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Film / I Shot Andy Warhol

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I Shot Andy Warhol is a 1996 drama and crime film directed by Mary Harron and drawn from Real Life events.

Valerie Solanas (Lili Taylor) is a would-be writer and activist who works as a prostitute, mostly servicing men even though she genuinely hates them. She submits a play entitled Up Your Ass to artist and entrepeneur Andy Warhol (Jared Harris). Warhol and his "factory" can't use the play and don't immediately return it either. Solanas stews over the perceived slight, indulging in conspiracy theories where she's the victim. Part of this is her scapegoating Warhol for a bad contract she's signed with another publisher. As per the title, her actions in response are drastic.

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The cast beyond Taylor and Harris includes Jill Hennessy as reporter Laura, Martha Plimpton as Valerie's sometime girlfriend, and Stephen Dorff as legendary drag queen and Warhol Superstar Candy Darling.

Tropes

  • Captain Ersatz: Yo La Tengo stand in for an unnamed band intended to represent The Velvet Underground. The Velvet Underground declined to license their music for this film, worried that it would lionize Valerie Solanas and her actions.
  • Freudian Excuse: Valerie Solanas's background of child sexual abuse is mentioned, and viewers can infer that she was also mentally ill on top of that.
  • The Grovel: Paul Morrisey falls down and pleads for his life after Valerie goes on her shooting spree. In other contexts he could look like a Dirty Coward, but the film is a realistic account of true events and he truly has no other chance to survive.
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  • Intentionally Awkward Title: "Up Your Ass" as an In-Universe example. If produced it couldn't be advertised in a newspaper of the time with that title.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Shooting Andy is this for Valerie Solanas. Previous to that event she's got kooky ideas but they and she could be seen as harmless.
  • Mathematician's Answer: Warhol does this repeatedly to a journalist asking why he stopped painting and started making films. Every answer is yes/no even though the questions implicitly aren't.
  • Properly Paranoid: Warhol is at least depicted as justifiably paranoid after the shooting, always on edge when out and wary of strangers.
  • Villain Protagonist: While she's depicted sympathetically, there's no getting around the fact that Valerie Solanas is a psychopath who only misses being a murderer because she's not a very good shot.
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