Simply put, 'I Melt With You' was as soul-crushing an experience as 'The Informers'. Just another movie about a group of narcissistic cowards who can't function in the real world because of their incessant self-destructive behavior. I swear, following this group of man-babies around was one of the most excruciating movie-watching experiences I’ve ever had.
Four friends from college, all 44 years of age, head off on a vacation they apparently take every year. This vacation consists of sitting in a large, modern-style house doing copious amounts of drugs and drinking gallons of booze. How they didn't overdose and kill themselves during the first day is beyond me. I hate movies where characters are completely immortal when it comes to using drugs haphazardly. They'll scoop up a fistful of various pills, throw them in their mouths, and all that happens to them is they get sweaty and wide-eyed.
These four buddies have all reached their mid-life crises. They've realized that they're all failures, and the only thing that makes them feel is the drugs. Or maybe it keeps them from feeling. Oh who the hell cares?
Jonathan (Rob Lowe) is a scoundrel of a doctor. He prescribes pain killers to rich woman who gives him a little spending money on the side. Richard (Thomas Jane) is a one-time novelist who now wastes his days away teaching high school English. Ron (Jeremy Piven) is a dishonest businessman who's in trouble with the feds. Tim (Christian McKay) is dealing with the loss of his sister. They're all wallowing in self-pity and that's what this movie is about. A solid 120 minutes of wallowing.
Mark Pellington's direction here is indescribable. Every scene is drawn out to the nth degree. The entire movie is a collection of close-ups on sweaty, coked-out faces contemplating whatever it is they are contemplating. All while melancholy rock ballads or guitar solos play ear-splittingly loud in the background.
As these idiots slide further and further into their drug-induced stupors, they realize that they've never amounted to anything. They end up realizing that their lives are worthless and that they may just be better off dead. You see, that's the rub here. They are worthless, every single one of them. As movie characters they are entirely unlikable. They are nihilistic wastes of space that do nothing more than bitch and moan about what their lives could've been like. Sounds like a great movie right? A bunch of drugged out douchebags sitting around wishing their lives were different.
'I Melt With You' has absolutely no redeeming qualities. The movie takes a tremendous amount of effort just to sit through let alone find anything positive about it. It's a depressing slog through a wasteland of imbecilic characters who never at any time act like rational human beings.
The writing is horrendous. During a threesome with Tim another guy and a girl, Tim starts crying and talking about how he misses his sister. The girl present says, in a soothing voice "Let me be her Tim. Let me be her." Who the hell says something like that? I can't think of a more disgusting, perverse, and utterly repulsive statement than that. Not only is it nauseating, but no one in their right mind would ever talk like that. That’s just an example, but that's what the dialogue is like throughout the whole film. People talk in melodramatic metaphors and pontificate about nothingness. It's lunacy!
This movie made me angry. Angry that I sat there for two hours and watched four good actors waste their time making such a piece of awful, pretentious junk. 'I Melt With You' was, by far, the worst film I saw at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, and remained atop my Most Hated movies from last year. I can't think of a movie so repulsive that I prayed all of the lead characters would die just so the movie could end.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
This is a Magnolia Home Entertainment Blu-ray release. It's been packaged in a standard Blu-ray keepecase. The movie has been pressed onto a 50GB Blu-ray Disc. It's listed as being a Region A coded disc on the back of the case.
The entire movie was filmed with a Canon EOS 5D MKII camera, which in terms of filmmaking is a pretty affordable camera at just under $2,400 on Amazon. So it's evident that this entire film was shot on the cheap.
The downside is that you can tell that the movie was filmed that way. Even though it has its moments, the experimental nature of the film, with all the changing filters and varying picture quality, it simply never stays consistent.
Fine detail suffers, especially during many of the darkly-lit scenes, like the booze and drug montages that feature crushing shadows. Softness pervades the entire movie with only a handful of times that detail is really sharp and clear. Truthfully, the look of 'I Melt with You' is just as frustrating as the movie itself. It's an inconsistent nightmare of images that sometimes look good, but for the most part look like amateur filmmaking.
Colors are awash with bulging contrast when daylight comes, then suddenly colors change, skintones take on bronze hues just because director Mark Pellington and his cinematographer Eric Schmidt think it's really fun to play with color filters. The look shifts from teal to magenta and back to teal again all in the same scene sometimes. It's hard to keep track of and becomes bothersome to the eye. Artifacting like shimmering, aliasing, and banding are all noticeable and most likely due to the relatively cheap cameras that were used during filming.
On the whole, I found the entire experience of watching 'I Melt With You' on Blu-ray frustrating.
'I Melt With You' has a rocking soundtrack, complete with all sorts of bands from The Sex Pistols to The Clash. It helps that the entire movie is filmed like a music video. Never-ending montages make for a jukebox-like atmosphere where rock song after rock song is used to emphasize how crappy these guys' lives are.
The DTS-HD Master Audio blasts each rock song as hard and as loud as it possibly can. At times this becomes a deafening exercise. I remember it being exactly this way in the theaters and now on Blu-ray we have the same ear-splitting soundtrack. The songs are great, but man they're presented way too loud for comfort here.
Dialogue is, for the most part, presented clearly. There are times where dialogue is simply lost in the melee that is the movie's soundtrack. Even though the movie features some strong musical pieces, they're presented at such brain-deadening volume that it becomes a chore to listen to it.
That's right. There's more than one commentary for 'I Melt With You'. Mark Pellington is in love with his overly pretentious, idiotic characters and he makes this well-known because he appears on both of the commentaries.
The first commentary features Pellington joined by actors Rob Lowe and Jeremy Piven. Given any other circumstance I think I'd love to listen to a commentary featuring these two actors, but under these circumstances the thought of watching 'I Melt With You' all the way through again has my stomach LIT-erally churning in knots. I did sample some parts, however, and the most interesting information I came across was Pellington talking about the movie's extremely low-budget. He actually goes through with his accountant hat, talking about how much everything cost. Like almost an itemized breakdown, which I would find useful on other movies.
The second commentary features Pellington is joined by writer Glenn Porter, and cinematographer Eric Schmidt. Here the trio talk a lot about the look of the film and the limitations of the equipment they were using.
Not since 'The Informers' have I felt so much hatred towards a movie. 'I Melt With You' eviscerates your eyeballs with its music video presentation, and tears apart your brain with its overly pretentious drivel like a zombie victim. It's an excruciating dive into the moronic nature of nothingness. A world of nihilism that isn't the least bit interesting or inviting. There's nothing here to like let alone love. It's a pitiful display of writing, directing, and storytelling. So what if these guys hate their lives, I hate them.