Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Who would win in a fight:Patrick Bateman or Tom Ripley?

I treated myself to the ultimate in posable inaction figures:The official American Psycho 18" Patrick Bateman with motion activated voice chip that says such memorable movie lines as"Do you like Huey Lewis and The News?" "I have to return some video tapes." and "Don't just stare at it,Sabrina-eat it!"(see the movie if you want to know what that last one means). Little Sister has the Bride from Kill Bill from the same company line,Reel Toys(she got it at Spencer's Gifts for the best mark down price,$10-even the clerks were amazed)-me,I couldn't wait to add that bad boy to my collection.

This purchase lead me naturally to watch AP again(I own the original unrated DVD edition)and to pair it up with The Talented Mr. Ripley. It made sense to double feature these films:both are based on novels that created quite a buzz in their day(AP being the more notorious),both of the main characters share the same dilemmas of identity,social class and use murder as the solution to their confusions. I also watched the actor interviews on both DVDs,which lead me to the question posed:who would win in a fight between the two?

In this corner is Patrick Bateman,well played by Christian Bale(who startles you with his very British accent in the interview feature)and probaly the most well known Bret Easton Ellis character. I will tell you up front that I am not a fan of Ellis' work but not because I'm "offended"(which should be obvious,given my recent purchase)by his attempts at gross-out
horror. Frankly,that whole generation of writers-Tama Janowitz,Jay McInterney-don't impress me much. I read Less Than Zero,Bright Lights Big City and A Cannibal in Manhattan(and some of Slaves of New York) and was not inclined to read anything else by them. They stuck me as
folks with no real life experience(or a rather limited one)to base their fictional worlds upon.

I did flip thru AP but couldn't connect to it and I'm a gal who has read quite abit of Clive Barker.
What BEE seems to be with his work after Less Than Zero is a guy who thought"Hey,if I mix some horror movie stuff into my social satirical style,that'll set me apart from the rest!" After all,he's used vampires in Rules of Attraction and in his new book,Lunar Park,he does his own version of Stephen King's The Dark Half by having Patrick Bateman invade his world(that movie I would see).

Anyway,back to Bateman-I always thought the movie was much better than the book due to the director,Mary Herron,going more for the social satire than the goreshow scenes in the book.
During the Christian Bale interview,Bale says that he never bothered with potraying Patrick in a realistic way-since Patrick was such an artifical person,he approached it that way which made it easier for Bale to step out of character during the filming. He also points out that Bateman is a product of his world,he wouldn't be able to survive beyond the set realm of his fellow yuppies.
This,to me,is the main difference between him and Tom Ripley.

I loved the Minghella film(the man couldn't make a less than two and a half hour movie if his life depended on it,IMO,which is fine by me)and wound up reading the first three Ripley books due to it. Ripley is given a more sympathic treatment by the film than Bateman is(Patricia Highsmith's novels are not as romantic about Tom-by the time the third book,Ripley's Game,comes around,Tom amuses himself by tricking a decent man into committing a murder). This is due to social class-Jude Law in the actor interviews is the only one to bring that up directly-while Patrick is a bored soulless yuppie,Tom is a social climbing working class man.

Ripley's reasons for killing are not to feel connected or to make himself unique(which Bateman strives for-the big running gag in the movie is how cookie cutter all his fellow rich boys are,that you can't tell one from the other,even if they're right in front of you)-Ripley kills to protect the identity he decides to have:Dickie Greenleaf's. Dickie and Patrick would be buddies if they were thrown together-both are spoiled man-brats of different degrees,which weakens their intelluctual skills. Tom is smarter,due to having to really use his brain to cover his tracks and to ingratiate himself to other people. Patrick crumbles under the pressure of his own needs(also,excessive coke snorting tends to kill the brain cells)-he can't even give a good excuse to leave his friends when he can't take them anymore.

So,who would win? Tom,of course. While Patrick begs to be believed as the psycho killer that he is,Tom accepts the fact that he must use deadly means to achieve his ends. Tom Ripley is a sinister survivor who could easily be your next door neighbor while Patrick Bateman is as real
as Freddy Kruger,which is why there is a American Psycho doll and not a Tom Ripley one. The coolest thing about the AP figure is that it comes with a Patrick Bateman business card,which
I have him holding out with more menace than the axe that came with the other accessories. The business card comparision scene is more menacing than the naked chainsaw chase later on. Trust me on that one.


FB said...

movie wise,

both actors got naked.... based on that... i choose christian bale. yikes, he's hott!!! and i'm an accent humper. so that's that. He wins by a landslide!!!

lady t said...

Well,if we're talking a nude off,Jude Law was on display himself in TMR,so it's two against one there:)

FB said...

yeah i guess. but wasn't gwen also nude in that movie??? she cancels out jude. then we're back at square one. but i saw matt damon in person and he's short. like a shorty mcshort short. so if christian bale is as tall as they say, then he wins!!! but seperately, jude is nice to look at but what an ass. his nanny!!!! yuck!!!

lady t said...

All you see of Gwen is her bare legs and her feet as her panties are being taken off,so she can't cancel Jude.

Jude in the bathtub scene...steammy! Matt Damon looks pretty sweet,too(even if he's shorty mcshorty). I love a British accent,too so it's hard for me as well,my friend(no pun intended,I swear!).