Friday, April 1, 2016

A to Z Challenge: American Psycho

The first entry for this year's A to Z Challenge is a movie I've seen based on a book I've read, so huzzah.  There's some debate on whether you should read the book before you watch the movie.  In this case I watched the movie first.

The 2000 movie version starred Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman, a Wall Street weasel in the 80s who lives fast with plenty of sex, drugs, and terrible 80s music--and he murders people on the side.  He's basically the poster boy for "affluenza," rich people who think they can do whatever they want.  What's most memorable about the movie is how it meshes crappy 80s music with violent murders.  At one point Bateman lectures a guy about Huey Lewis & the News before chopping off his head with an ax.  Later another victim receives a lecture on Phil Collins and Genesis.  During sex he waxes poetic about Whitney Houston (while also checking himself out in the mirror--the definition of a narcissist) though the studio didn't pay for an actual Whitney Houston song, this being before she became a hopeless junkie.

In the book the music bits are just asides that really don't have much to do with anything except to help illustrate what a creepy loser he is.  Since the movie is only R-rated it's much less violent and gory than the book.  Notably there's a part in the book where he traps a sewer rat and then teases it to climb inside someone's rectum.  The thing is, I didn't really miss a lot of the violence because most of it was gratuitous.  By the rat part you really get desensitized to the violence and gore because there's just so much of it.  So really the movie's better in that it highlights only a few things, enough to give us the gist that this dude is seriously fucked up.

It's the kind of movie that I think is good enough where you don't really miss a whole lot if you don't read the book.  Unless you really want to read about a rat climbing into some dude's anus.  In which case you probably are also an American Psycho.

A couple of musical Fun Facts:  in the book he says his favorite band is Talking Heads, whose first hit song was "Psycho Killer" in 1977.  There's also a song by The National called "I'm Afraid of Everyone," a reference to a line from the book.

And as a bonus Fun Fact:  I could have done an R entry on Rules of Attraction, which is not a sequel but features Bateman's younger brother, played in the movie by the Dawson, James Vanderbeek.  But I did a different thing for R in part because I don't think I ever read the book.


  1. I'm not a big fan of violent movies, especially if they ruin certain songs for me.

    Best of luck with the A-Z!

  2. I read this book when I was in college on a recommendation from my English professor. I found it so disturbing that I don't think I could watch the movie.

  3. Never seen it, but it was the first time I heard of Christian Bale.



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