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While Paul is visiting his friend "Dick", Sean has sex with Lauren's roommate Lara at the "Dressed to Get Screwed" party. Sean regrets it immediately, and realizes that he is in love with Lauren. It is then revealed that another, unnamed cafeteria girl is the author of Sean's love letters; after seeing him leave the party with Lara, she sends him a suicide note before cutting her wrists in the dorm bathtub.

Sean, still believing Lauren wrote the purple letters, misinterprets the unnamed girl's suicide note and assumes Lauren never wants to be with him. Lauren decides to lose her virginity to her Art History professor Lance Lawson. But being married and worried about losing his tenure, he simply allows her to perform fellatio on him instead.

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Sean coldly rejects him, using Lauren's words to say that Paul will never know him. Paul throws a snowball at Sean, then angrily runs off in tears. Sean checks his campus mailbox in vain, only to find that the love notes have stopped. He is then cornered by Rupert and his Jamaican partner, Guest, and brutally beaten.

After seeing Lauren heading upstairs with the film student, Sean finally accepts he cannot be with her, and tears up the purple letters he believes to be from her. It is then revealed that, rather than having sex with the blonde girl as he does in the intro, Sean has an epiphany, reconsiders and he instead leaves his drink and exits.

Using a beta version of FCP 3, it demonstrated to the film industry that successful 3:2 pulldown matchback to 24fps could be achieved with an off-the-shelf product. Roger Avary, the film's director, became a spokesperson for FCP, appearing in print ads worldwide. Avary stated that his goal was to create "an arthouse film for teenagers".

He followed actor Kip Pardue around various countries with a handheld camera, filming him 24/7 with the actor remaining in character from the moment he stepped on the plane departing the US. Much of the source music and score is by the duo of Andy Milburn and Tom Hadju, collectively known as Tomandandy.

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Where Mary Harron re-invented American Psycho as an elegant comic horror film, Roger Avary, who wrote and directed The Rules of Attraction, dives headlong into the depravity roiling in the student body of the fictional Camden College. Where Ms. Harron shrewdly created a surreal, high-styled ambiance for Mr. Ellis's monstrous humanoids to rattle around in, Mr.

Though the film received a mixed critical reaction upon its release in 2002, it has since been referred to as a cult classic, and was covered by The A.V. Club for their "New Cult Canon" feature. In 2012, cited the film as one of the "50 Best Movies You've Never Seen".

The DVD was released on February 18, 2003, by Lions Gate Entertainment. The DVD includes trailers and an audio commentary by Carrot Top, despite having nothing to do with the making of the film. He often comments on the attractiveness of each actress, begs Eric Stoltz for work every time he is on screen, and even occasionally sings along with the songs in the film, all the while making a number of self-deprecating jokes.

The parents' guide to what's in this movie. Products & Purchases Not present Drinking, Drugs & Smoking.

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To figure out how we pick mates, scientists have measured every shape and angle of the human face, studied the symmetry of dancers, crafted formulas from the measurements of Playboy models, and had both men and women rank attractiveness based on smelling armpit sweat. After all this and more, the rules of attraction for the human species are still not clearly understood.

"If you choose a perfectly symmetrical partner and reproduce with them, your offspring will have a better chance of being symmetric and able to deal with perturbations."Thornhill has been studying symmetry for 15 years and scanned faces and bodies into computers to determine symmetry ratios. Both men and women rated symmetrical members of the opposite sex as more attractive and in better health than their less symmetrical counterparts.

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By questioning the study participants, Thornhill also found that men with higher degrees of symmetry enjoy more sexual partners than men of lower symmetry."Women's sex-partner numbers are dependent on things other than attractiveness," Thornhill told Live, Science. "Because of the way that the sexual system in humans works, women are choosey.

They have to be wooed and all that."Body shape is of course important, too. And scientists have some numbers to prove it. Psychologist Devendra Singh of the University of Texas studied people's waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). Women with a WHR of 0. 7—indicating a waist significantly narrower than the hips—are most desirable to men.

If a woman produces the proper amount and mixture of estrogen, then her WHR will naturally fall into the desired range. The same goes for a male's testosterone. People in the ideal hip-ratio range, regardless of weight, are less susceptible to disease such as cardiovascular disorders, cancer, and diabetes, studies have shown.

The structure of a person's face also gives insight to fertility. Estrogen caps bone growth in a woman's lower face and chin, making them relatively small and short, as well as the brow, allowing for her eyes to appear prominent, Thornhill explained. Men's faces are shaped by testosterone, which helps develop a larger lower face and jaw and a prominent brow.

Borrowing sweaty undershirts from a variety of men, Thornhill offered the shirts to the noses of women, asking for their impressions of the scents. Hands down, the women found the scent of a symmetrical man to be more attractive and desirable, especially if the woman was menstruating. By now you might be wondering how much of this we're consciously aware of.

In some cases, women in Thornhill's study reported not smelling anything on a shirt, yet still said they were attracted to it."We think the detection of these types of scent is way outside consciousness," Thornhill said. A 2002 study found women prefer the scent of men with genes somewhat similar to their own over the scent of nearly genetically identical or totally dissimilar men.

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Milos Novotny of the Institute of Pheromone Research at Indiana University has shown that special molecules produced by male mice can simultaneously attract females and repel, and even anger, rival males. Other studies have found similar responses throughout the animal kingdom. Yet many researchers are not sold on the idea that these odorless compounds play a role in human attraction.

In 2003, Zhang showed that a gene mutated 23 million years ago among primates in Africa and Asia that are considered to be human ancestors, allowing them to see color. This let the males notice that a female's bottom turned bright red when she was ready to mate."With the development of a sexual color scheme, you don't need the pheromone sensitivity to sense whether a female monkey is ready to mate," Zhang said.

"If these genes evolved to work in combination, then you don't want to break that up too much for your offspring. Finding a mate with similar genes will help you ensure this."If your spouse is genetically similar, you're more likely to have a happy marriage, for example. Child abuse rates are lower when similarity is high, and you'll also be more altruistic and willing to sacrifice more for someone who is more genetically like you, research shows.

These characteristics are highly visible and accessible to others and can play a role in initial attraction. When it comes to sticking together for the long haul, researchers have shown that likeness of personality, which can take more time to realize, means more. Comedy can also help a relationship. But the importance of humor is different for men and women, says Eric Bressler of Mc, Master University.

A man likes a woman who laughs at his jokes. Somewhere amid attraction and sex, we all hope, are strong feelings of love. But which of all the motivations really drives us? Interestingly, brain scans in people who'd recently fallen in love reveal more activity related to love than sex.

People who rated themselves favorably as long-term partners were more particular about the attributes of potential mates. After fidelity, the most important attributes were physical appearance, family commitment, and wealth and status."Good parenting, devotion, and sexual fidelity—that's what people say they're looking for in a long-term relationship," Emlen says.

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If you aren’t shocked and offended by The Rules of Attraction you might just be as emotionally unstable as the characters in the film.

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Avary uses many production tricks and a fluctuating timeline in order to convey the feeling of the Bret Easton Ellis novel on which the movie is based. The technique works, especially the fastforward view of Victor's trip, but the characters are so unlikable that none of them deserves to get what they want.

The Rules of Attraction is one of those stories that makes you feel slightly uneasy while reading it. It had the feel of both A Clockwork Orange and Trainspotting in the sense that it is so over the top and risqué. The Rules of Attraction is unlike anything that I have ever read before.

I came across The Rules of Attraction at a local thrift shop and I recognized the authors name which helped in my decision to pick it up. The Rules of Attraction tells the intersecting stories of three prominent characters (Sean Bateman, Lauren Hyde & Paul Denton) as they experience their college years in the 1980’s.

Every now and then, a minor character tells their story from their perspective through their own little mini vignette. It is definitely no secret that the 80’s were a wild decade, but holy shit does this story ever make that time period sound completely over the top and insane. I have always been slightly disappointed that I didn’t get to experience the 80’s, mainly because the music during that decade contains some of my favourite songs and artists of all time.

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I loved the idea of hearing the different character’s perspectives, especially when they were describing the same scenes. Rather than have the exact same scene play out repeatedly, each character is so fucked up on either drugs, alcohol or something in between, that their stories are all completely different. For example, when Sean believes that Lauren is in love with him, only to jump to her perspective to find out she just likes to have him around to keep her company while waiting for her “boyfriend” to return from Europe.

No two people are going to have the exact same interpretation of a moment. Everyone experiences things differently. I’m still unsure if the relationship between Paul and Sean ever even happened. Not knowing the definite outcome is something that might drive some readers nuts. Hell, it usually drives me nuts, but for whatever reason, it worked perfectly within this story.

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While a lot of their drug and relationship habits were similar, each character had their own individual voice. I can’t say that I particularly enjoyed Lauren’s moments. I found her a little annoying and not that interesting. There was just something about her that I wasn’t very fond of. I felt a little indifferent when it came to Sean.

Paul however, was my absolute favourite. He felt real and relatable. While he seemed the most sane out of the three main characters, I think it may be possible that he was the most insane. Like I mentioned earlier, I still can’t tell if his relationship with Sean ever even really happened.

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When I first opened my copy of The Rules of Attraction, I thought I was missing a page as the first opening paragraph starts mid-sentence. Once I reached the end of the novel, the same things happens again except it ended mid-sentence. Once again, this is something that might piss off a lot of readers, but I found it to be quite memorable and unique.

We jumped in and we jumped out, just like that. I did enjoy The Rules of Attraction for the most part. It was definitely unlike anything I have ever read before. I enjoyed the quick and fast-paced nature of the writing. I’m really eager to read my copy of American Psycho as soon as possible.

If you are looking for something slightly fucked up and over the top, I would say that The Rules of Attraction is definitely for you.

Resigned or too drunk to care, Lauren shuts her eyes--whereupon the stranger vomits all over her face. That’s repulsive, but what makes it noteworthy is that in the book the guy doesn’t throw up on the girl--he uses a wastebasket. There’s something to be learned from what’s been added to an adaptation, which can be as instructive as the stuff that’s been omitted.

Rewinding the action so that people and beer flow in reverse, he shows Lauren and the film student walking backward out of the bedroom and into the party, at which point the story picks up with another character, who announces that his “life lacks forward momentum.” It isn’t the only thing in the movie that does.

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Both the novel and film of “The Rules of Attraction” are stitched together from competing interior monologues steeped in narcissism and the sort of self-conscious anomie on which a thousand and one teen stories have burned bright. The book is set during the mid-1980s, a fertile period for Ellis’ brand-name lampooning.

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The principal problem for Avary is that in contrast to Ellis, a writer whose slippery point of view tends to send up the characters he enshrines (intentionally or not), the director doesn’t have the gift of speaking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time. However many crude jokes he cracks, Avary takes these kids seriously.

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This tale of privileged college students at their self- absorbed and childish worst is the very book that countless students have dreamed of writing at their most self-absorbed and childish moments. With one bestseller to his credit, Less Than Zero author and recent Bennington College graduate Ellis has had the unique opportunity of seeing his dream become a realityand all those other once-and-future students can breathe a sigh of relief that it didn't happen to them.

Theirs is a world of physical, chemical and emotional excessan adolescent fantasy of sex, drugs and sturm und drangwherein characters are distinguished only by the respective means by which they squander their health, wealth and youth. Despite its contemporary feel and flashy structurethe book begins and ends midsentencethe narrative relies on the stalest staples of melodrama and manages to pack in a suicide, assorted suicide attempts, an abortion and the death of a parent without giving the impression that anything is happeningor that any of it matters.

Undeserved, because on the surface, the behavior of even the movie’s more sensitive characters is immature and shallow; that is to say, the movie reflects accurately the lives of students through the ages. Ellis’ novel, told in the first-person from multiple viewpoints, is not especially long, but the movie streamlines and tightens its loose plot and narrows down its cast of characters.

Lauren has been saving her virginity for a character we see across the room, Victor (Kip Pardue), but ends up going to a friend’s room with the next best thing, an NYC film student. But she passes out, and when she wakes, she is being raped (not that she refers to it as such) by a stranger as the student films them both.

Lauren’s voiceover tells us, depressingly, that “I always knew it was going to be like this.” The film rewinds and we find that, at the same time, Paul is not faring much better. After wistfully staring at Sean Bateman across the room, he picks up a jock, who then proceeds to violently throw him out of his room when he makes a move on him.

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Telling us he’s an “emotional vampire who feeds off of other people’s real emotions,” Bateman looks around predatorily for a girl to take to his room, which he does, but finds himself disconnecting from the situation even as they begin to have sex, as it turns out, a symptom of a wider disconnection from everything in his life.

After a beautifully John Hughes-like opening montage of student life soundtracked by the Cure’s “Six Different Ways,” the story of Lauren, Paul and Sean gets underway. As things move along, we discover that Sean and Lauren have a certain rapport that Sean essentially destroys through his insensitivity and opportunism, at the same time as he falls in love with her.

She refers to Victor throughout the movie as her boyfriend and frets about being unfaithful to him while he’s away in Europe, but when he finally returns it turns out that he doesn’t even remember who she is. This story is mirrored, in a way even more excruciatingly, by the one-sided relationship between Paul and Sean, as the viewer can clearly see that what Paul thinks is the reciprocation of his feelings is partly a misunderstanding but mostly just fairly benign indifference from Bateman who is, above all self-absorbed and worried about his ever-growing debt to the serious drug dealer that he works for.

Call it an occupational hazard. As a film reviewer, I have to see movies that make me uncomfortable. Others are downright offensive. But on rare occasions there’s a picture so vile that it leaves me feeling, at my very core, severely cheapened for having seen it. The Rules of Attraction is such a movie.

I was in college just a couple of years before this time period, but to say my college experience was nothing like this is a big understatement. Actress of that era Shannyn Sossamon played Lauren, who was in love with Victor (Kip Pardue), a guy studying abroad on a traveling bacchanal that puts the on-campus parties to shame.

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The Rules of Attraction is streaming in several places for free, including Tubi, Amazon Freevee, and Vudu.

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There’s also clever uses of split screen, multi perspectives conveyed through remarkable editing and a top of the line soundtrack (Erasure and Love and Rockets in the same movie!). Avery’s film is aggressively off putting but made with true bravado and De Palma-esque innovation. The opening rape scene is presumably meant to be darkly comic (note the line about being disappointed her attacker is a townie), but the frankness of the sequence, in its staging and onscreen commentary, makes this impossible.

This all occurs in exactly the first 15 minutes, before the title has appeared. By this point, you’re already numb to the depravity and ready to bolt or wondering if the traces of wit and visual showmanship indicate that it will get better. It lightens ups after the opener, though it always has a raw, vicious moment waiting around the corner.

I guess you could call it a cult film, though good luck trying to convert anyone giving it a first watch. It bears interesting connections to other Ellis adaptations – Van Der Beek notes that he pretends to be a vampire, an actual subplot that was once in the Ellis adaptation of “The Informers” (2008), featuring Brandon Routh as a bloodsucker.

There’s also a shocking twist, in which the detachment, misheard cues, blocked connections and ignorance on display comes to a rotten halt when we witness a neglected student (by Sean and us) commit suicide. We observe a tragedy only one person seems to notice or acknowledge in the coming days.

Are we meeting these central characters during the worst patch of their lives? After all, if Biel’s coke head will eventually (presumably) get her act together and, as the narration informs us, be a politician’s wife, don’t they all have redemption and reinvention coming? Maybe, but also maybe not. In the final scene, the two most sympathetic survivors of the onslaught of physical and emotional abuse find a kind of solace in one another.

The closing scene seems to pull it all together, since it’s actually the first scene, reversed for us to now gain perspective on a truly rotten semester in an environment of unchecked depravity. Film students will and should take notice. As for college freshmen, if you can stomach it, here’s 100-minutes of everything you want to avoid during your first year…and every year after that.

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The Rules of Attraction is a poignant, hilarious take on the death of romance. (From the publisher.) .

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Besides that, I had recently seen the movie adaptation of (which, like this movie, is an adaptation of a novel by Bret Easton Ellis), and I found it reasonably enjoyable overall. With all these things in mind, I wanted to like . However, I'm afraid my reaction was almost entirely at the opposite extreme.

Where do I even start? This movie, unlike the book, was not set in the 1980's, opting for present-day instead. That was a mistake for several reasons: Ellis' book had the story taking place in the 1980's. One of this movie's main characters, Sean Bateman, is the brother of Patrick Bateman from , which was set in the 1980's.

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It was a different time and culture in the 1980's. People's views, practices and motivations were not the same as they are today. Take , for example. That movie is just as much about the 1980's as it is about Patrick Bateman. The political and social aspects of that decade are part of the essence of that movie.

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Is your head hurting yet? Welcome to my hell... So now there are all kinds of questions to be answered; the problem is that the audience isn't compelled to care about the answers to any of them. Will Sean be able to deal his drugs in peace without being hurt or killed by Rupert? Will Lauren end up losing her virginity? If she does, will the experience be what she hoped? Will Lara end up sleeping with every guy on campus by the end of the movie? Will Sean realize that Paul's interactions with him are more than just friendly? And if he does, what will he do about it? Will Sean find out who his secret admirer is? And if he does, will it be the person he hoped it would be — or at least the right gender? Among this movie's many weaknesses, the biggest one is that it has no likable characters.

The main character in that movie was extremely vapid and shallow, but I found it reasonably enjoyable. And how about , which featured hitmen and thugs as its main characters? That's a great movie; I still enjoy watching it. And can you think of a better example than for main characters who act like idiots? But I thought that movie was hilarious.

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Multiple characters attempt suicide. A teacher offers a female student a better grade in return for sexual favors. A character is raped. On their own, each of the above items might qualify as an integral element of a more fleshed-out story, but in the context of general college life, they all seem like they're only there to add to the shock value.

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In anticipation of the death threats and "you're a moron" posts that sometimes follow my negative reviews, I'll try to head some of your concerns off at the pass. I have seen Roger Avary's previous writing/directing effort, 1994's . I thought it was OK, nothing great. It had a gritty-action feel to it, but lacked the necessary wit and depth to be truly enjoyable.

But in the case of , almost everything was wrong. The story, the setting, the pacing, the character development... just about everything hit a sour note for me. I don't think the film was bad for lack of technical competence; Roger Avary and the majority of the cast (especially Sossamon and Collins) have done great work in other productions.

I don't really need to pretend, because it's who I am, an emotional vampire. I've just come to expect it. Vampires are real. That I was born this way. That I feed off of other people's real emotions. Search for this night's prey. Who will it be? [voiceover, after getting high] I need to get some more pot.

Then I need to get laid. Where the fuck was Lauren tonight? That Lara girl was kind of hot. I could bang her and feel good about it. But I'd rather have Lauren. I wonder why? It would just ruin my illusion of her purity. Whoa, is that really what I want? [pause] I need to get laid.

I wonder if Lauren goes wild during sex. I wonder if she comes easily. Or at all. I won't go to a bed with a girl who doesn't. If I can't make a girl come, then why bother? It's like asking questions in a letter. Hm, I'm hungry. Since when does fucking somebody else mean that I'm not faithful to you? I only had sex with her because I'm in love with you.

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You're mine now. For the rest of the day, week, month, year, life. Have you guessed who I am? Sometimes I think you have. Sometimes when you're standing in a crowd I feel those sultry, dark eyes of yours stop on me. Are you too afraid to come up to me and let me know how you feel? I want to moan and writhe with you and I want to go up to you and kiss your mouth and pull you to me and say "I love you I love you I love you" while stripping.

I want to kill the ugly girls that you're always with. Do you really like those boring, naive, coy, calculating girls or is it just for sex? The seeds of love have taken hold, and if we won't burn together, I'll burn alone. [last line] I didn't know where I was going, some place unoccupied I hoped, at first I thought there were things about her I would never forget, But in the end all I could think about was-...

He delicately fingered what looked like dried moss to me, and it struck me then that I liked Sean because he looked, well, slutty. A boy who'd been around. A boy who couldn't remember if he was Catholic or not. [voiceover] Three months later, the handsome dunce was having an affair with a friend of mine.

Lara: Whatever, I don't care, I don't major in math. Mimi: I leave you alone for five minutes, and you're drinking. Dick: Drunk. I'm drunk. Donald: Need I remind you we have somebody OD-ing back here? Paul: He's not OD-ing. He's a freshman. Freshmen don't OD. Lance: Can I interest you in a turn-on? Lauren: Um...

Lance: Well... don't mind if I do. Lauren: Are-are we gonna do it on the couch or... Lance: Do what? Lauren: You know, "it"... Lance: What? Fuck...? Oh, are you mad? I'm a married man. And I would lose my tenure... Lauren: But... aren't you coming onto me? Lance: Well...

Note to self: Never 'shroom again. It only gets you into trouble. Sean: Lauren wait, Lauren... Hey, hey Lauren! Lauren: Oh my God! Sean: Can we talk? Lauren: NO! Sean: Lauren don't walk away. HEY! I really did try to kill myself... just before I faked it. Lauren: Wow Sean, it's over.

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I'm in love with somebody else. Sean: Who? Lauren: My old boyfriend Victor. Plus it's none of your fucking business. Sean: Victor? Lauren: Yeah. Sean: What, then why the fuck did you write me those letters? Lauren: Wow. Deal with it Sean it's over, Rock and Roll. Sean: Lauren I want to know you.

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Mitchell: Are you fucking crazy? Sean: Define crazy. Sean: No one ever ever knows anyone. You're not ever gonna know me. Paul: What the hell does that mean? Sean: It means, Paul, you're not ever gonna know me. Deal with it. Figure it out. Paul: Fuck you, Bateman! Fuck you Bateman! We all run on instinct.

Once you get past all of the wild camera tricks and visual gimmickry, you arrive at the core of The Rules of Attraction and find out that it's really about something other than replicating the party life at a New England college. Working from his own screenplay, which has its roots in the Bret Easton Ellis novel, writer/director Roger Avary (best known for co-penning , and for helming ) spins a yarn about the pain of unrequited love that is at times darkly funny and at other times depressingly tragic.

It is possible to consider The Rules of Attraction to be an anti-romantic comedy. The Hollywood convention is that, whenever a boy meets a girl, love will follow as quickly as the clichés allow. In real life, sex and romance are less perfect, and, in not giving in to the "love conquers all" mentality, Avary's film uncovers an important truth about male/female relationships – that attraction isn't always mutual, and, even when it is, happily-ever-after is frequently not the result.

The movie's approach might make viewers think of as straightforward. The Rules of Attraction begins at the end, then, after moving forward a little, backs up (literally going backwards), then re-starts, following the actions of a different character. After another iteration, we have the opening credits, where time is going in accelerated reverse, until we're months in the past, and we get to see how the characters arrived at the point where we first came in on them.

(In keeping with his penchant for moving in reverse, Avary presents the end credits in that fashion, starting with all the disclaimers at the end and having the titles roll from the top to the bottom, rather than the other way around.) James Van Der Beek plays Sean Bateman, a student at Camden College who spends most of his time dealing drugs and sleeping with women.

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From a visual standpoint, The Rules of Attraction is a busy motion picture. The film is filled with flash edits, scenes played backward, and split screens. At times it works (such as the split-screen sequence in which Sean and Lauren approach one another), but, on other occasions, it's too much.

There are times when he wants us to laugh at them, and we do. But we don't always feel good about doing it. The Rules of Attraction is not mainstream fare, but it is quirky and interesting, and worth a look for those who don't mind movies where you end up despising just about everyone who has a speaking part.

I was flipping through what was available to watch on cable one day. I rarely go there unless there is a television show involved. There were no good horror movies on, and I was hoping there would be, but then I came across one called “The Rules of Attraction.” Based on the novel of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis, it was written for the screen and directed by Roger Avary, the same filmmaker who directed a kick ass heist movie named “Killing Zoe.” While this one is not quite as good as “Killing Zoe,” it has a number of memorable moments and takes a lot of risks which many films don’t often bother to.

While I want to despise these characters for what they do to others and themselves, both Ellis and Avery show their inescapable humanity and consciousness which lies not all that far beneath the surface, and each of them desperately wants to open themselves up to another they cannot stop thinking about.

Then again, who wants to? I do, however, have to be honest and say Fred Savage, who plays a junkie named Marc, feels a bit out of place here. Please don’t get me wrong; he has a great cameo here, but the image of him as Kevin Arnold from “The Wonder Years” is impossible to wipe from my conscious mind.

Van Der Beek was very believable in this role to me, and there was nothing of Dawson to be found throughout. Looking back, I bet he was just dying to play a character like this so he could shatter the image which could have forever defined him to millions. I imagine this was the same case with Jessica Biel of “7th Heaven” fame.

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Biel plays Lara Holleran, roommate to Lauren Hynde (Shannyn Sossaman) whom shares a lot of experiences with, including snorting cocaine until their noses bleed (“rusty pipes!”). Lara comes off as the most shamelessly selfish character in this film as she manipulates both the men and women around her to get what she wants.

And then there is also Paul Denton, played by Ian Somerhalder, a gay man more concerned about a date he has, or thinks he does, with Sean to where a gay friend overdosing on drugs is more of annoyance than a genuine concern for him. Paul thinks he knows how Sean feels about him, and he cannot get him out of his mind.

When it comes down to it, “The Rules of Attraction” is essentially a love triangle of obsession as we watch several characters desperately pine for another, and yet the one they are pinning is instead more interested in someone else. In an atmosphere filled with shallow pursuits, all of them want something purer, more honest and real than why they have already been given, and there is something about this which I cannot help but relate to.

In the end, they may have to reevaluate where they are in their lives where they can go from here. If this film proves anything the most strongly, it is this: Unrequited love is a bitch! When you are young, those painful emotions can feel far too epic. Avary hides no taboos here as there are drugs, drinking, sex, date rape, suicide, attempted suicide, etc.

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One moment has him bringing the split screens for Sean Bateman and Lauren Hynde together, and it is brilliantly seamless to where I would love to know how the filmmakers accomplished it. I also have to say “The Rules of Attraction” contains one of the most emotionally devastating suicide scenes I have ever witnessed in a motion picture.

Seriously, it proves to be as scaring a scene as watching that horse drown in “The Neverending Story.” The one thing Avary ends up overdoing here is the time reversal effect. He rewinds the film at given moments to get to another point or character in the same setting, and these moments end up going on for too long.

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But if you have the stomach for it and are into the black comedy, you cannot avoid or easily dismiss this particular motion picture. It’s interesting to watch this movie after having watched “The Sopranos” series finale. Like that last episode, this movie comes to an abrupt stop. We will never know what happens to these characters when, and if, they ever leave college.

The writer-director is Roger Avary, who directed "Killing Zoe" and co-authored Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction." (Whether he cast James Van Der Beek as his lead because he looks more like Tarantino than any other working actor, I cannot guess.) In all of his work, Avary is fond of free movement up and down the timeline, and here he uses an ingenious approach to tell the stories of three main characters who are involved in, I dunno, five or six pairings.

The parties are a lapse of credibility. I cannot believe, for example, that large numbers of co-eds would engage in topless lesbian breastplay at a campus event, except in the inflamed imaginations of horny undergraduates. But assuming that they would: Is it plausible that the horny undergraduates wouldn't even look at them? Are today's undergraduate men so (choose one) blase, Politically Correct or emasculated that, surrounded by the enthusiastic foreplay of countless half-naked women, they would blandly carry on their conversations? This is not to imply that "The Rules of Attraction" is in any sense a campus sex-romp comedy.

has cultivated a prolific writing career out of avoiding the better aspects of human beings. Leaning into the more flawed nature of individuals and society at large with a collection of novels, including his seminal work, , the author has long been unafraid to shine a light on the aspects of ourselves we'd rather not acknowledge.

With his second novel, 1987's , he focused his gaze on the fictional Camden College and a collection of characters who, to put it lightly, engage in morally questionable behavior. They display levels of selfishness, cynicism, and apathy that could rival any literary depiction of young adults and the university experience.

The narrative then moves back in time, literally, with a surreal opening credit sequence that concludes at the beginning of the fall semester. It's an unorthodox introduction to the film, but a fitting aesthetic establishment that lets viewers know they're in for a different kind of approach to seemingly familiar material.

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He once again makes use of a creative device that is seldom seen and contributes to the film's overall atypical approach to cinematic formula. Another use of split-screen photography sees Paul and Sean hanging out in a dorm room, with the former imagining an intimate encounter with the latter in one half of the screen.

Lauren also finds herself consistently on the downside of fortune. Sean makes a habit of tormenting her by faking a suicide attempt and sleeping with her roommate, and Victor, the ex-boyfriend she spends the entire film obsessing over, can't even remember who she is by the time they finally cross paths once again.

Boy doesn't end up with girl, girl doesn't end up with boy, and boy doesn't end up with boy. Sean, Lauren, and Paul arrive at the end-of-the-world party as though it is, in fact, the end of the world. Unrequited love has befallen each of them and a cold, sinking feeling falls over Camden College.

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Instead, it defiantly opts for a vision of higher learning that is deeply rooted in the all-too-relatable and deeply uncomfortable side of youthful angst. It's safe to assume, however, that even though the film is far from comfortable viewing, audiences can't help but see a glimmer of themselves in reflecting on their own experiences of navigating lust and obsession.

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