I saw this over the weekend. I really wanted to like it, for a number of reasons. First of all, poor Macaulay Culkin. After the hype and the reportedly disfunctional childhood, and the disappearance from the public eye, I really wanted to have him make a comeback that had you going, Wow. He can really act. And this seemed like the movie for it. But no. Not really. And that made me kind of sad. It just reminded me of a sixth grade play where the actors are Acting. Very Overly Dramatic.
I also wanted to like it because I like movies that sort of capture the excess and decadence of the 80s, because I found the 80s excessive and decadent and they largely knocked me off kilter. Boogie Nights captures this perfectly, and the literal turning point of that film is New Years Eve, 1979, where suddenly, at about midnight Everything Goes To Shit. In fact, don’t see Party Monster at all. If you are looking at it, rent Boogie Nights instead.
Party Monster was just a bit too self conscious in its flamboyance for me. There are some nice performances. Wilson Cruz as doomed drug dealer Angel was emotionally understated and wonderful. Seth Green as best friend James did remind me a lot of some of my over the top not at all comfortable in their own skins young gay friends in that era, and the scenes that he shared with Culkin’s murdering Michael Alig were the only scenes where Culkin was believable and human.
The flashy club scenes were, well, flashy, and you know, just flashy. Lots of lights, lots of movement. But ultimately – gah. I just didn’t really like it. Whatever. I wouldn’t recommend it, I wouldn’t watch it again.