Director: Anthony Drazen
Year Released: 1998
Several Hollywood types with too much money and too much free time - an acting dream team of Sean Penn, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Spacey and Garry Shandling - sit around Penn's apartment and bitch and do cocaine and smoke pot and screw a teenager (Anna Paquin) and abuse a prostitute (Meg Ryan) and mock each other. But it's really about their inner pain. As with some other acclaimed plays-turned-into-movies, I'm not sure how David Rabe's play worked on stage, because on film it's grotesque and alienating and rambling - unlike John Cassavetes' films (which this does a poor job of approximating) - but in particular Husbands - it doesn't convincingly convey the all-too-real self-loathing or disgust with the dark side of masculinity and hedonistic excess: none of these scoundrels are worthy of even the smallest droplet of empathy (also compare/contrast with Ellis' Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, which is also tied into the Reagan era). Spacey's smarmy performance is of particular note - his true love is the theater but his film script sense, historically, has been questionable.