Thursday, February 6, 2014

02/06: Less Than Zero

This could be one of the last 'brat pack' films of the 80s era, but then again, it's not necessarily the case. If you consider Andrew McCarthy and Robert Downey, Jr. members, then sure. Released in 1987, this was a film about the ritzy upper teenage years life of sunny Southern California. It's a story of three best friends, Clay (McCarthy), Julian (Downey) and Blair (Jami Gertz), recently graduated from high school, jump to Christmas later that year only to find happy times turn to sour times.

Julian dreams of becoming an entrepreneur and attempts to with the help of his rich father, but things backfire instantly as he owes a number of people money. Clay goes to college far away only to return home to find his 2 friends have changed. Both Blair and Julian become drug addicts, and they hook up even though she was Clay's ex. Clay comes back to the Beverly Hills area to try to straighten things out and teach Julian a lesson while trying to save him from people. People as in the man who Julian owes money to, and perhaps the reason behind his drug addiction.

Two things I found interesting about the movie is 1) the 80s styles that lived on in 1987. Just look at all the clothes and clubwear people were wearing at that time. 2) The music. It had a successful soundtrack as well as four hit singles. If you are familiar with 80s music then you'll definitely recognize the Bangles cover of 'Hazy Shade of Winter' (played in the beginning credits) and LL Cool J's 'Going Back to Cali'. You'll even hear lost alternative favorites such as The Cult's 'Lil Devil' and the Red Hot Chili Peppers' 'Fight Like a Brave' in the movie. (FUN FACT: RHCP bassist Flea appears as a band member in the film) One of the reasons why I probably love 80s movies so much is because I believe it was one of the golden eras of soundtracks. Just think since the dawn of the millennium, soundtracks have become increasingly scarce in movies.

Despite of the culture and music in the movie, I found Less Than Zero to be very depressing all through the movie. I do like realistic movies but this one was just a 'debbie downer'. Sure, it will teach people a drug-free lesson and one not to mingle with the 'wrong crowd'. Robert Downey, Jr., on the other hand, did a great performance. He has come along way since those 80s days as he is now the highest-paid actor in Hollywood at the moment. But, as we all hopefully know, his destiny wasn't always clear as art imitated life.

My rating: 6 out of 10

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