I didn’t really know a lot about this movie, to be honest, other than all the press that Matthew McConaughey got during awards season.
Matthew McConaughey is an asshole. Pretty much to everyone. He also welches on his bets, thankfully Steve Zahn is there as a cop to stop people from beating him to a pulp. Matthew McConaughey passes out at his electricians job, and the hospital tells him he has HIV, being the 80s, he thinks they are calling him gay, since at this time in history, only gay people got AIDS, since Magic Johnson was the first straight person to get HIV and he hadn’t yet.
So Matthew McConaughey freaks out, and leaves, and has an orgy at his house. He can’t get it up, so he just gets drunk and passes out. He then get rejected from a medical trial, and can’t bribe his way into it. So he goes on that new-fangled interweb, and instantly becomes smarter than Jennifer Gardner or any other medical doctor. So I guess he was on alt.web.md? Matthew McConaughey finds a doctor in Mexico that is almost as smart as he is and is using alternative medicine to treat people- no not chants and unicorn teeth, actual medicine that is not allowed yet in the US. Together they are able to actually do good for McConaughey . Matthew McConaughey figures out that he can make a ton of money selling it in the US, and even though he does get stopped at the border, he talks his way through, and with the help of the transgender man he met at the hospital, starts selling it to the HIV-infected populace of Dallas, until THE MAN tries to stop him.
OK, lets do this. Since this is not a biography, I can talk about this as if this is a MOVIE, without hurting anyone’s feelings, since we all care about other human beings right?
Ok, this movie spends a chunk of the beginning showing just how big an asshole MM can be, then he finds out he’s sick (still an asshole) meets up with someone selling medicine (still an asshole) then somehow finds out that other people hate gay people, the medical trial is doing more harm than good and all of a sudden he becomes a hero?
McConaughey might be the only man in the free world outside of Tom Hanks who could pull this movie off. Tom Cruise has done everything but outright bribery bribery to win an Oscar, and he could not have pulled this movie off. I don;t think anyone could pull off Texan Asshole and altruistic good guy in the 10 minutes we get to see the change- well, maybe Denzel.
Make no mistake this is a McConaughey tour de force. He is literally the only reason to watch this movie, to me. I don’t think the redemption is worth it., I don’t think the Jennifer Gardener “love?” arc is worth it, and I really don’t think the whole “Drug Companies and the FDA are evil and bad” is either new, or done in an interesting way.
This movie is literally only worth anything due to McConaughey. NONE of the people who wanted to do this movie could have pulled this off (looking at you, Brad Pitt) In some world, Woody Harrelson did this movie a decade ago. That would be amazing in a HOLYSHIT way.
Jared Leto does an unreal job in his role as the transvestite sidekick Rayon, and Jennifer Gardner is still hot, but just there.
Take all the awesome acting, and you are left with a story that just isn’t that compelling. I grew up in the era of AIDS. Forgive me for saying so, but you might have just as easily done a copy and paste job about the Tuskegee Institute Syphilis test and put Denzel as McConaughey, Forrest Whitaker as Leto and Simone as Jennifer Garner, swapped out the homosexual commentary for racism and almost pulled off the same movie with a hour’s worth of touchups.
This movie almost has to be seen once.
I don’t really think the story is that compelling, but McConaughey earns every second he’s on the screen- once you are 20 minutes in and he’s not bogged down by the “Hey Look Everyone, I’m an Asshole” part of the script. In almost any other movie, Jared Leto would get more love, but this is like talking about how good Horace Grant is when Jordan just dropped a quadruple double in game 7. I’ll give it a 4, just on the acting, and some fine dialogue. I could go higher, but Jennifer Garner takes a lot off the table.
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