HUB Movie Review: Dallas Buyers Club

Story posted February 5, 2014 in CommRadio by Sofia Westin

Get ready to see Matthew McConaughey, who for once is not incredibly tan or muscular. Rather, he’s quite pale and skinny (it’s as if he went through the Hunger Games) and has a walrus mustache. However, he is still just as arrogant as his previous characters. I present to you (and so does the HUB): Dallas Buyers Club.

Dallas Buyers Club is inspired by true events. It follows the life of Ron Woodroof (McConaughey), a Dallas man who in 1985 was diagnosed with AIDS and given thirty days to live. Ron, who lives life to the fullest through his bull riding, gambling, drug addictions and women loving (don’t worry, he has a job, too), refuses this fate for himself. He travels to Mexico to find an FDA un-approved (you don’t hear that everyday) medicine. These drugs help his symptoms drastically. He buys the drugs in boatloads and brings them back to the US to sell on the street. 

Through his struggles, he meets a transgender man named Rayon (Jared Leto). Together, they set up a “buyers club”, where AIDS patients pay a monthly fee to get the drugs. Through the club’s popularity, Ron, who was homophobic at first, eventually begins to respect Rayon, and they become close friends. *Sniffle*

However, the feds hear of Ron and Rayon’s workings and head over to the club. They threaten to arrest Ron for possessing illegal drugs. Ron’s counterargument: they are not illegal, just unapproved. From there, the battle of the drug begins.

The movie covers a very important question: morality or law? Do you choose the morality to help people who are dying through illegal means? Or do you choose to stay within the law, consequently letting people die?

This movie also works to show what was happening during what seemed to be the “AIDS epidemic”. Few knew what AIDS was or how to treat it. The movie tackles this issue, as Ron tries the only FDA approved drug against AIDS, which almost kills him. This only proves how little was known about treating the disease.

Many have praised this movie. It has been nominated for six Academy Awards, won two Golden Globes for best actor and best supporting actor, and won another 40 awards in various categories. Needless to say, this movie is kind of a big deal (I’m still saying it though).

Top critics on RottenTomatoes gave it 100%, as fresh as it gets; the general audience gave it an 8; and Metacritic gave it a combined score of 84.

On the Penn State Scale...
1—when Penn State loses a game,
2—an 8 a.m class (which are awful),
3—a canceled 8 a.m class,
4— free textbooks,
and 5—free Creamery ice cream for a whole year,

Dallas gets a 4.6. It really is quite something- including stellar performances from McConaughey and Leto, who both go through unbelievable transformations. It is heart-warming and sad; yet, quite hopeful. Throughout the film we see how some AIDS patients find an alternative to prolong their lives and not live on borrowed time.

The film is followed by a discussion held by Michael Burroughs, Assistant Director of the Rock Ethics Institute. What the discussion is, I do not know. I just cover movies.

Check out the trailer:

*This movie will be showing at 7 p.m. on Thursday instead of the regular 10 p.m. showing time.

Sofia Westin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email