Thursday, November 10, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks-Movies about Addiction


I'm Baaack! At first, I was at a mental mind-block with this week's theme, not very hard for me to be in these days, but once I started thinking, which means googled, I realized how many films I actually have seen. Hell, I could have picked 3 films just starring Susan Hayward but I didn't choose any of hers this week. Head on over to Wandering Through the Shelves, to see what the other film goers have chosen. Here are my 3...

1. BIGGER THAN LIFE-1956


I saw this film only 5 years ago and thought it was brilliant! It was written, co-produced and stars James Mason (one of my favourite actors) as a teacher with a debilitating, painful disease affecting the arteries. His loving wife and son only want their husband /dad to be well. The doctor puts him on the new wonder drug, cortisone. At first, he feels a million times better and is happy but then he becomes more in need of this drug and slowly descends into addiction resulting in a psychotic meltdown. It is a brilliant small film that was panned upon its initial release but since then, has received much acclaim. A more true story about the typical American family of the 1950's than many.

2. DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES-1962


This is one of the first films to show the dramatic acting chops of Jack Lemmon who was normally in more comedic roles. he plays a young P.R. exec who marries a beautiful woman and starts life in the big city. He was always a social drinker and introduces his wife to the scene. As we watch his life become better and they have a child, you also see his descent into alcoholism with his wife right behind him. It is a searing look into the descent of this disease and how one finds the way out of it while another doesn't.

3. FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS-1998


Oh this is one f-ed up drug trip to end all drug trips. It has to be seen to be believed and it is directed by that mad cap Monty Pythoner, Terry Gilliam whom I love. It stars Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro as 2 drug addled nuts who drink, snort, shoot up, swallow anything illegal they can get their hands on. When I saw it on the big screen with my ex and a dear friend of mine, the carousel scene made both of them nauseous and they had to close their eyes because they felt drugged-hahahaaa. Johnny Depp's Duke character sees all sorts of nutty things from bats, moray eels to lizards. I consider it an acting tour de force from Depp. This film may not be for everyone but I enjoyed it. By the way, he is playing a character based on the real life Hunter S Thompson who actually lived to be 68! Despite all the drugs and mayhem, it wasn't the drugs that killed him-he took his own life and had his ashes shot out of a cannon.

What films come to you? Have you ever been "naughty"...I hope so:) I have a year I can't quite remember-one of the best years of my life:)...No worries as that was my fun 20's and one hopes to grow out of that stage....

58 comments:

  1. You're right about that last one. Messed up.
    I'm going with the Sandra Bullock film 28 Days. Both sweet and bittersweet, it at least had a feel-good ending.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Days of Wine and Roses is a fantastic film. As you say it's amazing that Jack Lemmon, better known for comedies, and Blake Edwards, were able to make this masterpiece of drama. And yes, Lee Remick was also wonderful here - such a real and heartbreaking tale of falling down the rabbit hole.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a really such a good film even if it is a bit depressing and Lemmon is brilliant

      Delete
  3. Haven't seen these, but most of us have a time in our wild youth we can't remember except we do know it was fun.

    Betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we have all had a year or 2 where we had such a great time we don't remember

      Delete
  4. Hi, Birgit!

    Your picks feature several of my favorite actors and actresses but I must admit that I have not seen any of these pictures. Like you I appreciate the acting of James Mason. Your review has me eager to catch the small film Bigger Than Life. Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick are two of my top favorites and I can't believe I still haven't watched Days of Wine and Roses in its entirety . The trailer alone, with Jack Lemmon breaking the fourth wall and speaking directly to the audience to plug the movie, is worth the price of admission. It's sad to realize that Jack has been gone more than 15 years now and poor Lee left this world more than 25 years ago. As a suggested movie I would pick 21 Grams starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts.

    Thank you, dear friend BB!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am shocked that it is already 15 years because I love Lemmon. Lee Remick died too young. I'm surprised you have not seen the Days of Wine and Roses

      Delete
  5. My first thought when I saw your title was Wine and Roses. The film had such a powerful impact on me that I cannot hear the music without bursting into uncontrollable tears. The other one that came to mind is 'The Lost Weekend' with Ray Milland.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a powerful film for sure and the scene of Jack In The greenhouse is still shattering to me. I should give The Lost Weekend another chance because I couldn't get into Ray Milland

      Delete
  6. I've only seen Fear and Loathing. Bigger Than Life sounds like something I'd enjoy, I'll have to put that on the watch list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a good gem and a hidden one to me

      Delete
  7. I'll be on the lookout for Days of Wine and Roses. Two accomplished actors are in it. In the meantime, happy viewing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a great film! I will have a great time watching movies.

      Delete
  8. Not heard of the first pick. Love Jack Lemmon but haven't seen this one. Nothing beats Fear and Loathing a bunch of messed up characters strange film.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is an excellent film with Jack Lemmon. fear and Loathing is one nut freaky film

      Delete
  9. I picked Bigger Than Life, too! James Mason is so fantastic in it, and I love Nicholas Ray's films.

    Confession time: For YEARS I got Days of Wine and Roses and The Lost Weekend confused.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah to you choosing Bigger Than Life! I thought I would be the only one choosing that one. You are funny that you have confused those 2 films/)

      Delete
  10. LOVE your opening paragraph and I am kicking myself now for not plunging into Susan Hayward territory myself!!! She's one of my top 5 favorite actresses and her filmography is replete with movies that would have worked! Damn!! My only defense is that I've used some of her more fitting titles, I'll Cry Tomorrow, Valley of the Dolls & I think My Foolish Heart, before. Still she's one of my comfort actresses-I can watch any film with her in it and be instantly pulled in because of her.

    Anyways...Great choices! Can't believe this is the second time Bigger Than Life has shown up! How wonderful. James Mason is another huge favorite of mine and while this isn't what you could call a pleasant view it's certainly an excellent one and he's rarely been better, a high water mark considering the consistent quality of his work.

    Ugh, The Days of Wine and Roses is SO intense and despairing. Brilliantly acted but spending an entire movie with those sad broken people is something I could only do once. Lemmon was amazing but I think Lee Remick had the more difficult role and played it expertly.

    Fear & Loathing is the only one of these I didn't care for.

    While my second two are sober examinations of addiction my first takes a more hyperbolic slant and so in that way is probably more sinfully delicious.

    A Rage to Live (1965)-Soap opera pure and simple based on a John O’Hara novel about a woman who in more enlightened times would have been viewed as a person with a crippling disorder, nymphomania, that would require treatment but for our purposes here is a wanton slut. The great Suzanne Pleshette’s character Grace Caldwell Tate is ruled by urges she cannot control and nothing she attempts, marriage, a child etc., can stop them. There are minor attempts at some insight into her problem but they are quickly tossed away in favor of sensationalism. Good supporting cast including Peter Graves and in a rare on screen role Brett Somers Klugman from Match Game. If you enjoy trashy cinema with quality actors enacting silly situations with earnest professionalism this is right up your alley.

    Drugstore Cowboy (1989)-A “family” of junkies consisting of two couples (Matt Dillon, Kelly Lynch, Heather Graham and James Le Gros) drift around the country subsisting and feeding their habit by robbing drug stores. They float along in a perpetual haze until a tragedy opens the eyes of the leader Bob (Dillon) and he determines to go straight. It’s a struggle and only gets more difficult when someone from his past shows up and tries to force him into scoring drugs. Gus Van Sant directed film is relentlessly downbeat with one of Dillon’s best performances.

    The Doors (1991)-The story of the rise and fall of the 60’s rock band and its infamous leader Jim Morrison whose freewheeling lifestyle and many addictions lead to much acrimony within the band as well as his early death in Paris. Val Kilmer is terrific as The Lizard King, Meg Ryan less so as his wild child wife.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan Hayward is great isn't she? I love her in all her scene stealing best. Glad you like most of my picks although I knew you wouldn't like the last one:) I have not seen any of your films but the first one reminds me of the Chapman Report for some reason. Oh wait! I have seen The Doors and thought Val Kilmer was great in it. I don't even remember Meg Ryan even though I know she was in it.

      Delete
    2. OHHH I LOVE The Chapman Report!!! All those fantastic actresses, you really can't blame Jane Fonda-in that killer white dress and matching picture hat!-not being able to raise a spark from block of wood Efrem Zimbalist Jr.

      Almost impossible to pick a favorite out of those ladies but Glynis Johns performance is so much fun but then she has the wonderful John Dehner to play off so isn't at a disadvantage like poor Jane.

      Both Shelley Winters and Claire Bloom are wonderfully affecting, both tear at your heart at various times in the film. Shelley's last scene with Harold J. Stone is just beautifully done by both. And you know what I realized as I write this that Claire Bloom's story line would have worked for this week!! Damn it! Be that as it may the film is as sinfully delicious as a box of candy. Thanks for reminding me about it.

      Delete
  11. I've only seen the last. F-ed up indeed. Never been a big fan of addiction movies though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes that film is one big long drug trip

      Delete
  12. Dick Van Dyke was in a made-for-TV movie called "The Morning After" that dealt with alcoholism that was pretty grim, not what you'd expect from him. Later he admitted that both he and his wife were alcoholics. He was also in a funny movie called "Cold Turkey" where he was a minister in a town that agrees to give up smoking for a month. Considering "The Dick Van Dyke Show" was sponsored by Kent cigarettes, it's ironic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have seen that movie where he played an alcoholic and it was quite startling especially for a TV movie. I haven't seen the other movie with him and it sounds like a hoot. It is ironic for sure

      Delete
  13. Loved F&L in LV. How about The Man with the Golden Arm, Leaving Las Vegas, and A Hatful of Rain?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to rewatch Man With The Golden Arm since I have not seen the whole thing. I have not seen A Hatful of Rain but Inhave seen Leaving Las Vegas which is excellent even thou it is depressing.

      Delete
  14. Number 1 sounds good but really depressing....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. None are what would call a feel Good movie

      Delete
  15. All new to me. Like Pat, I'm usually not a fan of addiction movies, but thank you for really broadening my film horizon, Birgit. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you liked reading about these 3

      Delete
  16. Drugstore Cowboy - Matt Dillon, Kelly Lynch. William S. Burroughs in a minor role.

    Clean and Sober - Michael Keaton.

    When a Man Loves a Woman - Meg Ryan, Andy Garcia.

    The Boost - James Woods.

    Panic in Needle Park - Al Pacino.

    Requiem for a Dream - Jennifer Connelly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have only seen Panic in Needle Park but thanks for the list!

      Delete
  17. Haven't seen any of these. The subject matter doesn't provide the distraction from reality I seek in movies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, they are tough movies to see for sure

      Delete
  18. I haven't seen any of these and I'm stumped for 'addiction' movies... 21 grams? Trainspotters?

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You hit 2 good movies for sure. I almost picked Trainspotting

      Delete
  19. Haven't seen any of these, but Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas has been on my watchlist forever. I also need to see Days of Wine and Roses, as I've heard nothing but good things about it.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I haven't seen any of these, but you picked three interesting films, just like always. I'll definitely watch them!

    ReplyDelete
  21. My best friend and I watched Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas back in high school, and were left in fits of giggles and perhaps an understandable hesitance to go near anything stronger than pot.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Nope, haven't seen any of those. And sorry to say, I haven't been "naughty". It's not my thing. I don't even drink.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I'm a big Hayward fan too, wasn't she just beautiful? Only seen Wine & Roses of these 3. Great acting, but it left me feeling sad, so I've never rewatched it. Do like Jack L. though. I'll be on the lookout for #1. TFS & have a good week. Hugs

    ReplyDelete
  24. Days of Wine and Roses: One of the most depressing films ever.
    Enjoy the rest of your evening:)

    ReplyDelete
  25. I've never seen the first two but I saw Fear and Loathing. I've read most of Hunter Thompson'd work. He was one wacky writer but I think many would agree that he was a genius with a typewriter.

    ReplyDelete
  26. It's definitely a great pick, but I can't stand Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Unlike its source material, is somehow devolves into total meaninglessness by the end. I got so bored with it after awhile. Days of Wine and Roses is one I've always wanted to see. I love Jack Lemmon.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Ashes shot out of a cannon...now that's one way to make sure they spread;)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Days of Wine and Roses still haunts me and I saw it over ten years ago.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I thought Jack lemon made quite an impressive pitch for his movie Days of Wine and Roses. His characters added such a unique presence to movies magnetically combined with humor. I'll have to find out more.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Being naughty is fun, but I've never digressed too much. I haven't seen any of those, but I heard great things about Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I suppose if one is gonna be fearful and loathing somewhere, Las Vegas is the place.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I've only heard of/seen the last one. What a weird trip. I still don't know what I think about that movie. Hunter S. Thompson was certainly a character, though.

    I might have to check out Days of Wine and Roses. I love Jack Lemmon.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Oh Fear and Loathing...what a movie. The book is even more insane. The strangest part is that Thompson always considered the tale a failure and absolutely despised it. Never knew he shot his ashes out of a cannon though...

    ReplyDelete
  33. I haven't seen these three- but they do sound like ones to check out. I thought of 28 Days and another movie that I am drawing a blank on the title, but the two main characters were addicts and one was undercover I think. Thanks for sharing. :)
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
  34. I've seen all three of these and was profoundly affected by Days of Wine and Roses. It made my cry - a lot, as Jack Lemmon's portrayal reminded me of my alcoholic father. Similarly, so did Dick Van Dyke's movie, "The Morning After". You're right about the last movie. What a trip!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I haven't seen Fear And Loathing but it sounds like a Johnny Depp role:)

    ReplyDelete
  36. I haven't seen any of these. Truthfully, I see enough of this kind of stuff in life that when I watch a movie or read a book, I want to escape, not face more life. *shrugs* Maybe I'm just wired different.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I don't think I could think of one addiction movie, let alone three. The Wine & Roses one does look interesting though.
    Sorry, to disappoint you, I've never so much as touched a cigarette. Never saw the appeal.

    ReplyDelete
  38. There are many, so many, as you now recall. It's cool to include older movies too, because that's a much different perspective than the one we're so used to now.

    ReplyDelete