DVDSleuth.com is your source for daily DVD news and reviews.
I Melt With You (2011)
Magnolia Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 2/28/2012
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 3/2/3012
As someone who has reviewed many movies over the years, I've learned that great movies are very rare. There are some good movies out there, but most fall into the average/mediocre category. And then we have all of the bad movies which seem to find their way to my doorstep. But, no matter which category it falls into, one would hope that every movie, even the bad ones, has a goal or purpose. The worst kind of movies are those which wander all over the place, seeming to have no point. It's even worse when talented performers are involved in the movie. I Melt With You may be the perfect example of this.
I Melt With You introduces us to four old friends. Richard (Thomas Jane) is an English teacher and failed novelist. Ron (Jeremy Piven) works in investing and may be in trouble. Jonathan (Rob Lowe) is a doctor who has morphed into being a drug dealer. Tim (Chrisitan McKay) is gay and depressed (I wish that we knew more about this character, but we don't.). These four friends have known each other since college and they try to get together when they can. For this occasion, they've rented a house which is on a cliff overlooking the beach. They immediately begin partying, ingesting as much alcohol and drugs as possible, and the days start to blur. The also hit the beach, play on sand-dunes, and have some people over for a party. But, this group hides a dark secret, and the inhibitions which accompany the substance use soon give way to deadly acts which will change the tone of the week, and their lives, forever.
The film comes from filmmaker Mark Pellington, whose career has been a series of highs and lows. Pellington got his start in music videos, and if his name sounds familiar, it's probably because he directed the ground-breaking video for Pearl Jam's "Jeremy" in 1992. From there, he continued making videos and branched out into feature films, directing the underrated 1999 thriller Arlington Road and the visually gripping The Mothman Prophecies. Pellington then went through personal tragedies with the death of his spouse and a bout with alcoholism. He re-emerged with 2008'sHenry Poole is Here, which was decidedly a mixed-bag, but a movie which was serious, yet lighter than a lot of Pellington's work. I Melt With You marks a return to dark material for the director, but it also suggests that he's lost the ability to tell a compelling story.
Based on a script by Glenn Porter, I Melt With You ostensibly shows us the excesses these men enjoy on their get-together, and how they spiral out-of-control. At the outset, one holds the hope that the movie will explore exactly what is happening with these guys and what has lead them to this place. Instead, we simply get one montage after another of them binging on drugs and alcohol. When the party occurs, the movie temporarily throws more characters at us (including porn star Sasha Grey), but the story isn't advanced very much...save for a seemingly serious confession from Tim which is never expanded upon. Following this, the movie takes an even darker turn and the second hour (of this 2-hour movie) shows each of the guys reaching their nadir. When the reason for all of this is (sort of) revealed, it is literally one of the dumbest, most groan-inducing things I've ever seen in a movie.
Has Pellington become a modern-day Roman Polanski? Has the death of his wife caused him to create irrevocably dark material? The final message of I Melt With You isn't just dark, it sends one of the most blatant points about hopelessness and lack of redemption that I've ever seen in a movie, especially one which features recognizable stars. Pellington hasn't lost his visual touch and the movie has an undeniably artsy look. Also, the use of music in the film, from several genres of rock, is admirable. But, the movie itself is nearly unwatchable as it literally wallows in misery, to no conceivable end. Next time, melt without me.
I Melt With You makes one wonder why the guys' livers didn't get up and leave on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Magnolia Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 25 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing only trace amounts of grain and only one notable defects from the source material. During the third act, I noted a hair on the image. I haven't seen a hair in a movie in years. This hair following Thomas Jane across the screen is the most exciting part of the movie. Pellington has used a lot of zooms and rack focuses here, so there are some moments where the transfer looks questionable, but they are intentional. The colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is good, although the picture is admittedly soft at times. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Even at low volume, the quality of this track is evident. The music sounds great, providing pumping bass. The stereo effects are well-done and show good separation. The surround sound effects are also good, as they not only help to create a sense of space in the movie, they also come into play with interesting sound effects during the montages.
The I Melt With You contains a lot of extras. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY form Director Mark Pellington and Rob Lowe & Jeremy Piven. There is then a second COMMENTARY with Pellington, Co-writer Glenn Porter, and Director of Photography Eric Schmidt. The Disc contains seven DELETED SCENES which run about 19 minutes. The bulk of this consists of an 8-minute sequence which offers longer introductions to the characters. There is also a new scene which features more screen-time for Carla Gugino's character. "I Melt With You Behind the Scenes" (26 minutes) contains comments from Pellington and Porter who discuss the origin of the movie. From there, we meet the cast and get comments from the actors. The piece then looks at the shooting of specific scenes, including how they were shot. "HDNet: A Loot at I Melt With You" (5 minutes) is basically a trailer for the film with comments from Pellington and Piven. The director shares his views on the movie, his career, and life in "Interview with Mark Pellington" (38 minutes). "Interview with Jeremy Piven" (10 minutes) has the actor talking about his character and his involvement in the film. "Director's Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery" is a very unusual collection of stills. "Alternate Theatrical Poster Gallery" is a series of posters which weren't used. "Director's Statement" is an all-text feature in which Pellington tells us his intentions with the film. We get both the "Green Band" and "Red Band" TRAILERS for the film, as well as the "International Trailer". "Jeremy Piven Mood Piece" (4 minutes) is like a trailer, as it's a series of shots accompanied by narration from Piven. "Thomas Jane Teaser" (5 minutes) has the actor, in character, describing the situations in the movie.
Review Copyright 2012 by Mike Long