December 4, 2003

Viewer Discretion Advised

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Shows like The OC and Rich Girls are simply not sufficient as depictions of the rich and pampered. Where is the manic depression, the murder, and the brats blowing copious amounts of cocaine? It just doesn’t seem right, so here are a few films sure to remind you of exactly how screwed up America’s overly privileged really are.

American Psycho

Ridiculous. That is how my freshman-year roommate defined this film, and that certainly is an apt description. Enter Patrick Bateman, the quintessential yuppie with an executive job, a penthouse apartment, a chiseled physique, and a need to dissect women (literally). Christian Bale gives a stunningly hilarious and haunting performance as the axe murdering investment broker who blurs the line between territorial male and homicidal maniac. As we descend further into Bateman’s sadistic fantasies, reality becomes blurred, and the film creates some of the wildest cinematic moments in recent memory. Whether Bateman is chasing a girl naked with a chainsaw or riding two hookers with Phil Collins’s “Sussudio” playing as the soundtrack, this film is full of wild juxtapositions that make it unforgettable.

Harold and Maude

One of the most unusual love stories ever filmed, this cult classic follows Harold, a rich kid with a morbid fixation. Stuck in a house that resembles Versailles with a neurotic mother trying to find him a wife through an electronic dating service, Harold revolts by staging bizarre suicide enactments, attending funerals, and transforming his new Jaguar into a hearse. Oddly, Harold finds redemption through his love for 80 year old Maude, a woman high on life who steals cars for transportation and models nude. This is a quirky and hilarious film that predates the style of contemporary filmmaker Wes Anderson.

Less Than Zero

In a film that seems to foreshadow the future, Robert Downey Jr. plays himself, a pampered baby with a coke addiction. This anti-drug piece follows a group of rich kids living in Orange Count. The central frame of the story, though, is Downey’s character Julian and his fall from social elitism to a burnout giving blow jobs for coke. The film gets a little preachy, and a little too sentimental, but nevertheless is a compelling portrait of rich kids gone bad.


In Wes Anderson’s now classic film, Bill Murray makes a surprising turn as Harold Bloome, an empty millionaire who hides from his family and hates himself. Yet one day, while speaking at his old prep school, Harold meets his foil, Max Fischer, a wildly ambitious loser who is the worst student at the school. Harold sees what he used to be in Max, and becomes fascinated by his absurd ambition. That is, until they both fall for a beautiful first grade teacher. The ensuing battle for her heart leaves both Max and Harold bereft, but ultimately, this is an original story of redemption and growth.

Archived article by Zach Jones