For tween girls in the 80s, there were two pivotal books you had to read: Forever by Judy Blume and Go Ask Alice by Anonymous (ooh, anonymous! You just knew it was going to be good). Forever taught you about sex—mostly that it is normal for boys to name their penises “Ralph.” And Go Ask Alice taught you about drugs.
f you reread it now, you will laugh your head off at the corny, heavy-handed antidrug messages written in the guise of a real diary by a good girl who ends up turning into a full-blown junkie after being slipped a hit of LSD at a party. But as a “young adult,” it was a totally believable shocker. There were two possible reactions you could have: Either it made you scared to death of drugs or it made you agree with your friends that it made you scared to death of drugs, but secretly you were thinking, “I cannot WAIT to try this stuff.”
You know what else made us want to do drugs? Movies. And TV. And those DARE t-shirts. Pretty much everything made us want to do drugs. Here are our favorite childhood movies (not movies for children, but movies we happened to see during our impressionable youth) that made us realize that drugs are fun and cool, despite the countless, endless lies indicating otherwise.
WHERE THE DAY TAKES YOU
I don’t remember much about this movie, only that it didn’t make running away from home and becoming a homeless junkie prostitute seem all that bad. For one, no parents! If you run away, you can eat candy for breakfast, stay up as late as you want, and die early with no regrets. Cool! I used to fantasize about setting up a cute li’l bed fort under a bridge and meeting young hot street urchins with names like Zero and Puppy-Butt. My street name would be Cookie and I would live a long, hard life having to please my johns, but since they would let me use their blow dryers to feather my hair, it wouldn’t be all that bad. Eventually I would grow up and talk to kids about my life on the streets and my days on angel dust. I’m pretty sure this is not the plot to Where the Day Takes You, but it might be the plot to this one episode of Starsky and Hutch where Kristy McNichol plays a sharp-tongued sassafras. Both are really good.
CHRISTIANE F./ DRUGSTORE COWBOY/ JESUS’ SON/ REQUIEM FOR A DREAM AND SO ON
All heroin movies make me want to do heroin. It’s always good-looking people who call each other by cool nicknames and wear awesome jean jackets that are impossible to find even on eBay. In Drugstore Cowboy Matt Dillon refers to Kelly Lynch as his “old lady,” and because they were both really good-looking I thought that was a cool thing to be called. It seemed tough and created this “the world is our oyster” vibe. Billy Crudup was so hot in Jesus’ Son that when he and Samantha Morton stayed in bed for three days and “carried each other to heaven,” the veins in my arms started throbbing. Requiem for a Dream was supposed to scare us because of all the crazy consequences, but I saw that movie high and continued to get even higher when it was over. Marianne looking in the mirror while she’s fucked-up is a great moment in heroin-cinema history. The best heroin movie however, the one that is pretty much Carnation Instant Junkie, is Christiane F. Every single kid in this movie is a fox, and the more strung out they get, the hotter they get. They’re foreign, they eat cake and smoke cigarettes in the bathtub simultaneously, and they all hang out together on top of each other, creating one explosive hot bomb of leather, denim, dope, and hair dye. This is the world I expected to find when I was doing dope, but of course it doesn’t exist. Instead I found myself crammed in some apartment with bad lighting, a couple of Yo Kids (you know, white thugs that say, “Yo, kid!”), a crackhead named Camillio and his girlfriend, Checkers, who had more kids in this world than teeth in her mouth, and me and my pussy boyfriend. Wow, fun. I would make a movie about it but no one would watch it, which is unfortunate because it would probably be the only one that would make people not want to do heroin. Then again, maybe all heroin movies turn people off except for my friends and me because we’re all fucking crackhead losers.
LESS THAN ZERO
The book, even more so than the movie, made me want to do coke. But why? It’s about the dark underbelly of LA’s elite post-teens, where behind every jacuzzi and Camp Beverly Hills bedazzled sweatshirt there’s a naked blond boy on some sort of death pinwheel and a rich old guy in a silk bathrobe making you blow coke up his ass and call him “Fancy.” SIGN ME UP!
Holy shit, the shot where Ray Liotta does a giant line of coke off a mirror and then he looks up and the camera zooms in on his pinned-out red eyes and “Gimme Shelter” is blaring in the background, and then the very next shot is of a plane zooming overhead? Don’t mean to get all film-school nerd here, but if that isn’t the greatest coke moment in cinema , I don’t know what is. (Runner-up is the “Are you my mom?” scene in
.) Later on, whenever I did coke and happened to hear “Gimme Shelter” I would feel so cool and so high that I wanted to punch myself in the face.
THE BREAKFAST CLUB
“Da chick can’t hold de smoke, dat’s what it is.” I had no idea what the hell Anthony Michael Hall was talking about, but man, did it make me want to try marijuana. Do you know what I learned about smoking doobage from
The Breakfast Club
? 1) It makes you a really good dancer. 2) It makes you able to shatter a glass door with your mind. 3) It is a bonding experience that has the power to unite a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal across social, economic, and sexual barriers—if for but a moment. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours,
The Breakfast Club
COREY HAIM AND COREY FELDMAN
Yes, I realize the Coreys aren’t a movie, but considering how wacky their lives have been, aren’t they close enough? After I heard they were junkies I liked them even more.
The Lost Boys
was great because Jason Patrick was cute and the theme song “Cry Little Sister” was goth for kids who weren’t into goth. I don’t know if the Coreys were on drugs then. I think they started to get heavy into it after
was soft-core porn starring the Coreys and Nicole Eggert from
Charles in Charge
fame. The only thing I remember about
is that Nicole Eggert sits naked behind a huge stuffed teddy bear. She was trying to turn the Coreys on but she ended up turning America on!
THE FRENCH CONNECTION
My dad rented this when I was a kid and we watched it on our top-loading VCR. There’s a scene where Gene Hackman is at a bar filled with African-Americans and he makes them all empty their drugs out. It’s a shakedown, basically. So these gentlemen empty the contents of their pockets onto the bar and it’s just EVERYthing—every possible drug you could imagine. And then Gene pours a beer on all of it. It made me wonder about a lot of things: About beer, about the stuff in the white bags, about the stuff in the brown bags, about the stuff that was rolled up, and about the powdery stuff that was flying everywhere. Meanwhile all the guys are going, “Aw c’mon, man!” And I thought, hmm, they really like this stuff, whatever it is. I wonder what it does…
This movie was a classic rental in my household on sick days. Three LA girls get all dolled up and have a crazy night on the town. This is exactly what I thought being a grown-up was going to be like: Martini glasses, lace gloves, boas, boyfriends, and bustiers. Virgina Madsen plays the hot blond who won’t put up with her two-timing DJ boyfriend. Daphne Zuniga, whom you may remember from
, plays the cool, sophisticated brunette who is really picky about guys but ends up with the nerdy underdog. Then there’s the sassy redhead (played by some girl you’ve never heard of) with short hair and she’s like the “cute one.” Whenever me and my sister played “Modern Girls,” I was her because I was the youngest. Anyway, this movie was my first foray into the adult world of boozing and nightclubbing and I most definitely wanted in. I don’t think the girls in
were alcoholics, but I became one and I blame them for it.
I don’t know if “enchanted” apples count as drugs, but it still made me wanna do them. Lots of them. I mean, look at that fucking thing. After watching David Bowie dance around with nightmarish puppets like this li’l funster, even the worst acid trip in the world couldn’t rattle you. Thanks,