movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] [Wikipedia link]

HAIKU REVIEW: 80’s cocaine use:
Gloriously excessive.
Drugs are bad, Mmm’kay?

PEOPLE: Andrew McCarthy (Heaven Help Us, The Spiderwick Chronicles), Jami Gertz (Jersey Girl, Sixteen Candles), Robert Downey Jr. (in his most depressing and depraved role ever?), James Spader (Secretary, Stargate, Wolf, Sex, Lies, & Videotape, Pretty In Pink). Also, keep an eye out for Flea and Anthoniy Kiedes (not that I noticed them).

QUIRKS: Based on a Bret Easton Ellis novel, just like Rules Of Attraction and American Psycho. This is my least favorite of those 3. Ellis may write a sequel in 2010 focusing on these characters in their now-middle age. This will be made into a 2012 movie: Imperial Bedrooms.

Major drug use. Major parties. Major 1980’s fashion.

VISUALS: The last time I saw those many TVs on the screen at once was when I watched Max Headroom. And man, what’s with the 1980’s having such definable hair and fashion? I can’t really think of what the 1990’s look like. It’s like we lost our identity. Jami Gertz is really hot, but… she’s not the greatest actress.

SOUNDTRACK: An amazing soundtrack, far superior to most movies. The Bangles excellent cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s Hazy Shade Of Winter — which I like way better than the original. Slayer‘s cover of In-A-Gadda-Da-Visa, which I’d not realized came from this movie. Poison’s “Rock & Roll All Night”, which I recognized much faster due to its inclusion in Guitar Hero. Glenn Danzig and Roy Orbison collaborating, resulting in just about the only Roy Orbison song I’ve ever liked, “Life Fades Away”. Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire”, which I like almost as much as Red Hot Chili Peppers cover of it. Joan Jett, Aerosmith, Public Enemy, Run-D.M.C., The Cult, The Doors, Red Hot Chili Peppers, David Lee Roth.

MORALS: Drugs are bad, Mmm’kay? Don’t do drugs. They’re bad. Mmm’kay?

BAD STUFF: DEPRESSING. And the ending major-depressing-event? It just seems to kind of happen randomly. [highlight for spoilers] After all the drugs Downey does, and staying up all night vomiting and OD’ing — he just drops dead while sleeping in a car? It doesn’t quite seem to make sense. It felt forced.

But the main bad thing is — this movie just isn’t fun. It’s a depressing movie about addiction. At least Requiem For A Dream had its fun and intense moments… This movie pretty much focuses only on the depression, and not at all on the psychedelic intensity of drug use. It makes it feel more like they’re trying to force-feed you a lesson, rather than letting you learn the lesson yourself (like with Requiem For A Dream, which is one of my favorite movies of all time, and which I rate 5 stars vs the 3 stars for this movie).

CONCLUSION: A solid “drug movie”, and a solid “1980’s cocaine movie”. One of Robert Downey Jr.’s most riveting, depraved, and depressing performances. But unfortunately just a bit too depressing and preachy for me.

RATINGS: It gets 7/10 on IMDB for being beautifully depressing… But I could only stand to give it 3/5 stars on Netflix. It’s just too, too depressing, and it seems to just be a repeat of the same old lesson — do too many drugs, and your life can turn to shit.

RECOMMENDATION: I’d still recommend seeing this movie. It’s beautiful. Just… so depressing!

SIMILAR MOVIES: Wasted (2006) was similar — but had more characters and subplots.

MOVIE QUOTE: Julian: I mean, come on. Can’t you tell when I’m telling the truth?
Benjamin Wells: No. Trust was the first thing you ruined.

COINCIDENCES: (Heaven Help Us, Less Than Zero) 2 Andrew McCarthy movies within a few movies of each other.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Chris/Lisa, and Christian D loved it. Tatiana & Wayne really liked it. Benj liked it.

Mood: hurty
Music: KMFDM – Godlike