Monday, May 11, 2009

Drugstore Cowboy

Gus Van Sant, 1989 (9.8*)
[Our 400th review - I was saving a great one]

This is just about the perfect anti-drug film. Matt Dillon, really in his element here as a disaffected youth without any goal in life other than getting high, leads a small group of junkie friends, including girlfriend Kelly Lynch in her best role, in robbing pharmacies in order to get the drugs. They use a number of ruses to pull some robberies, and they’ll take anything within reach, then later swap the stuff they don’t want with other drug users in their network.

This is a sordid and grisly story, but is somehow made hypnotic (the perfect cast helped a lot) by director Gus Van Sant (My Own Private Idaho, Good Will Hunting), in his masterpiece, adapted from an unpublished manuscript that he bought from a convict in prison which recounts his life on the outside as a habitual drug user. This also has some funny dialogue revolving around the everyday delusions and phobias of the characters, such as Dillon’s paranoia about a hat on the bed, his ultimate harbinger of bad tidings. This has the look of a small indie film, yet sends a more powerful jolt than big budget projects. Along with Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream (2000), the best films about drug abuse ever made.

Quote: Didn’t I always tell ya, never put a hat on the bed?

3 comments:

Shubhajit May 13, 2009 at 6:43 PM  

Congrats for your 400th review - wow, thats a big number!

Drugstore Cowboy is indeed a terrific movie - it sucks you in and never lets you out. Dillon is especially superb as the junkie trying to go straight for once. As for great drug/anti-drug movies, one mustn't forget Trainspotting - though it was poles apart from Drugstore & Requiem.

Marcia Bell, MPA:HA May 13, 2009 at 9:41 PM  

This film was made in my town, Portland, Oregon by local, Gus Van Sant. Funny to recognize so many places... Very realistic and very well acted by all.One of my favorites, a classic, too.

Jose Sinclair May 13, 2009 at 9:58 PM  

yep, this is one of my faves.. knocked me out when first released. Still watch it from time to time..
I'm familiar with Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula, but the furthest north I ever stayed in OR was Salem, there 3 wks on a job once.. beautiful state! my fave if money was no object, down around Coos Bay maybe, the sparse coastline, perfect for an artist-writer such as my "own bad self".

I envy you, Oregon looked like the south but without the hillbillies!
(I guess I'm one now! but no 'shine still - not yet anyway! I have friends whose grandads bought their land with moonshine, and its still in the family 100 yrs later!! too funny..)

later - Jose

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.



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