Wednesday, December 4, 2013

You Must See "The Dallas Buyer's Club"

Everyone agrees it’s one 2013’s outstanding films. On Rotten Tomato’s site, a spectacular 42 of 42 reviewers approve. Matthew McConaughey delivers an Oscar-winning performance as a homophobic Texas good-old-boy who learns that he has AIDS in 1985.

Defying his doctor, who announces that he has thirty days to live and that no treatment exists, he pulls himself together, searches for treatments in places beyond the influence of the medical establishment (Mexico, for instance), smuggles them into the USA, and distributes them to AIDS victims despite government persecution.

Although I recommend The Dallas Buyer’s Club, I left halfway through. I couldn’t bear it because it contains every dumb Hollywood cliché about physicians and science.

Every doctor is a jerk except (a) the beautiful young woman doctor who finds Matthew McConaughey cool and (b) the seedy, unshaven doctor whom McConaughey stumbles upon running a Mexican clinic. After announcing that he has lost his US license (undoubtedly for being too compassionate), this doctor explains that his regimen of vitamins and immune boosters will help.

I am not one of those tiresome people who insist that movies stick to facts. History is boring and complicated. American movies must tell a coherent story with an upbeat ending and an admirable hero (Matthew McConaughey has flaws, but they are cute flaws: he is oversexed, a spendthrift, rude, and he lies – but only to bad people).

At that time, a hundred Mexican clinics sold AIDS treatments. None worked. Everyone who took them died. No American audience would accept Matthew McConaughey passing out fake drugs, so the screenwriters tweak the historical facts. In the movie, the drugs work.

I’m puzzled why conservatives denounce Hollywood for turning out liberal propaganda. The Dallas Buyer’s Club is a Tea Party dream. The government is a heartless oppressor. That includes the FDA which the writers confuse with the FBI because they create a menacing agent who threatens to arrest Matthew McConaughey. This FBI… I mean FDA agent never says “Your drugs don’t work!” He says “Your drugs are not FDA approved!” which, since he’s a villain, means they do work.  

Let me know how it turns out.

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