Thoughts on Party Monster

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 6:17 PM By Simon

-This is a movie where the characters break the fourth wall to argue about who, exactly, is the main character. Technically, I should love it with all my heart. It's among the handful of movies I knew as a 13-year-old just discovering Wikipedia, by cast and subject matter rather than first-hand knowledge (with availability like it was at the time). It was among the ones that I would defend to the death rather than go out and try to find a copy of somewhere in the back of Blockbuster.

-In said argument, between Macauley Culkin's Michael Alig and Seth Green's James St. James, I wish Green had won. Only a narrative presence in the beginning and end, he is a much more interesting protaganist than Culkin, who's Alig is a fey, obnoxious little twit, cheerfully trying to break into the club scene before succeeding into an even more aggravatingly bright world of excess and coke. Doing the most awkward impression of a quasi-drag queen, Culkin is either incredibly good at portraying the dead-eyed, Bret Easton Ellis-ish monotony of the club kid scene, or embarassingly bad at showing the fabulous descent of the same.

-Meanwhile, Green, while initially going about the same stiff showboating as Culkin, playing his mentor-turned-sidekick, is, um, much better. Wry, the only truly entertaining one in the bunch.

-The movie is shot in digital, making it ugly and empty and hyper-observant of every pimply chin and Cheeto-stained carpet. Which I guess makes sense, if it's really trying to make its entire universe as flat and baffling as possible.

-The rest of the acting ranges from non-existant (Chloe Sevigny) to stiff (guy from My So-Called Life) to fine, I guess (Wilmer Valderama).

-It's extremely unpleasant if you're looking for a movie without subtitles for once (like me), possibly a gritty look at the precious little downfall of The Factory's wannabe-second-comers, possibly just an ironic way to pass the time and mock some stiff dialogue. Go ahead, it could've been worse.


Alex said...

Haha I dug this movie when I was like 14 so I see where you're coming from! I thought it was fun, mainly for Seth Green as you mentioned. I actually enjoyed the book quite a bit- it's very funny and explains a lot of the random side characters who aren't given much exposition in the film. Have you read it? It has a much better name- DISCO BLOODBATH. MMmmm.

July 12, 2011 at 7:05 PM
Simon said...

Alex: My sister has, and she rarely likes books that suck. It does seem like the kind of movie teenagers who fancy themselves the second coming of Warhol would like, doesn't it? I mean, even the characters think of themselves as this, though they're really bad at it.

July 20, 2011 at 9:54 PM
Michael Alig Blog said...

I have a blog dedicated to Michael Alig the real party monster. I write him in prison. He's so cool. His letters are funny.

August 27, 2011 at 8:05 AM
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