I am ashamed to admit that I'm obsessed with "Me You Madness." It's a bad movie made by bad people, and I'd make everyone I know watch it if that weren't exactly what writer/director Louise Linton wanted. Watching people with more money than sense try to be clever can be funny; it's why Andy Cohen has a reality TV empire. But it's nearly impossible to truly enjoy a movie when it's clear that the biggest joke is the one being played by the creators by getting people to watch it.
Linton, a Scottish actress married to Trump Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, spent the last four years making herself infamous for tone-deaf photo ops and Instagram posts; before she married Mnuchin, she wrote a widely derided memoir about her gap year in Africa full of stereotypes and debunked stories of violent raids. She's not the first actress of questionable talent to get a film made through the clout of a billionaire husband — that's a tradition as old as the industry, after all. She is, though, definitely the first actress of questionable talent to be filmed telling tennis star Maria Sharapova to "eat it" after she knocks out her own lover with a tennis racket.
Linton clearly intended "Me You Madness" to be a distaff "American Psycho" — I mean, her character, hedge fund manager Catherine Black, says so in the first moments of the movie in what turns out to be one of many unnecessarily expository voice-overs. The plot, such as it is, follows Black as she kills and cooks people and seduces a small-time grifter played by Ed Westwick (who was accused of sexual assault by four women, which he denied; Los Angeles County prosecutors ultimately opted not to press charges in 2018).
It's all a 97-minute neon-pink paean to what "Real Housewives of New York" Countess Luann de Lesseps tried to tell us in her 2010 single: Money can't buy you class. You can pay for the rights to every song once featured in a beloved movie from the '80s or the '90s, but a Roxette needle-drop won't hide that even "Pretty Woman" had a more nuanced take on the corrosive power of capitalism on a person's soul. It's a movie that references dozens of better movies but strips away the meaning of the originals without even trying to make a point that hasn't been made before.
It's just not that fun to watch awful rich people be awful and rich right now.
Eventually, Black ends her story with a voice-over plea for more tolerance and unity and, for some reason, a public service announcement reminding people not to leave pets in hot cars. The film itself finishes with a montage set to "Tenderness" — the General Public song that closed out "Clueless" — which only highlights that "Me You Madness" is a movie made by people who don't have even a modicum of the empathy shown by the characters in the movie from which it swiped the song.
The whole event is a portrait of entitlement, narcissism and delusion — possibly even a mostly intentional one — but if it sends any message, it's that we desperately need a massive wealth tax.
Economic inequality has skyrocketed since the 2008 financial crash, and according to an analysis by Oxfam, 10 billionaires — just those 10 — have seen their collective wealth increase by $540 billion during the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of people are dying every day from Covid-19, and tens of millions are out of work or going hungry or risk losing their homes. If Linton had made and released her project during a time of genuine prosperity, it would have been mildly offensive but ultimately harmless. Putting it out now is a brazen move.
I'm sure she thought it was the height of wit to include "Republicans" in her character's list of the bad people she'd killed — enough to warrant an actual pause for audience laughter that will never come — but it's just not that fun to watch awful rich people be awful and rich right now.
It's all a 97-minute neon-pink paean to what "Real Housewives of New York" Countess Luann de Lesseps tried to tell us in her 2010 single.
As I watched "Me You Madness," it was hard not to think about the countless artists and creative people who never get opportunities to pursue their dreams because they lack resources and time. (It's not like there was a lot of plot to focus on.) The entertainment industry is full of racism, sexism and nepotism, and for every success story like those of Shonda Rhimes, Cord Jefferson, Steven Yeun or Chloé Zhao, there are thousands of female, Black and/or brown artists who have suffered disappointments and indignities in the industry whose dreams — and even genius — we'll never get to see.
But of course a wealthy white woman — with a supposedly posh British accent that anyone from the U.K. will find somewhat suspect — thinks the world needs to hear her voice right now. And even if it doesn't, she can pay for the time and the space.
If the point of "Me You Madness" was to prove that Louise Linton doesn't live in the same world as 99.99 percent of her fellow humans, she succeeded. If she was trying to make an argument that she deserves our attention going forward, she didn't. But there's no reasoning with people without shame, and there's no way to find common ground with someone who thinks consequences are for plebes. I'm not sorry I watched it, but I have officially found the limit to my ability to enjoy something out of irony.
It's a knockoff Louis Vuitton bag of a movie, an objectively ugly and poorly made attempt to claim status that hasn't been earned. It's a perfect artifact of the Trump era.