Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

23 March 2008

TV Junkie, dir. Michael Cain, Matt Radecki (2006)

NIKKI says:
About as harsh a portrait of substance abuse as you can get, and not at all what I was expecting. Maybe I didn't read the blurb on the back as closely as I might have. Still, while not a film about a guy obsessed with the TGI Friday Line-Up, this was still hard-hitting, effective, and well worth the all-mighty struggle it takes to get through it.

Not that it's a bad film, it's just the sort of warts and all piece that reminds you of any time in your life you've slowed down to look at a car crash, eavesdropped on a personal argument, read someone's diary... These are moments I never wanted to see, especially in the lives of strangers, and yet they compel, almost daring you to keep looking. Because this is reality.

Rick Kirkham is a guy who loves to record things. He records his entire life, every key moment is on film. He also makes recorded diary entries, talking about his life, his family, stuff in general. And he's a TV star, in a way, reporting for Inside Edition and appearing on third-rate talkies like The Danny Bonaduce Show.

In the beginning, we like the guy. He's adventurous, fun-loving, suave. A bit egocentric, but that's what a live in front of a camera will do. Eventually, though, we discover Rick is a mad crack addict, who records every last detail of his struggle to balance his drug habit with his new-found family life.

His life starts to fall apart when he gets married and has his first child. Being away from his family on assignment for his TV show makes him lonelier and more depressed than ever and, as a result, he hits the crack pipe real hard. It's a downhill spiral from there until he loses his job and starts to lose his family, now with another child added.

The best documentaries take us in one direction, before leading us in so many others, mostly unexpected, always surprising. This one does that magnificently. How much worse can it get than Rick sitting in a hotel room telling us face-to-face that his crack addiction will kill him and yet lighting up anyway only to bottom out the following day in the worst way risking everything he has built through his entire career? Can it get worse than that?

Oh, it can. And not in ways you might suspect -- there's no head in the toilet, no drug score gone wrong, no OD to recover from. What happens in this film, is worse. I don't want to give it away here, as I simply don't want to relive it in my head. It's a hell of an anti-drug message, if you've got any heart at all. I can't believe he's letting the world see it. But apparently people do recover from these sorts of things.

Excellent, hard film.


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