12 July 2012

Cocaine: One Man's Seduction

"We don't make love for a couple of days and you got me ready for the funny farm."
a made-for-tv movie from 1983
directed by Paul Wendkos
A cocaine melodrama about a suburban middle-class middle-aged real estate agent in his declining years who kicks his booze habit with some sweetass cocaine. James Spader is his teenaged son and Jeffrey Tambor is his friend who shares a coke history.
The coolest thing about this movie is it scissors reality into fantastically emotional and poignant melodramatic shapes. I think melodrama uses hyperreality to create an experience that by its intensity is meant to convey certain emotional realities, to "seek something in hyperbole which otherwise might not be reached," as Gass said. Sometimes when you see a movie about a situation it can be like, hard to feel what they feel, and I think melodramas search for ways to depict interior realities.
A funny personal story is I watched this movie thinking Karel Reisz had directed it, because I'd been considering watching a Reisz movie at the same time I was considering this movie. I probably would've even told someone Reisz directed this movie if I hadn't written this and gone to IMDb to fact check. Paul Wendkos directed this movie and apparently over a hundred other tv episodes and tv movies, along with what looks like a handful of theatrical releases. I feel like if they still made tv movies like this I might watch them. But it makes sense this was directed by a tv director, it felt like a tv movie if I'm being honest.
Boss: "Eddie, it's bleeding, your nose."
(Eddie wipes nose)
Boss: "I'm sure Eddie didn't realize --"
Eddie: "Hey! Don't tell me I didn't realize. It's infected. Anybody'll tell you that. Any doctor will tell you that. It could happen to anybody. (to clients) What the hell are you looking at?"
For a while Eddie feels like God in that way cocaine makes people feel like God, and I think the movie does a good job of capturing the Godlike feeling (i.e. there's a helicopter shot). At first it's increased energy and renewed belief in oneself etc., but of course it turns south, and when it goes south, it goes all the way south.
Eddie travels to his buddy's house for a promised prep-snort before a crucial business meeting (Eddie flushed his own ounce during a bathroom mishap!), but his buddy's lady relays news that the buddy was arrested and is jailbound and she asks Eddie to leave she wants to be alone but Eddie won't leave and Eddie charges into the place and becomes angry and physical and ransacks the place searching for cocaine oh buddy oh buddy.
Then, when he gets the cocaine (out of a trashcan -- p, thetic), shit hits the mother fucking fan. Eddie suffers a paranoid freakout that segues into a hospital-severe o.d.
This, understandably, shreds the souls of hotass young Spader and his movie mommy. In the end Eddie learns an easy lesson the hard way -- all you can do is accept that life gets a little crappier as you age and your family is stupid and you aren't the success you wanted to be.

I liked this movie, I can't tell if I'm making fun of it or not. I liked it. Nine thumbs up.

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