This is topic Less Than Zero in forum « 80's Movies at iRewind Talk.

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Posted by ISIS (Member # 1780) on :
I started watching it last night, cause I have it- I bought it at the Video store with Muffy and Cindy, and never got around to watching it.

Andrew McCarthey is "Valley" in that I actually have an 80's movie that reminds me of him. Which is weird.

But, everyone says it is so depressing...but so far I don't feel sorry for any of those people, except for the fact that they have every materialistic thing on the planet that you can think of, and they are killing themselves with drugs. I don't get it.

I thought about it, because we just said about the money thing and what would you do if you had that much. Right there is a perfect example that money does not make people happy.

I was actually shocked at the sex scenes with Jamie Gertz and Andrew...I mean...he did some "stuff" Class and even St. Elmo's Fire...and Jamie...did a little in Lost Boys...but that was all I ever really saw her in-like that, she usually plays a "nice" girl. To me this movie was much more "graphic".

I am up to the point where Robert Downey Jr. is trying to get his uncle to give him money for that club.

I wasn't sure what James Spader role is yet.. he seems like a loan shark at this point/ drug dealer.

What was up with that place where that party is at the beginning with the tvs everywhere, it looks like a movie set or a Xmas department store window display. Who's house is it??

I love the song by The Bangles...Hazy Shade of Winter..that's a great song.

I am going to finish it tonight.
Posted by ISIS (Member # 1780) on :
I finished Less Than Zero last night...So, what I guess James Spader was...was a pimp..right?

That movie was very see young, rich people with their whole lives ahead of them and able to have and do anything they blow it- becoming cocaine users.

It was so gross at the party they were at...and Jamie Gertz was talking to that group of girls, and the one got a nose bleed...and they all started laughing about it.

That is the part of that whole lifestyle that I don't can they possibly be enjoying everything they have, and want to kill themselves at the same time?

It is pretty sad that Robert Downey Jr.'s real life has gone along the same lines as that movie. He was actually playing himself in that movie.

What did anyone else think of it??
Posted by JimBrayFan (Member # 3831) on :
I guess you haven't read the novel then. (Which you should, it's more profound, though more graphic and horrible all at the same time.)
Posted by ValleyCat (Member # 1322) on :
For Robert Downey Jr. this movie is truly Art imitating Life.

I never cared for this movie, the tone and story were just not what I was looking for during the time period it came out. The soundtrack is excellent though and the acting was on target, just the story was too hardcore for me. I was lucky enough to never get mixed up in drugs, but I can see how easy it would be for alot of people.

Drugs Don't Do It! Someone should have told Robert Downey Jr. to learn from your work.
Posted by ISIS (Member # 1780) on :
Yeah really...I mean his Dad had to be a millionaire in the movie, and yet Robert Downey Jr.'s character in the movie- got down to prostituting himself out to other men, just to support his cocaine habit. That to me is totally sickening. That whole is like people are so clueless as to how degrading all that is, and they get to a point they don't even think about that... just drugs.

I have never done 1 drug in my life, I never even tried a regular cigarette ever. And, I can't imagine what kind of feeling anyone would get that would be worth your life for. Even in small towns, drugs are so easily accessible, and when I see kids doing that "huffing" stuff...I can not for the life of me understand why they would even try it for the first time.

You would think Robert Downey Jr. would have looked at the end of this movie and said No thanks!
Posted by MotleyRulz (Member # 3598) on :
The book was ALOT more disturbing to me when compared to the movie. The whole movie screams irony years on down the road to when Downey Jr. developed quite a drug habit. I felt Rob Downey Jr. and Spader both did a great job in their roles...
Posted by Anna Sullivan (Member # 4010) on :
Yeah, the book was better and yet, more disturbing. However, I have to disagree...I LOVED this movie. I think Downey Jr was remarkable and the cast really did a good job. It's not quite in line with some of the more favoured 80's movies on here, with their formulaic love interests and happy endings. However, the dark side of human nature is just as compelling for me. I don't condone what they're doing but I recognize it for it's social relevance (even today) and as a counter reaction from Easton Ellis to the materialism and indulgence of the 80's. I thought it was wonderfully crafted. However, I also know that some people don't like to see this kind of thing. I don't suggest that people watch it for the sake of 'desensitising themselves or opening their eyes to the dark side'. If you find 80's counter culture musings interesting and relevant, as I did, then it's worth seeing. However, if you like happy endings, I'd give it a miss.
Posted by ISIS (Member # 1780) on :
I don't always have to have a happy ending, infact I thought this movie ended ended the way it should have, and made perfect sense. But, it actually was a good ending to me...because Jamie Gertz was going to leave it all in the end, so maybe her life was spared, because of finally realizing where she was headed too.

I thought it was made really well, it is just a downer to see people wasting their whole life way on nothing.
Posted by Anna Sullivan (Member # 4010) on :
Oh totally, I agree Isis. I wasn't suggesting that you are too naive to deal with it. Stuff like that can really get me down too.

I once saw 21 grams and Thirteen in one about depressing!!! It was horrible. Luckily I saw it with my two best friends and we had to indulge in stupid jokes and hysterical fits of laughter to pull us out of the depths of depression.

Still, movies like that can be life affirming too. I thank my lucky stars that I wasn't seduced by that lifestyle...much. Well, at least I made a conscious effort to stop that lifestyle anyway. I feel gratitude when I watch movies like that: for my life, my family and friends.
Posted by ValleyCat (Member # 1322) on :
Anna did you see the movie "Blow" with Johnny Depp? It was an interesting look at drug trafficing. I actually liked the movie, but it was depressing.

Another movie unrelated, is "Seven"...good movie but way dark.
Posted by Anna Sullivan (Member # 4010) on :
yeah, seen both Valley. Liked both of them immensely. I also thought Traffic was really good. It showed how drugs don't discriminate, they can cross all cultural and social barriers. I agree with that totally. I had such a sheltered school life. Maybe people smoked the odd joint but none of my friends touched drugs at all. However, like all Aussies, especially from the West, we drank WAY too much from the age of about 13 onwards. So, I COULD get on my high horse about not touching drugs but I used alcohol like a drug for a long time. Heck, alcohol IS a drug. It's just that some people can take it or leave it.
Posted by mamamiasweetpeaches (Member # 1715) on :
This is a movie I have always wanted to like but it just misses the ,mark for me.
The book was way "worse (i.e: gritty) then the movie and the Julian (Robert Downey Jr) charactoe was not such a main charactor in the book as he is in the movie).
I remember everyone raving about Robert Downey Jr's performance. Now you almost have to snigger: "Was he acting?????????????"
Speaking of acting: Jamie Gertz and Andrew Mccarthy are terrible in this! Maybe it was too deep a role for them.
Speaking of films that will make you swear never to use drugs ever: REQUIEM FOR A DREAM. So disturbing I couldn't watch the whole thing.
Posted by Pittsburghgirl (Member # 7514) on :
I looked up Less than Zero and found this. Seems like not too many people like this movie. It is one of my favorite 80's movies. It shows the real, gritty side of the 80's in Cali. Yes, you have to wonder if RDJ was acting. It's good to see he has turned his life around now. Jaime Gertz's acting wasn't great, but I thought Andrew McCarthy was just fine.
Posted by the young warrior (Member # 9554) on :
I don't dislike it Pittsburghgirl but last time I watched it I did find it to be pretty heavy going,saying that it's not exactly meant to be a happy go lucky story.

Been a few years maybe it's time for a re-evaluation,come to think of it I'm not 100% sure I actually have this in my collection,think I probably do just not certain.

I will get back to you on that.

[ 28. May 2017, 05:20: Message edited by: the young warrior ]
Posted by Nostalgic for the '80's (Member # 37454) on :
"Less than Zero" is a great film, but very disturbing - and definitely showcases the "dark side" of the '80's; it's the complete opposite of more "fluffy" feel-good John Hughes comedies.

This is one of the few cases where I can say that the film was far superior to the novel. The Bret Easton Ellis book was decent, but the film was far better.

One of my favorite scenes in the film was when the Andrew McCarthy character went to that elaborate house party; the designs/architecture & background music were amazing, and really typified the late '80's to a great extent.

Though I can't relate to the more disturbing elements of the film (thankfully), I can relate to someone leaving home for an extended period of time, then going back & trying to re-connect with old friends - but being unable to because too much time has passed and you/they have changed too much in the meantime.

The soundtrack was amazing, most notably the use of The Bangles' "Hazy Shade of Winter", which really fit the scene it was placed over in the film. The Bangles version of HSOW was the first time I heard this song (back in the '80's), and it wasn't until years later that I realized this was originally a Simon & Garfunkel 1960's song...I still like the Bangles' version much better!
Posted by Logan 5 (Member # 1467) on :
I agree PBG (wanted to type it that way because it rhymes!) I liked it. I'm also a lone voice when it comes to defending 'Bright Lights Big City'. I think the leads for both the movies were miscast, but I think they did fine. Downey is great in LTZ.
Posted by Pittsburghgirl (Member # 7514) on :
Totally agree with you, Nostalgic! Although we did our fair share of partying back in the day, my friends and I weren't involved in drugs.
Logan5, I like that-PBG! 😂
Posted by the young warrior (Member # 9554) on :
Originally posted by the young warrior:
I don't dislike it Pittsburghgirl but last time I watched it I did find it to be pretty heavy going,saying that it's not exactly meant to be a happy go lucky story.

Been a few years maybe it's time for a re-evaluation,come to think of it I'm not 100% sure I actually have this in my collection,think I probably do just not certain.

I will get back to you on that.


Thought I did own it and I was right I will now put it on my to watch list for a revisit!
Posted by aTomiK (Member # 6575) on :
Excellent film but like yw said, needs a rewatch.
Posted by Riptide (Member # 457) on :
Been a while since I watched it. Always filed it with Bright lights, big city as one of the more darker side of 80's life. Spader and Downey jr. always have good chemistry. Maybe from Tuff Turf? He he he. Gertz and Andy Mac were good too. Soundtrack is solid, think I remember a hard to find Slayer tune being on it.
Posted by xchazx (Member # 7158) on :
I love this movie, but I also enjoy dark movies in general. Like I'll always love the ending to Last American Virgin.

I saw this one in the theater when it was out and one of the girls we went with was bawling when we left the theater. My friend told me later that she had a friend of hers that went through something similar and died.
Posted by Nostalgic for the '80's (Member # 37454) on :
Yes, I'm sure this film hit close to home for a lot of people at the time. I never personally knew anyone that died of an overdose, but did hear about it happening.

I think the RBJ character's death (because of an overdose) was handled very sensitively in the film; not exploitative, but realistically. Very sad ending.

Originally posted by Pittsburghgirl:
Totally agree with you, Nostalgic! Although we did our fair share of partying back in the day, my friends and I weren't involved in drugs.

Same here - I partied quite a bit when I was a kid, but always knew where to stop & draw the line (I never indulged in anything harder than alcohol).

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