Cult Cinema: Volume 12
It’s tough to be straight-edge. By virtue of being drug- and alcohol-free, the whole world thinks you’re some Christian hardcore kid from Boston who only speaks in Minor Threat lyrics. But on the other hand, you do get to picture the whole world as some sort of decadent, liverish imbecile, lounging about in its own sick while giggling moronically at passing shadows and shiny reflections.
In this eternal struggle, we straight-edgers are blessed with mental clarity, rarefied by haughty elitism and unmarred by dignity-sapping Facebook photos of drunken Nickleback sing-alongs. But the bleary-eyed masses have a secret weapon: the drug movie.
There are two main types of drug films. The first is the stoned, peace-and-love, cars-that-run-on-organic-hopes-and-smiles hippie bullshit, like Dazed and Confused, Easy Rider, and every documentary that uses the phrase “quantum theory of possibilities.” Thankfully, while annoying, these films are fairly harmless, primarily because their fans tend to drift into a stupor mid-sentence before saying anything too irritating.
The second variety, the focus of this particular article, is much more dangerous. These films, primed on illegal stimulants, seem to believe that the entire world is not only fascinated by recipes for cooking meth, but is also either suffering for ADD or frequent Grand Mal seizures. The whole point of these movies seems to be to simulate a drug trip, but a remarkably unpleasant one that appears to be the Ludovico technique with a shitty techno soundtrack. The perfect example of these twitchy, narrative nightmares is Spun.
Cult : Methamphysical Society for Research, Development, and Tweaking
Basic Tenets: Pacing, plotting, and narrative aresecondary tothemetallivinginmyteethandwouldn’tthat clockradiolookbetterifitwerei nsideoutandsolderedtoavibratorfuckmymouth
Adherents: High school students trying to look edgy, anyone who has ever been on A&E’s Intervention.
Example: Spun (2002), directed by Jonas Akerlund, written by Will De Los Santos and Creighton Vero
If, and only if, your primary form of entertainment as a child involved paint fumes and the spins, there’s a lot to like in Spun. But for everyone else, including the meth heads this ode to tweaker culture is marketed towards, will likely be confused, annoyed, or just plain angry after this film.
Spun follows Ross (Jason Schwartzman), a speed freak, and his various adventures as he tries to win whatever video game the screenwriters were hallucinating about when they wrote this absolute piece of shit. To say that there is no plot is not accurate; there’s too much plot, all cut together with the subtlety of an Ibiza DJ chopping up coke. Along the way, Ross meets Mickey Rourke, Mena Suvari, Ron Jeremy, Billy Corgan, one of the guys from Yes, and I think maybe China Chow from Frankenfish, but at that point I’d stopped caring. And all this, all this, is not in service to a story, but rather an excuse for director Jonas Akerlund, once a drummer for Bathory, to see if he can out-junkie Trainspotting’s visuals.
The film is all spinning cameras and stupid gags and everything happening at the speed of light with twice the energy. With no dialogue, effort, or attention paid to anything other than giving everyone watching a hangover. It’s enough to make me want to get stoned just to slow everything down.