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‘American Psycho’ babble: E-mails from Patrick Bateman


 
In 2000, online marketing of Hollywood movie releases was in its infancy. Does anyone remember the Beast, the online alternate-reality puzzle that was created to promote the Steven Spielberg/Stanley Kubirck movie A.I.? That was in 2001. A year earlier, Lions Gate Films, tasked with distributing the Mary Harron’s movie American Psycho, created an online advertising campaign in which you could sign up to receive emails from the movie’s psychotic protagonist, Patrick Bateman. The emails were helpfully collected by and have been posted online by a man named Brian Kotek.

The book American Psycho has had a remarkable journey since its incredibly controversial release in 1991. I can’t think of another case in which a book was so shunned by the publishing community—Ellis had always been considered somewhat suspect, a flash in the pan, by New York publishing types, and when his third novel turned out to be a deadpan account of a psycopathic day trader, the New York publishing community, as one, decided they weren’t interested in plumbing the work for irony. The novel was acquired by Simon & Schuster, but the company dropped the project because of “aesthetic differences.” Vintage Books then purchased the rights to the novel and published the book. Essentially, the novel was unjustly treated as …, shall we say, a piece of disgusting pornography when in fact sensitive adults should have been perfectly able to differentiate between that kind of titillation and a more nuanced critique of American capitalism or of the violence of life in America. However IMO the negative perception of Ellis by people in the publishing world, overly eager to serve him his comeuppance, blocked that option.

When the movie was later adapted by Harron, the feminist-identifying (and British) director of I Shot Andy Warhol, that considerably helped resuscitate the book’s image and make it easier to see it as a deliciously nasty jape rather than a soulless exercise in sadism, which it never was in the first place. The movie has become something of a cult item, and Patrick Bateman (particularly for a passage in the book, repeated in the movie, relating his adoring attitude towards Huey Lewis) has become a favorite in memes, to the point that Weird Al Yankovic and Huey Lewis filmed a parody of the American Psycho scene for Funny or Die! in 2013.
 

This image comes from one of the Patrick Bateman emails.
 
The emails were not written by Ellis, but Ellis did approve them, so it’s not a stretch to consider the content of the emails as canon—at the time, they were touted as an “e-quel” to the novel (gag). In the emails we are transported from the heady world of the late 1980s to the year 2000, the present tense for the email recipients, and it turns out that Bateman did indeed marry Jean, his secretary. They have a son (Patrick Jr.) and he would like to get a divorce. Bateman’s attitude in the emails is more or less that of a truth-telling asshole, pretty much what you’d expect of a shallow, aggressive day trader who has literally gotten away with a handful of brutal murders. The emails are quite well written. We’re excerpted two of them here, but you can read ‘em all at this website.
 

Sun 3/26/00 4:45 PM
Subject: 10 Things I Hate

I Hate False Hope.

Don’t tell me everything will be fine when you know in advance that it won’t.

I Hate Bad Service.

You’re an Actor, fine. Go sleep with a Producer, and allow a trained professional to filet my Salmon.

I Hate people who refer to themselves in the third person.

It’s only acceptable if you’re already dead, as in the opening scene of “Sunset Boulevard.”

I Hate Davis Ferguson.

I believe I’ve already touched on that.

I Hate Bad Albee.

Don’t bring up your inner demons to share with the others at the table. We really don’t care to know if you’re afraid of Virginia Woolf. Stay home and freak out. Buy a Chainsaw.

I Hate The Work of Jean Michel Basquiat.

Let’s see what he could do sober.

I Hate Politicians Who Comb Over Their Bald Spots.

If you are going to lie about the state of your own head, how can anybody trust anything you have to say about anything important?

I Hate False Modesty.

Why bother?

I Hate Beggars.

They CAN be choosers, like in choose to get a job.

I Hate Not Being Understood.

Do I make myself clear?

I Hate Davis Ferguson.

All right, that’s 11.

Virtually yours,
Patrick Bateman
bateman@AmPsycho2000.com

 
This next one is a personal favorite of mine because Bateman shows off his music criticism skills, which won him so much favor when he applied them to Huey Lewis’ “Hip to Be Square.”
 

Tue 4/4/00 1:21 PM
Subject: The Hills Are Alive

In spite of Rap Artists’ protests to the contrary, music today, for the most part, has lost it’s soul. Actually, “Killed” is a better word, for the call to violence that is such an integral part of today’s music betrays what music was meant to be. From the first caveman who noticed the haunting chant of the wind over an entrance to his cave, all the way to the most contemporary interpretations of techno-pop by artists such as Tangerine Dream, music is meant to glorify life—to be a treat for the soul, an exclamation point, an expression of hope, a celebration. Not an outlet for hate.

The mood and needs of a Society are best expressed by the work of the Artists of the day, who speak for a people better than any politician or pundit.

Bob Dylan expressed the need for self-evaluation during Vietnam. Cole Porter spun fantasies as the world faced depression. Elvis liberated the youth of America born during a time of War. The Beatles were perhaps the world’s first cultural happening, bringing together the children of the world across the boundaries of geography and culture.

Madonna doesn’t just sing about freedom for women. She IS freedom for women. It is fascinating that after the turn of the Millennium, the world has found a renewed appreciation for artists such as Burt Bacharach and Santana, comfort food for the ears.

Meatloaf, if you will, both literally and figuratively.

Virtually yours,
Patrick Bateman

 

Another image from the Patrick Bateman emails.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Terrence Malick and Christian Bale shoot mystery movie at Austin music fest


 
I attended Austin City Limits this year but somehow managed to miss Terrence Malick shooting footage with Christian Bale for a new film project.

Like most Malick projects, there is much mystery surrounding this film, virtually nothing is known about it, but that’s not surprising considering how private Malick is both in his personal and professional life. Seeing Malick in public is about as rare as seeing a white rhinoceros in Times Square.

Bale and Malick share similarly high standards in what they put on film so this has the potential to be very special. Malick’s last film Tree Of Life wasn’t perfect but what it lacked in narrative coherence it made up for in pure cinematic glory. No matter what Malick shoots you know its going to be extraordinary looking and occasionally consciousness-raising. How that translates to footage at a rock festival has me intrigued.

One thing that is known for certain about the movie is it ain’t the new Batman.
 


Via IndieWire

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Charlie Sheen, Mel Gibson and Christian Bale mega-rant

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Oh dear, we all knew this one was coming. (NSFW)
 


 
(via The High Definite)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Who’s the bigger prick? Christian Bale vs. Mel Gibson
07.13.2010
12:29 pm

Topics:
Amusing

Tags:
Christian Bale
Assholes
Mel Gibson

 
It’s about bloody time! Obviously NSFW!
 
Also see: The 12 Worst Mel Gibson Rant Quotes (Presented By Kittens)
 
(via The Daily What)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Batman 3 Coming in 2012!

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Whether or not we all dissolve into rainbow-shooting dolphins and unicorns of the 27th dimension in 2012, AT LEAST WE KNOW FOR SURE THAT THERE WILL BE A NEW BATMAN MOVIE. OH GOD YES.

The release date for the new film, presumably directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale, and completing a trilogy of the most UTTERLY SWEET FILMS IN ALL TIMES KNOWN AND UNKNOWN, is set at July 20, 2012.

(Note: Above poster, with David Tennant as the Riddler, is not real, just in case it had to be said.)

In one of the most anticipated announcements in recent memory, Warner Bros. officially set a date this morning for the follow-up to The Dark Knight. Tentatively known as Batman 3, the movie will debut July 20, 2012 in conventional and IMAX theaters, almost exactly four years after The Dark Knight opened to record-breaking numbers.

At this time, there are no details available regarding the plot or the cast, though it is assumed that Christian Bale at least will be reprising his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Warner Bros. was also unable to confirm whether or not Batman Begins and Dark Knight writer-director Christopher Nolan would be taking on those responsibilities again for part three.

(Box Office Mojo: Batman Returns in 2012)

(The Freaking Dark Knight (Two-Disc Special Edition))

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Posted by Jason Louv | Leave a comment