence. The film starts in some way with Alig and St. James on a bed discussing how Alig killed Angel. Culkin looks healthy enough to run a road race.

Party Monster, with the exception of the inclusion of Chloe Sevigny, was nearly worthless. Alig is a compelling person and story, and yet tellingly- this movie really wasn't.

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3 Comments:

This was the GAYEST thing ever said!!!!!!!!!
1.) His name was Angel MELENDEZ, not HERNANDEZ, you idiot.
2.) His body wasn't in the bathtub for "weeks", it was 3 days.
3.) They injected him with DRAIN-O, not Dran-O.
4.) They didn't shred him to bits, he was dismembered.
5.) Macauly Culkin, Seth Green, Wilson Cruz, Marilyn Manson, ETC were AWESOME in Party Monster!!!!
6.) That movie was sooooo good! I don't see how you think it was a horrible piece of shit!!!!
7.) The movie was VERY, VERY factual. Almost all of the outfits worn in the movie actually came from Michael and James St. James' collection. There were real Club Kids (Richie Rich, Julie Jewels, ETC, ETC, SO MANY MORE) and the lighting and music came from real clubs like Limelight. The buildings were either replicas or the real thing. The make-up artist was the same person who did Michael and James' hair and make-up.
EVERYTHING WAS ACCURATE, THE MOVIE WAS LOW-BUDGET, AND THE ACTING WAS GREAT!!!!!!!
HOW CAN YOU SAY IT WAS BAD?!?!?!?!??!
-A Very, Very Angry Lady

By Anonymous Megan Hill, at 4/07/2005 10:46 PM  

i loved this movie it was so real. the only thing i wasnt so sure on was if michael and keoki really in love.

By Anonymous peanutt_9, at 5/30/2005 11:22 PM  

Cos it was. It sucked, it was boring.

By Blogger BS Memorial, at 5/30/2005 11:25 PM  

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