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Awesome: 24.05%
Worth A Look30.38%
Just Average: 11.39%
Pretty Crappy: 3.8%

3 reviews, 61 user ratings

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Party Monster
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by EricDSnider

"Macaulay and Wilmer, sittin' in a tree."
4 stars

[SCREENED AT THE 2003 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL] Admit it: Part of you, maybe even a big part, has always wanted to see Macaulay Culkin plays a drug-addicted homosexual murderer. It seems fitting that in his first film role in nearly a decade, the former child star should re-emerge in a part that is so obviously adult, and even better that it's a prurient, indecent sort of part.

"Party Monster" is based on James St. James' fact-based "Disco Bloodbath," about the Club Kid scene of New York of the late 1980s, and in particular about James' best friend Michael Alig, the leader of the group who wound up killing a drug-dealer friend of theirs. It is the first dramatic work by writers/directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, documentarians whose previous work include the excellent "Eyes of Tammy Faye" and the first "Party Monster," which was a documentary covering the same material as the new, dramatized film.

The territory, then, is familiar to Bailey and Barbato, and they excellently recreate the era in question in this vivid, often hallucinatory film. The Club Kids were a cultish lot of young punks, mostly from privileged homes, who, in the words of Michael Alig, wanted life to be one big party. They wore outrageous costumes, both in everyday life and at the dance clubs, and they indulged in as many drugs as they could get their hands on. Sexuality was ambiguous and almost beside the point. In the film, Michael and James, while platonic, are certainly gay, but there's more pageantry to it than hormones. Flamboyance and affectation are the key -- style, not substance.

That's what leads to the film's troubles, in fact. The lead performances -- Culkin as Michael and Seth Green as James -- are more than fabulous, full of such mincing and posing as befits the highly entertaining characters. At the same time, though, it is never clear whether Culkin and Green are playing the characters or parodying them. Michael and James are figures who strive to avoid taking anything seriously, including themselves. But with few unguarded moments for us to see them as they truly are, we get no closer to them than their casual observers do. Life is just a show for the Club Kids, but isn't the point of a movie supposed to be to take us behind the scenes, to bring down the facade?

The film certainly has style, though, and it is often very funny and entertaining. Bailey and Barbato allow Michael and James to compete as narrators, each vying for attention, just as they did among their friends. Marilyn Manson has an amusing turn as their wacked-out friend Christina, and Wilmer Valderrama is sweetly clueless as Michael's allegedly straight boyfriend. It's a fun movie, for the most part. Its only trouble is that it doesn't add up to as much as it thinks it does.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=6911&reviewer=247
originally posted: 01/30/03 22:45:13
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/02/15 bridget club scene, drugs, shallow narcissists run amok 1 stars
1/02/15 hahahha leave your brain at home..no need for this one. 1 stars
1/02/15 nickdroll close your eyes 1 stars
1/02/15 sasha if you think fabulous is a life statement have at it. 1 stars
1/02/15 Lovely and people are now idolizing murderer's ..... 1 stars
1/02/15 nordan 98 minutes lost, never to return. Marilyn Manson was great 1 stars
1/02/15 dr drew i know as much about the characters as when the film started. 1 stars
1/02/15 natalia used to love this..what was i thinking 1 stars
1/02/15 who cares how could World of Wonder be so shallow 1 stars
1/02/15 Mary better to lick sand paper if you have a choice 1 stars
1/02/15 me James St. James s/b mortified...book is much better 1 stars
1/02/15 pop make up and Halloween outfits..nothing more 1 stars
1/02/15 fawan did not show the true evil of this man 1 stars
1/02/15 tlrn444 Transparent and well awful. teenagers on drugs would like it 1 stars
1/02/15 Thoughtaboutit for the simple minded. no message. watch Sid and Nancy 1 stars
1/02/15 Lulu don't bother. They give a girlfriend to a gay character 1 stars
1/02/15 Hector besides Seth Green there is no acting. Culkin s/b embarrassed 1 stars
1/02/15 william horrible, just horrible. not even accurate. Made for mindless idiots 1 stars
1/02/15 dan far from the truth; Alig should have been portrayed as the sociopath he truly is 1 stars
1/02/15 nancydrewit what an insult to the gay community 1 stars
1/02/15 mysterymr Self loathing creators make a mindless film to idolize a murdering drug addict thief 1 stars
9/25/08 Timothy Kirkland Alot of memberable lines, great showing of the downard spiral of drugs 5 stars
3/29/07 fools♫gold Seems so much shorter than 92 minutes. Refreshingly underrated, I debate a 5/5 w/ myself. 4 stars
10/01/06 hw I wanted to see more of that darker side of the club scence, drugs and murder 3 stars
8/18/06 Lauren In a word...fabulous 5 stars
6/02/06 amber i loved it and i come from this era 5 stars
10/24/05 disco.slut. fantastic.glittering, petulant anti fashion brats take over! 4 stars
6/07/05 james myer A crazy life leads to crazy happenings; no wonder someone dies and people are jailed 4 stars
10/25/04 Betsy Seth Green was great! Story line was good, but would have been a better film if Culkin cou 4 stars
10/17/04 RON ARAUJO WONDERFUL! 5 stars
8/21/04 Devon I loved the movie but the book was much better 5 stars
7/14/04 loren best movie i have ever seen!!!!! 5 stars
5/24/04 Tiffany I so-so LOVE this movie!! & thy book! 5 stars
5/19/04 Becky A slice of American Culture 4 stars
5/06/04 Samantha orr If you Loved this like me, even if you didn't, I suggest the first Party Monster Documenty 5 stars
5/02/04 the bride culkin still looks like a drugged out monkey skeleton, total horse shit... 1 stars
4/26/04 Melissa Jensen It was kinda cool but the acting sucked 2 stars
2/28/04 Jamie I loved this movie 5 stars
1/26/04 jon strange because i lived and loved brooke yrs b4 this 4 stars
1/11/04 (none) uuuggghhhhh. who the hell cares for this crap!!!!! 1 stars
12/05/03 Red a good film 4 stars
11/28/03 Johnny's Been Rotten It was disturbingly good. Marilyn Manson was hilarious. 5 stars
11/18/03 Lori Troglia It was the best movie I have see in a long time. Seth and Macaulay were the best !!! 5 stars
11/05/03 Sir David i luv this movie 5 stars
11/04/03 jolene wheeler interesting at least! 4 stars
10/08/03 Enfant Terrible Entrancing yet terrible. Culkin is disturbingly bad, but he gets points for the effort. 3 stars
9/27/03 penny good movie, but a better book 4 stars
9/11/03 JFennell Macaulay Culkin: go home, alone, and turn on the gas. Please. 1 stars
9/08/03 Gary What are you waiting for? See this movie 5 stars
9/06/03 brevol We want Mac nude please 5 stars
8/09/03 aroma great film that I highly recomend to the people who loves gothic subculture and synth pop.. 5 stars
8/06/03 steve smith Not to shabby 4 stars
7/23/03 MarMar Culkin looks great but is lacking in his line delivery; Green & costumes are awesome! 3 stars
6/30/03 SF gay guy Lame movie, though Seth Green was good 2 stars
6/20/03 Rick Smits In a true to life role Macaulay Culkin plays a drug-addicted homosexual! Enough said!!!! 5 stars
6/09/03 sarah ok 4 stars
5/20/03 Amanda I love Macaulay Culkin!!! 2 stars
5/11/03 Erin McCann This is the most fun I have had at the movies this entire year. 5 stars
3/14/03 Juan Dérek excellent acting by MACAUÑAY CULKIN, incredible acting after so many years putside the movi 5 stars
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  05-Sep-2003 (R)
  DVD: 10-Feb-2004



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