American Psycho

Discussion in 'Entertainment, Culture, and Sports' started by esquire., Jun 11, 2005.

  1. esquire.

    esquire. Senior member

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    The character Patrick Bateman seems to be quite popular and a iconic figure with many of the members here. I just saw the movie, and I really want to understand why? Did I need to read the book first?

    I get that it's supposed to be a satire of the superficial and materialistic yuppie, hyper consumerism of the 80s, but I just didn't find those parts very funny. My card is more expensive than yours. Ha ha?

    Once you get the past the parts that are supposed to be funny, all you're left with is this pathetic, possibly gay, loser. In real life, everybody sees him as a dork and spineless. Or, they don't even remember who he is as he's not important enough to warrant attention. To escape how timid and weak he is in real life, he creates this fantasy world where he becomes this violent, mysogynistic 'killer' where he thinks he kills all those people but doesn't in real life. Even then, he's still not that interesting.

    I just cannot fathom the appeal of this character to other forum members except that he wears nice suits.
     


  2. Thracozaag

    Thracozaag Senior member

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    I'm a simplistic fool who likes comic book characters.

    koji
     


  3. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

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    They made a book from the movie?

    Seriously though, it is more in-depth than you make it out to be. Ellis uses the book to demonstrate the changing landscape (social-political, architecturally, commercially, etc...) of NYC with the use of a few minor characters and how they interact with PB. The character is a parody of the typical Wall Street broker in the 80's, whom believes his a master of the universe, but in truth is anything but.

    There is a companion guide for American Psycho that explains a lot more than I was able to ascertain in the book (mainly because of my unfamiliarity with the history of NYC in great detail). Regarding the murders, well it is not known if he indeed carried them out, Ellis himself has not given any clues, and each literary camp has proof that PB did / did not commit the murders based on certain "˜proof' inside the book.

    Jon.
     


  4. esquire.

    esquire. Senior member

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    Haven't read the book. But, the movie's interpretation is that the killings are all a fantasy. Although, the ending does suggest that he's lost control and will actually killing people now.

    Is everybody a fan of the book, but not necessairly of Patrick Bateman? Maybe, cause its a movie, but I didn't find it in depth or how it demonstrated the changing landscape of NYC in the 80s.
     


  5. Bradford

    Bradford Current Events Moderator

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    I am not a huge fan of the book. I read it when it was first released, in the early 90's I believe, and thought it was one of the worst examples of overindulgent tripe that Ellis and other authors, esp. McInerny and Janowitz were churning out at the time.

    This was sad for me, because I loved their breakthough works, Less Than Zero, Bright Lights, Big City and Slaves of New York - but I truly believe they (esp. Ellis and McInerny) sold out when they started getting the rock-star type coverage they received at the time.

    In Psycho - rather than develop a character, Ellis just defines Patrick Bateman with his clothes and possessions, which - I suppose - was the point, that New York and from that - the world - was being taken over by soulless, faceless businessmen who defined themselves by what they own, yet had no distinguishing characteristics and would not be missed if they were killed.

    I sort of think Thomas Harris did the same thing by just listing brand names of clothing and food in "Hannibal" and again, I don't find the book enjoyable - the movie was OK - but both were clearly done for the money.

    As to why is American Psycho so popular here? I can't really say, except that it's one of the few books and movies that unapologetically discusses men's style and clothing.

    Bradford
     


  6. retronotmetro

    retronotmetro Senior member

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    I enjoyed the book American Psycho precisely because it is ridiculous and overindulgent.

    One of the things I liked about the book is the fact that multiple characters from other novels by Ellis and McInerney have minor appearances in the book, which creates a dual inside joke factor (Ha. You recognize that character. and Ha. You're an idiot who reads too many bad novels).
     


  7. Horace

    Horace Senior member

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    Both characters, but esp. Bateman, were portrayed in a satiric light.

    I think AP is a little more complex than some give it credit for. The film interprets the book, I think, as the film suggests that it may've all been a dream, and I always maintained (long before the film) that this was the case with the book.

    There's also a scene here or there where Bateman has a flash of recognition -- actually an ephinany -- that his world is utterly vacant. But I won't mention those in detail unless someone cares to hear them

    Both Stone and Ellis are moralists. That their characters (esp. Bateman) have been held up as figures to envy or emulate or copy or applaud is a pretty sad (and to my mind disgusting) reflection of either those doing so, or their ability to really understand the art they experienced. I suspect the latter.
     


  8. JBZ

    JBZ Senior member

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    I didn't find the book to be all that outstanding, but I understand where BEE was going (I don't necessarily agree with him about his subject matter (the '80s) however). I also enjoyed certain portions of it. I found the movie to be inferior and somewhat confusing. Was it a dream/fantasy or not? Was he really Patrick Bateman, or not? In the book I thought it was pretty clear that Patrick Bateman was doing all of the horrible things he said he was doing (unless I really missed something).

    I think the ultimate point was that the people who were traveling in these circles in the '80's were so vapid and materialistic that they could have a serial killer in their midst and not even notice it (or, if they did notice it, not care). There is a scene in the novel where PB gives his girlfriend a urinal cake covered in chocolate, and places it in a Godiva chocolate box. She insists on eating it even though it tastes terrible, simply because it came in a Godiva box. She's so shallow and caught up in having "the best," that she's willing to eat a urinal cake simply because of the box it came in.

    I did enjoy PB's long lecture on the different types of water available (spring water vs. mineral water vs. sparkling water, etc.). I also enjoyed a particular exchange in the novel relating to food. PB always goes out of his way to explain the complex ingredients and manner of preparation of any meal that he is eating. Late in the novel, he has a coversation with another character that goes something like this:

    PB: What did you order at the restauarant last night?

    Other Character: The broiled haddock.

    PB: Ah. How was it prepared?

    OC: I don't know -- it was broiled.

    PB: Ah. I see. What's broiled?

    None of the symbolism was all that subtle (sort of like an Oliver Stone movie in book form, in this respect). Certainly, I think we can all agree that the PB character is not someone who should be emulated.
     


  9. Patrick Bateman

    Patrick Bateman Senior member

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    Uh, you sure about that?
     


  10. christian

    christian Senior member

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    I don't see where you're getting that he's gay from the movie. He has a fiance, sleeps with his friend's girlfriend, has a threesome with some female prostitutes, etc...

    There's been too much of people being 'outed' who were not homosexual- abraham lincoln, jane austen, etc...

    Its getting ridiculous.
     


  11. faustian bargain

    faustian bargain Senior member

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    anybody catch the interview monday on Fresh Air with Christian Bale? i think he came across as a really together, erudite guy. and it was funny when he revealed at the end that his american accent was a choice, due to him being on press tour for the Batman movie. I wouldn't have guessed he was from Wales.

    but man, i was impressed with his extemporaneous speaking ability. really sharp guy.

    /andrew
     


  12. Thracozaag

    Thracozaag Senior member

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    It freaked me out the first time I heard his Welsh accent on the AP dvd; damn good yankee accent he does.

    koji
     


  13. PeterMetro

    PeterMetro Senior member

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    Totally agree - quoting that movie puts me in hysterics.

    Well, we have to end apartheid for one. And slow down the nuclear arms race, stop terrorism and world hunger. We have to provide food and shelter for the homeless, and oppose racial discrimination and promote civil rights, while also promoting equal rights for women. We have to encourage a return to traditional moral values. Most importantly, we have to promote general social concern and less materialism in young people.
     


  14. Patrick Bateman

    Patrick Bateman Senior member

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    The movie/book also provide terrific style advice IMO. "Now, John, you've got to wear clothes in proportion to your physique. There are do's and don'ts, good buddy, to wearing a bold-stripe shirt. A bold-stripe shirt calls for solid-colored or discreetly patterned suits and ties."

    There's also (in the book) a discussion of tassel loafers, whether a belt should match exactly or merely coordinate with the shoes, etc. Really terrific stuff.
     


  15. retronotmetro

    retronotmetro Senior member

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    When I heard that they were making AP into a movie, I couldn't fathom how the little Brit kid from Empire of the Sun was going to play a stereotypical Wall Streeter. I'm not a fan of Empire of the Sun, but Bale was pretty good, and seems to have avoided the curse of the child star.
     


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