Drugstore Cowboy, At Close Range & Slacker Movie Reviews

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Here are three more mini-reviews of movies I don’t have enough to say about to fill a full review for each! Sound exciting? Two were okay but one totally sucked…

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Drugstore Cowboy (1989)

Directed by Gus Van Sant & Based on Drugstore Cowboy by James Fogle

Starring: Matt Dillon, Kelly Lynch, James Remar, James LeGros, Heather Graham, William Burroughs

My Opinion:

It seems like I’ve watched quite a few movies about people who are addicted to drugs but they’re never exactly favorites of mine. It’s certainly something I can’t relate to as I’m afraid I’m going to OD if I take one little wussy aspirin for a headache. The last drug movie I watched was The Basketball Diaries, which was also based on the real-life drug addiction of the story’s author. That movie was a little disappointing but had a good performance from Leonardo DiCaprio. I maybe liked it slightly more than this but Drugstore Cowboy is probably a bit better as a film.

The problem with these drug movies is that, even though they show the terrible effects that drugs have on people, I think they still manage to glamorize drug addiction to a certain degree. Diaries is more guilty of that than Cowboy – I think Drugstore Cowboy tells a more straightforward story without trying to appear too “cool”. However, it also makes for a slightly more boring film.

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I’ve never really liked Matt Dillon with his gormless face & Bert from Sesame Street eyebrows but I guess he’s fine in this (he’s just not on a Leonardo DiCaprio level acting-wise). Kelly Lynch was pretty good as Dillon’s bossy, horny girlfriend (or I think she may have been his wife?). I haven’t really seen Lynch in many films but all I ever think of is how Bill Murray calls her husband to tell him that Kelly is having sex with Patrick Swayze anytime Road House is playing on TV (I really need to watch that movie – it looks so gloriously bad). I was surprised to see a very young Heather Graham looking all cute like she did in License To Drive. That’s the thing with these Hollywood drug movies – you’d think only really attractive people become addicted to drugs.

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Overall, I liked Drugstore Cowboy okay but I don’t think it’s going to change anyone’s life. It’s not as hard-hitting as some of the other drug addiction films that are out there but it does a decent job telling the story of a group of people who rob drugstores to feed their addiction and what a pointless existence they’re living.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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At Close Range (1986)

Directed by James Foley

Starring: Sean Penn, Christopher Walken, Mary Stuart Masterson, Crispin Glover, Tracey Walter, Christopher Penn, Kiefer Sutherland

My Opinion:

At Close Range is probably the best movie of these three but I really had no idea how mean and violent it was going to be. All I really knew of the movie was what I saw in the clips of that Madonna video Live To Tell. It’s an Eighties movie that I missed out on at the time but always kind of wanted to see (probably because of that video). When it appeared on Netflix, I decided to watch it after being reminded that Mary Stuart Masterson is in it (and Crispin Glover! he’s his usual weird, Crispin Glover self in this). Oh yeah – and Christopher Penn! I’ve always liked him more than grumpy Sean.

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I didn’t know that this movie was based on the true story of a notorious crime family in Pennsylvania in the 1960s & 70s. There’s very little information on the real life criminals on Wikipedia so I can’t say how accurate the movie is but it’s a very gritty film and Walken is truly evil in this role. It was strange to see Walken playing a bad guy with absolutely no over-the-top acting or sick sense of humor like in movies such as Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead. I absolutely HATED this guy (as you’re meant to) so I guess you can say that Walken played the role really well despite a very distracting hairstyle.

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At Close Range follows Sean Penn’s character and his estranged criminal father, played by Walken, who suddenly appears back in his son’s life and involves him in the family’s crime ring with very tragic consequences. Looking up the true story, I saw just how young these kids were when all this occurred (Penn’s character, his brother, his friends & his 15-year-old girlfriend) and I found it quite heartbreaking to see how this group of adult criminals were able to so easily use these young kids, some of them their own family, with absolutely no remorse.

At Close Range was a much darker movie than I was expecting for some reason (maybe because of that Madonna video) but I suppose it was a pretty good film. I’m just not normally a fan of true crime films as I find them too upsetting and the treatment of Penn’s & Masterson’s characters was especially difficult to watch. I’d recommend this if it sounds like your type of movie but be prepared to hate Walken’s character and to possibly feel a little angry when it finishes.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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Slacker (1991)

Directed & Written by Richard Linklater

Starring: Richard Linklater, Kim Krizan, Mark James, Stella Weir, John Slate, Louis Mackey, Teresa Taylor

My Opinion:

I love Richard Linklater. I really do. Dazed And Confused is a favorite movie of mine and I really liked Boyhood even though a lot of people hated it. Bernie was pretty damn good as well, I love the relationship in the Before films, and School Of Rock is a huge guilty pleasure of mine (although I shouldn’t feel guilty about it – it’s great! Jack Black haters be GONE!). So…. I decided it was about time I check out Linklater’s feature length debut Slacker.

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Slacker has a high IMDB rating for an older film (7.1/10). I knew it was loads of “talking” like most of his films, which I don’t mind. Dazed And Confused and the Before films are loads of talking. The difference is that those films have characters we give a shit about and a f*%king STORY instead of a bunch of random idiots telling stupid, boring stories that have absolutely no connection to each other.

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I’m sorry to anyone who is a fan of this one but I just do NOT get the appeal. It would be okay if the pointless talking was funny and entertaining like it was in Dazed And Confused but none of it is funny or entertaining. Scratch that – the chick in the photo above (and the poster) is mildly (emphasis on mildly) entertaining as she discusses buying a Madonna pap smear (hey – a Madonna connection to my previous review!). I guess that’s why that character ended up on the poster as she’s the only one I can even remember other than Linklater himself, who starts off the string of pointless talking in the very first scene.

I guess the one good thing about Slacker is that it was the start of Linklater’s career. I’m still a fan of his as he went on to make much (much!) better films than this one but Slacker is a huge waste of time for anyone who isn’t a slacker and has better things to do with their time.

My Rating: 4.5/10

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37 thoughts on “Drugstore Cowboy, At Close Range & Slacker Movie Reviews

  1. I think I saw At Close Range years ago, but dont remember it at all. Havent seen either of the others and I’m not really sure if I have a desire to see any of these. NIce reviews!

    • You barely remember a movie that Mary Stuart Masterson was in?! It wasn’t very happy, though… 😦 I wouldn’t recommend these to you! At Close Range is the only one I maybe would’ve if you hadn’t seen it.

    • Yeah? Thanks! I’ll do them every once in a while. πŸ™‚ I thought they’d be time consuming but they’re actually much quicker to write than one long review!

  2. Whoa, that is an intense tagline for At Close Range! “Like Father. Like Son. Like Hell.” Someone really had the ole thinking cap on straight that day.

  3. Yeah I wasn’t totally on board for Slacker either and I love Linklater. I did enjoy Drugstore Cowboy though but then I am quite a big fan of “drug” movies.

    • Yeah – I really didn’t want to trash a Linklater film but I didn’t enjoy Slacker AT ALL. Cowboy was okay but the first drug movie I ever saw was Trainspotting so I suppose every other drug movie seems a little boring by comparison. πŸ™‚

  4. I always thought the clips from At Close Range were filmed for that Madonna video. I will check it out based on your review. Slacker is a movie that I admire just because of how random it was made and that it got to be so big. But Yeah I understand why some can find it dull.

    • Lol! That’s kind of funny…. Well, Madonna was pretty famous at the time so I suppose she could have managed to get some big stars to be in her video… πŸ˜‰ Would be interested to know what you think if you see it! I so wanted to like Slacker. I really do love Linklater! I’m glad it got him started but, yeah – I’m one of those who found it dull. 😦

  5. Epic. I have a soft spot for Drugstore Cowboy. I really was affected by that when I was younger. I also enjoyed at close range. Nice post.

    • Thanks! πŸ™‚ I’m glad there’s someone who likes two of these – I think most people haven’t even seen them. I’m sure I’d like them both more if I’d seen them at the time. πŸ™‚

  6. Prediction: You’re going to revisit Drugstore Cowboy at some point and add at least one point to its score. It’s a terrific movie. The fact that you’re unsure of the nature of Lynch and Dillon’s relationship – which is central to the movie – suggests to me that perhaps it didn’t have your full attention. I have never ever heard anyone suggest DC was even a little bit dull! I do agree with you that it is guilty of glamorizing drugs while warning the viewer of the dangers of them. But then, what drug movie doesn’t do that?

    • Lol. I may have been doing some housework while it was on. Or tweeting! I think the cop dude said “your wife” at the end??? πŸ˜‰ I can’t really see myself rewatching it but I thought it was okay. It did feel a little dated – I’m sure I’d like it more if I’d seen it at the time. I think most drug movies end up feeling a little dull since Trainspotting was the first drug movie I ever saw and that one was pretty…. Full on, I guess. πŸ˜‰

    • It was so damn boring!!! My hubby didn’t bother finishing it. I finished it another day while I did other things so I really wasn’t paying attention. Did you watch it in your basement while eating pizza?? πŸ™‚

    • Yikes! I’m glad you didn’t too! Lol. πŸ˜‰ Glad to hear from someone who likes the movie – no one really seems to have seen it. It was pretty good. Depressing! But good movie. πŸ™‚

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    • Thanks! It really is helping to get reviews off my “to do” list. I should be done reviewing the ones watched in 2014 by 2016! πŸ˜‰ This wasn’t too bad as a couple were okay but I’ve mostly kept the “meh” and crap ones for the mini reviews. I should throw some decent ones in too!

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