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  1. I had two criteria for a film to watch: 1) Something Oscar-worthy (don't worry, hardcore film fans - I do not take the Academy seriously; I'm just using it as a rough guide - this is probably as annoying to you as it is for me to see people blogging about eating their way through such-and-such's list of "the 50 best restaurants" - trust me, I know how you feel, and 2) Something with which I was completely unfamiliar: "Dallas Buyers Club" fits the bill on both counts, and as of this moment, I know absolutely *nothing* about it. And here I go ... *** SPOILER ALERT *** Wow, it's amazing that I'm just over 1/3 of the way through the film, and Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) is essentially gone from this Earth - I cannot imagine what awaits during the second-half of this film. I can already tell that Matthew McConaughey either won or was nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award, but I'm not looking - he is amazingly convincing in his role: He must have lost over fifty pounds to play this part unless they're being extremely clever with makeup and body doubles. I'm now halfway through, and I really like this film - people who didn't have to suffer through their friends and family dying of AIDS aren't going to feel the resonance as much as people who did, but boy, I can imagine *exactly* what you felt watching this. If anyone would have asked me, "What is AZT?" before this movie started, it would have sounded familiar, but I wouldn't have been able to link it - that's like someone unfamiliar with cancer not being able to link platinum-based chemo, and this is - to put it mildly - a good refresher course of what I heard and read about in my mid-20s. Refresher course or not, there is a *zero*-percent chance that Ron could strong-arm T.J. (Kevin Rankin) for as hard or as long as he did in the grocery store. That was so distressingly unrealistic. Possible correction: I watched it a second time, and I think Ron might be grabbing T.J.'s doo-dads, which would explain things. And I *love* the friendship with Rayon (Jared Leto), and this reminds me of what turned out to be one of the most powerful subplots on "All in the Family" - the Bunker's long-lasting friendship with Beverly LaSalle. Okay, the sex scene was runner-up to "When Harry Met Sally." The moment that Denise (Denine Tyler, who's in the process of becoming famous as hell) tells Ron that the woman out in line 'doesn't have HIV; she has full-blown AIDS,' and then not ten seconds later you hear the most honorable and hilarious moaning coming from the bathroom - this is the take-home comic scene from the movie: He has sex with her because he finds out that she *does* have full-blown AIDS. Lemme tell you - humor aside, it is *so* difficult for me to watch this movie now, knowing what I know, and living what I've lived. When I was watching it "live" in the mid-1980s, I was watching it from a white, upper-middle-class, suburban, perspective: in other words, The Washington Post, the three networks, channel 5 and channel 20 - and that's the entirety of what I knew. (People who were immersed in the situation: Think about what I just said - it was like hearing about Watergate 10-15 years before ... it was this boring news story about something that was happening somewhere else, although even with that viewpoint, it was very easy (and very hard) to see the misery of the patients.) Remember Sergeant Leonard Matlovich's Time Magazine cover? "I am a homosexual." - do you remember that? That's the *only* article I remember. I wonder if Matlovich is looked upon as an unqualified hero, as a mixed-figure like Shannon Faulkner, or as something other than those two?
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