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Encyclopedia > Less Than Zero (film)
Less than Zero
Directed by Marek Kanievska
Produced by Jon Avnet,
Jordan Kerner,
Marvin Worth
Written by Harley Payton (screenplay),
Bret Easton Ellis (novel)
Starring Andrew McCarthy,
Jami Gertz,
Robert Downey Jr.,
James Spader
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) November 6, 1987
Running time 98 min.
Language English
IMDb profile

Less Than Zero is a 1987 film based on the novel of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis. It stars Andrew McCarthy, Jami Gertz, Robert Downey Jr., and James Spader. It has been rated R by the MPAA. Image File history File links Less Than Zero DVD cover Source: Amazon. ... Bret Easton Ellis (born March 7, 1964 in Los Angeles, California) is an American author. ... Andrew McCarthy (born November 29, 1962) is an American actor who appeared in several films during the 1980s. ... Jami Gertz (born October 28, 1965 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American actress of Jewish descent. ... Robert John Downey Jr. ... James Todd Spader (born February 7, 1960 in Boston, Massachusetts) is an American actor best known for his eccentric roles in movies such as sex, lies, and videotape (for which he won the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival), Stargate, and Secretary. ... Fox Plaza, the company headquarters. ... November 6 is the 310th day of the year (311th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 55 days remaining. ... 1987 (MCMLXXXVII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Less Than Zero is the first novel by Bret Easton Ellis, published in 1985. ... Bret Easton Ellis (born March 7, 1964 in Los Angeles, California) is an American author. ... Andrew McCarthy (born November 29, 1962) is an American actor who appeared in several films during the 1980s. ... Jami Gertz (born October 28, 1965 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American actress of Jewish descent. ... Robert John Downey Jr. ... James Todd Spader (born February 7, 1960 in Boston, Massachusetts) is an American actor best known for his eccentric roles in movies such as sex, lies, and videotape (for which he won the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival), Stargate, and Secretary. ...

Contents

Plot

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Clay (McCarthy) is a college freshman who returns home to Los Angeles, California, for Christmas, and finds things to be a bit of a mess. His ex-girlfriend Blair (Gertz) has been having sex with his high school friend, the drug-addicted Julian (Downey), who is being hassled by his dealer, Rip (Spader), for the $50,000 he owes. What follows is Clay's effort to help clean up Julian. The movie presents a look at the culture of wealthy youth in Los Angeles and has a strong anti-drug message, something that never existed in the novel. Nickname: City of Angels Location within Los Angeles County in the state of California Coordinates: State California County Los Angeles County  - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Area    - City 1290. ... Official language(s) English Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Area  Ranked 3rd  - Total 158,302 sq mi (410,000 km²)  - Width 250 miles (400 km)  - Length 770 miles (1,240 km)  - % water 4. ...


Departures from the Book

The movie focused on a strong anti-drug message, rather than the emptiness of the characters' lives as displayed in the novel.


Also, in the book, Clay must decide whether he wants to continue his relationship with Blair, while in the movie they have already broken up and Blair is now involved with Julian. Clay seems to have given-up on both of them after seeing Blair after she called him while he was back east. It is after the scene when Clay is swimming does Clay appear to have decided to re-involve himself with Blair and Julian, while in the book he seems uncertain he wants to continue with her the whole time, even saying at one point that he never loved Blair. Also, in the film, Clay is determined to clean up Julian's drug abuse and debts, but in the book Julian's behavior only seems to disillusion Clay with the people in Los Angeles even more. In addition, many of the characters in the movie never existed in the book.


Other minor changes include: Clay and Julian are not blonde and tan like they were in the novel. Rip is Julian's dealer in the movie, when in the book Rip was Clay's dealer (Clay was a frequent drug user in the book) and Julian is a dealer himself but is also indebted to a dealer named Finn; and Clay's friend Trent, who was a major character in the novel, has a greatly reduced role in the movie.


Many important plot-bearing scenes from the book were also removed in the translation to film. These removals are arguably the most obvious strays from Easton Ellis' novel. Of these are: a very profound scene describing in great detail (to show the importance, contrary to the rest of the novel's loose details), Clay and Blair running over a dog and Clay seeing it die; a scene where Clay and friends see a dead body in an alley, which helped show how exposed to the world the teenagers were at such a young age; and the famous final scene where a 12 year old girl is tied to a bed and raped in Rip's apartment.

Spoilers end here.

Reception

Upon its release, Ellis was supposedly so embarrassed with the adaptation that he refused to go to the premiere. However, as time went on Ellis seemed to have had a change of heart, and said in an interview on Amazon.com [1] in 2005 that while he still disagreed with the script and some of the cast, he said that it was a "beautiful-looking film" and that he knew "of no other movie that caught that period in L.A. so well." He also thought that if the independent film scene had been around in the 1980s, it would've been more faithful to the book, and that the movie "was diluted because it was made by a big studio." Amazon. ... An independent film, or indie film, is usually a low-budget film that is produced by a small movie studio. ...


The film has had mixed reviews among critics, Many of whom called it "all style and no substance." Roger Ebert was one of the few major critics to give it a positive review. Russ Meyer (left) and Roger Ebert, (1970) Roger Joseph Ebert (June 18, 1942 - ) is an Emmy Award-nominated American television personality, author, and film critic who began writing for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1967. ...


Soundtrack

Produced by Rick Rubin, the original motion picture soundtrack includes songs by Aerosmith, The Count Five, Glenn Danzig & the Power and Fury Orchestra, Joan Jett, Roy Orbison, Poison, Public Enemy, Run DMC and Slayer. Two singles from the soundtrack reached the Billboard Hot 100: The Bangles with "Hazy Shade of Winter" at No. 2 and LL Cool J's "Going Back to Cali" at No. 31. Thomas Newman's original score, however, remains unavailable (except as heard in the film itself). Frederick Jay Rubin (born March 10, 1963 in Long Island, New York), is a Multiple Grammy Award-winning American record producer best known for his work with rap and heavy metal, as well as the American series albums with Johnny Cash. ... Aerosmith are a prominent American rock band, sometimes regarded as Americas Greatest Rock and Roll Band. [1][2] Although they are known as the bad boys from Boston, none of the members are actually from the city. ... The Count Five were a garage rock band from San Jose, California. ... This band performed only one song, You and Me (Less than Zero), track five on the Less than Zero Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1987). ... Joan Jett (b. ... Roy Kelton Orbison (April 23, 1936 – December 6, 1988), nicknamed The Big O, was an influential American singer-songwriter and a pioneer of rock and roll whose recording career spanned more than four decades. ... Poison is an American glam metal band which originally achieved popular success in the late 1980s and early 1990s. ... Public Enemy, also known as PE!, is a seminal hip hop group from Long Island, New York known for their politically charged lyrics, criticism of the media, and active interest in the concerns of the African American community. ... Run-DMC is a hip hop crew founded by Jason Jam Master Jay Mizell that included Joseph Run Simmons and Darryl DMC McDaniels. ... Slayer is an American thrash metal band, formed in 1981 by guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. ... The Billboard Hot 100 is the United States music industry standard singles popularity chart issued weekly by Billboard magazine. ... The Bangles were one of the new generation of independent all-women bands that followed The Go-Gos in the early 1980s. ... James Todd Smith III (born August 16, 1968), better known as LL Cool J, is an American hip hop artist and actor. ...


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