Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato’s ‘Party Monster’ (2003)

19Dec04

To be honest, I watched this movie for one reason: Seth Green. However, I found the movie quite enjoyable. It’s not a perfect film: Chloë Sevigny’s and Dylan McDermott’s characters felt underdeveloped to me and some of the character intrusion and narration seemed unnecessary. But Party Monster is a fascinating, entertaining and funny movie, nonetheless.

Seth Green did not disappoint me. His portrayal of James St. James is excellent and his passion and devotion to the role apparent. I am undecided about Culkin’s performance. Michael seems shallow to me, but that is actually appropriate to the role, as Michael Alig seems void of humanity in the interviews I have watched. Culkin’s Alig seems a mere poseur to Green’s St. James, who lives and breathes fabulousness. But again, that aspect could also be essential to Michael’s character who seemed to be a club kid just because it would lead to attention. Mostly, though, I was wishing that Kieran was on the screen instead. Chloë Sevigny is underused in her role of Michael’s girlfriend and I could have done with seeing more interaction between Michael and Angel. And some boy-on-boy intimacy. The directors were willing to show such outrageous costumes, copious amounts of drug use, and yet no affection between men despite the heavy homoerotic overtones between the actors. The lack of homosexual interaction wouldn’t bother me as much if Michael and his girlfriend weren’t shown in intimate moments as well.

I’m also completely baffled by the naming of this project. Directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato originally made a documentary about Michael Alig and the club kids called Party Monster: The Shockumentary in 1998. This Party Monster, the non-documentary Party Monster, is based more on James St. James autobiography Disco Bloodbath, which has subsequently been renamed Party Monster in connection to promotion of this film. Why not just call this movie Disco Bloodbath and save everyone some confusion?

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