Alternate Title: Drugs are Bad, AIDS is Worse (MmKay?)
This is the movie that birthed the phrases, “Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey” and, “Academy Award winner Jared Leto.” If that’s not surreal enough for you, add in the fact that McConaughey looks emaciated the whole time and Leto is dressed like a lady and they both play people who are HIV-positive.
McConaughey (excuse me, Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey) plays Ron Woodroof, a real person who was diagnosed with HIV in the 1980s. Woodroof is a Dallas rodeo cowboy, so when his friends accuse him of being gay due to the diagnosis, this only adds to the total fucking torment that is being HIV-positive. Woodroof is not in fact gay, but has had unprotected sex with women that were IV-drug users. It’s a subtle, but worthwhile reminder to ignorant folks that HIV does not discriminate; if you don’t use a condom or poke yourself with needles, you are at risk. Please be careful out there.
Unlike some people diagnosed with a terminal illness, Woodroof does his homework. With an estimate of 30 days left to live, he attempts to get ahold of AZT, a drug known to help with the virus. Remember that guy Martin Shkreli? One of the reasons he’s a villain is he spiked the price of AZT. I would have liked to hear Ron Woodroof cuss him out, but my guess is he would at least call him a mother fucker. I’m sticking with douchebag for now.
Woodroof ends up going to see a doctor in Mexico when his illegally obtained supply of AZT runs low. The doctor prescribes Woodroof Peptide T and vitamins, explaining that AZT is poison. In fact, studies did show that early AZT was highly toxic and many patients undergoing drug trials were experiencing worsened symptoms while taking it. How do I know? Because Ron figured this out and broadcast the news to the community as well as to his own doctor (Jennifer Garner).
Woodroof befriends Rayon (Leto) while selling Peptide T and the supplements to other HIV-positive people. Ron and Rayon start the Dallas Buyers Club for people who want to use their pharmaceuticals instead of the infamous AZT. Of course, this leads to problems with medical professionals, the IRS, and the FDA, all of whom Woodroof fights with Texas swagger and refusals to stop his business.
This movie does a great job illustrating an incident where the government didn’t appear to have its citizens’ best interest at heart without serving up too much courtroom drama. It’s also pretty hard not to like Ron Woodroof by the end of it, no matter how you feel about Matthew McConaughey (…Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey).
Now it’s Your Turn…
Dallas Buyers Club was nominated for Best Picture in 2013, but did the Academy get it right?