Photo by Jake Michaels
I’m never going to try heroin. I hate needles. I hate feeling sleepy and smug at the same time. And finally, I’ve never seen it depicted well in movies.
Heroin addicts always end up unwittingly killing a friend or having a gangrenous limb hacked off or being raped in prison while simultaneously jonesing or dying or becoming shitty poets. According to the movies, other drugs are much better. Pot smokers are giggly and fun. No one takes ecstasy unless by accident, and usually right before a big holiday family dinner. Cocaine usually leads to jail, but it leads to cool jail. The journey to cocaine incarceration involves trim, tense torsos, car chases, wild sex, and then an attractive, brooding stance of regret as you look back on it all and smile ruefully. And drunks! Where do I start? There’s a bar somewhere with Arthur Bach, Hawkeye and Trapper John, Foster Brooks, and Otis the Town Drunk all singing “Working for the Weekend” while Nick and Nora Charles make out in a booth. But heroin is dimly lit hotel rooms, haggard girlfriends, and an atonal soundtrack. Before getting hooked, or even shooting it once, I’d need to see it depicted in a movie like Sideways, where two lovable, cuddly heroin addicts—middle-aged in that sitcom-y kinda sheepish smile way that middle age is depicted in movies—do a jaunty tour of Alphabet City, sampling a weekend’s worth of dope before one of them gets married. “Oh, this is hitting me just right. I feel—there’s some strychnine, but underneath there’s a loamy bass note of autumnal Afghanistan poppy fields, and… and… there it is!… a flutter of tangy stomach acid from where they cut the baggie out of the mule’s belly after they chloroformed her in a Super 8 Motel in Hoboken.” Then our two heroes get mistaken for extras in a zombie movie shooting nearby and end up at the director’s penthouse, where one of them steals a reel of dailies and sells it for another fix. Soon they’re being chased through the city by a born-again Christian P.A. from the movie. And to add to the hassle, they pick up a teenage runaway whom one of the dudes lusts after, while the other one is gently reminded of his daughter who no longer speaks to him because he offered to blow her prom date to get $75 for a skin popper. But that’s just the beginning of the shenanigans! Twenty-nine wrecked cop cars, a musical dream sequence set to Billy Squier’s “In the Dark,” a return-from-the-dead OD jump-up-and-gasp scene, and one love-crazed moose later, our two heroes have got to somehow buy back the reel of dailies, jury-rig a wedding between the runaway and the Christian P.A., and win a Transcendental Meditation contest. It’s called Spikin’. I’ve already sold it to New Line, so hands off.