starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto, Denis O'Hare
screenplay by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack
directed by Jean-Marc Vallée
by Walter Chaw Agreeable, well-meaning horseshit in the Lorenzo's Oil vein (but horseshittier), Jean-Marc Vallée's really bad Dallas Buyers Club is saved to some extent by a couple of fine, showy performances from a skeletal Matthew McConaughey and a skeletal Jared Leto in drag, but ultimately defeated by the standard straw-man activist biopic formula. Not to put too fine a point on it, it's this fall's Promised Land: another liberal movie that injures the credibility of the liberal platform by being so shrill and didactic as to play like melodrama of the worst kind--that is, the self-important kind. All of which is not to say that I didn't sort of enjoy it in the moment (it's fun to marvel at how close to death McConaughey looks, and how pretty Leto is), but to say that the act of writing about it means taking the time to think about it, and that Dallas Buyers Club doesn't suffer much thinking-about.