2022 Scarecrow Psychotronic Challenge Day 25: The Rules of Attraction (2002)

25. CRAIG’S TWIST: When that iffy roommate situation goes sour in a dangerous way.

Written and directed by Roger Avary and based on Bret Easton Ellis’ book, this movie makes me not regret at all that I went to art school instead of college and that I was not forced to suffer through roommates. Although man, my first roommates worked at Arthur Treacher’s, always smelled like fish, didn’t have beds and one of them used to cry about his girlfriend while listening to “Don’t Worry Baby” by the Beach Boys, infusing in me a lifelong hatred of Mike Love. Well done, asshole.

Lauren Hynde (Shannyn Sossamon), Paul Denton (Ian Somerhalder) and Sean Bateman (James Van Der Beek) are students at Camden College, a place where an end of the world party leads to sex for all of them and not always the way they want it. Lauren gets taken by a townie while a film student records it. Paul gets beaten by a jock who is closeted. Sean ends up sleeping with a girl he really doesn’t want. But oh, before all that, Paul wanted Sean and wrote him letters, which he thought were from Lauren, who also likes him. Except that a geeky lunchlady girl — that’s Theresa Wayman, who was in the band Warpaint with Sossamon — sent Sean those letters and she kills herself and things spiral out of lovelorn control from there and then we get a scene where Lauren gives Eric Stoltz a blowjob while he listens to classic music because he’s married and doesn’t sleep with students. Sure, whatever, she says, taking out her gum.

This movie reminds me of a time in my life where all this music existed yet I was too busy working sixty to ninety hours a week and stuck in a marriage that was crushing me. Such is life, right?

Anyways, it has everyone from Jessica Biel, Kate Bosworth and Faye Dunaway to Fred Savage, Swoosie Kurtz and Paul Williams in it and for that — mostly for Paul Williams — I agreed with this film. What didn’t make it in was Casper Van Dien as Sean’s brother Patrick. That guy. The one with the nice business cards.

The soundtrack is pretty good as well — “Six Different Ways” by The Cure, The Rapture, “Colours” by Donovan, “L’ami Cauette (My Pal Peanut)” by Serge Gainsbourg, Love and Rockets, The Go-Go’s, “Rise” By PIL, Harry Nilsson, and Erasure — but it does not have Glenn Danzig redoing “To Sir With Love” for Less Than Zero, so that Bret Easton Ellis movie has my heart.

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