Courtney Rizzo, MBA Class of 2015
As many of us find ourselves for the first time in years going back to the parents’ house for an extended holiday break, a movie can be fantastic activity for killing a couple hours. For my family, having already reached capacity of holiday TV specials, we chose to go see the recently released Dallas Buyers Club. “You know, the one with Matthew MacKonnie-hay-hay?” Dad says. Oh yes, Matthew McConaughey. He’s that heartthrob from Failure to Launch and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, right?
Well, you haven’t met THIS Matthew McConaughey. Gaunt and mustached, he plays Ron Woodruff, a risk-taking rodeo man who, far from a 10-day dating debacle, is diagnosed with AIDS and told he has 30 days to live. His response to the doctors is, in summary, f*** that.
This movie hit the jackpot twice in casting leading men. Unlike McConaughey, Jared Leto has always been known for his grittier roles, but here he especially shines as Woodroof’s right hand transvestite, Rayon. She’s a character of many layers: a sharp saleswoman, compassionate, and yet afraid to face her own reality. Their relationship goes from homophobic hatred to a beautiful, gut-wrenching friendship.
Woodroof goes on to survive 7 years and, with Rayon, they help hundreds of others with his subscription-based, non-FDA approved drug dispensary. The movie is gripping as they fight their own illnesses, the red tape of the pharmaceutical industry, border patrol, and stereotypes.
I am a sucker for a “based on a true story” story. I don’t expect any of us to start international drug-smuggling businesses, but would we have the fortitude to become an advocate for our own health and others’ when facing a crippling diagnosis? More importantly, does it take an actual life-threatening situation to open our minds and hearts to people different from us?
Still, if you are going to the movies in search of a holiday treat, you’d better be in the mood to watch a Charlie Brown Christmas tree-type tale, weighed down with burdens and only hope to keep it upright. Oh yeah, and be ready for more than one rodeo threesome scene if you have the family in tow.