The opioid epidemic is Hollywood’s new go-to story to tell. Several current movies - Bobbi Jo: Under the Influence, Crisis, Four Good Days, Jacinta, The Evening Hour, Tyger Tyger - focus on the issue as does this eight-episode miniseries. It's about how Purdue Pharma aspired to be at the top of the pharmaceutical pyramid. They hyped OxyContin as wonder drug, that it was non-addictive. However, when Oxy failed to work effectively for pain sufferers, Purdue instructed doctors to increase the recommended dosages, hooking people like Betsy Mallum (Kaitlyn Dever), a coal miner in Virginia with a bad back, and her doctor, Samuel Finnix (Michael Keaton), who prescribed the drug and eventually also became dependent on it. Evil in this story is embodied by Purdue’s Sackler family who relentlessly pushed the drug on Americans. Dogged by the DEA and Justice Department, Purdue is finally taken down but not before millions of people became hooked on their drug.
Denis Villeneuve’s remake of David Lynch’s 1984 film (based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi novel) returns to planet Arrakis where the drug spice is coveted for its special mind-expansion and intergalactic properties.
The controversial avant-garde movement in jazz in the ’60s and ’70s that included John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman and Sun Ra is the subject of Tom Surgal’s documentary.
Fred Frizell (Dylan O’Brien) tries to unravel a mystery in Christopher MacBridges B-movie thriller. Back in high school, he and a group of stoner friends experimented with a psychedelic drug called Mercury. Cindy (Maika Monroe) disappeared after one intense trip of “uncut Merc” and 13 years later Fred decides to find her. This obsession plays havoc with his work and home life. MacBridges combines flashbacks with Fred’s current search in a dizzying patchwork of images. It’s unclear if he ever finds Cindy or the reason for his hallucinations, though it appears all’s well that ends well after a fruitless psychological dive.
Four Good Days
Mila Kunis wins the ugly junkie award with her portrayal of Molly, a 31-year-old mother-of-two addict, in Rodrigo García’s depressing flick. Molly arrives on her mother’s doorstep begging for help, but it’s a story Deb (Glenn Close) has heard too many times, so she turns her away. Deb can’t ignore her desperate daughter for long and soon she’s driving her to rehab and then even to a drug house where Molly sneaks away for a shot of heroin. The premise is Molly has to stay clean for a week to qualify for Naltrexone, an opiate antagonist. Molly got hooked as a teenager when she was prescribed OxyContin for an ankle injury. It escalated from there into full-scale drug dependence – hence Molly’s pale skin, ill-kept hair and messed-up teeth. OK, we get the point. Molly appears to get better, but it’s, you know, one day at a time.