I Melt with You

First Hit: An attempt to show how men struggle to see and share themselves clearly.

There are men who like the camaraderie of men. There are men who long for the camaraderie of the guys they hung out with while in college and felt that those days and those guys were the best of times.

This film attempts to share one story about 4 of these guys. Richard (Thomas Jane), Ron (Jeremy Piven), Jonathan (Rob Lowe) and Tim (Christian McKay) who sent time together and back then we discover they made a pact (or covenant) that if in 25 years things aren’t going well for them, they will die together.

Richard is a writer of one popular book and is now a school teacher. He's run out of ideas and his students don't care much any longer. Ron is an investment banker who is now being investigated by the SEC for ill begotten money.

Jonathan is a medical doctor who has taken to the art of selling drug prescriptions under the table for money and is recently divorced. And Tim is gay and his former partner has just died of aids. They arrive at a beautiful house just south of Carmel on the Big Sur cliffs. They are there for for their annual meeting and seven days of total inebriation. It is all the booze and drugs they can consume while awake with occasional outings (like fishing).

Most of the film is shot inside the house where they get into long drug fueled discussions about very little and, on occasion, an intimate one on one discussion about what is going on in their life to one of the other friends. Distraught Tim has a night of wild sex with a man and woman who came to the house to party, he hates himself, pulls out the pact they made in college and hangs himself in the bathroom.

The rest of the film tells the story about what the others do, or not do, based on the pact they wrote together. The drug crazed binges were very realistic and in some cases the actors didn’t have to dig too deep to find their characters.

However, I did like watching how men will slowly tell their real story behind the veneer one, and that there is a sort of weird honor in living up to pact they made.

Jane was very good as the most vocal and energetic force of the 4 men. Piven was also very good as the guy who long ago turned a corner to illegal work to make his family happy and he aches within from the moment he made that decision. Lowe was interesting to watch because I wondered if he found his role easy or difficult to play based on his past public relationship with drugs. Yes it could be a partial story of his past, and he was convincing. McKay was excellent at being the most troubled one of the group. He was the introspective one of the group who wore his heart on his sleeve. When he shaved off his beard, the audience knew the story was going to change. Glenn Porter wrote the screenplay and at times it was excessive, but other times quite poignant. Mark Pellington directed this cast with a loose hand which allowed the actors some freedom.

Overall: I wouldn’t suggest paying to see this in a theater, but it might be worth a watch if you’re up to watching men indulge obsessively.