White House ”drug czar” Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey will unveil a plan to work with the major studios to introduce more blatant antidrug messages into feature films, according to a front-page report in the Los Angeles Times. Now you might believe ”28 Days” was proof that Hollywood can turn out perfectly awful pro-rehab propaganda without federal assistance. But not us. We can think of plenty of drug-themed films the studios have produced over the years that would’ve been greatly improved if Washington had been able to step in and insert a few pertinent ”just say no” plot points. Here are just a few.
Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper are frightened into giving up marijuana, cocaine, LSD, and impenetrable sunglasses after reading a harrowing biography of Phil Spector, the guy who sold ’em the dope in the movie’s first scene. Their wits newly about them, they give those rifle-toting rednecks a friendly thumbs-up instead of the finger, and live to ride another day.
”My Own Private Intervention”
River Phoenix’s unrequited love for Keanu Reeves no longer seems so unbearable after concerned family and friends corner the besotted smack addict and put him on an Oregon to Orange County flight to spend time with a new muse: Betty Ford. A job as a mayoral assistant back in Portland and a rejuvenating three-way with Keanu’s girlfriend quickly follow.
Ray Liotta has it ”made” in the shade once he ditches the blow and realizes that’s merely a benign traffic copter hovering overhead. Freed from paranoiac binges, he achieves every Brooklyn boy’s dream of becoming a clean-veined Mafia chieftain, occasionally stopping by schools to warn the worshipful kids: ”You’ll bury yourself alive if you take drugs!”
”Triumph in Needle Park”
Al Pacino finds love with a methadone clinic counselor and gets a new start as a park groundskeeper, shooing those pesky dealers away from the playground. No leaving cake out in the rain for this post-narcotic role model!
”DEA Cowboy” After coming out of rehab and joining up with his former nemeses in law enforcement, the first thing Matt Dillon does is bust William S. Burroughs.
”Sid & Nancy & Carrie”
Punk’s premier fun couple are about to succumb to the ravages of heroin abuse and poor hygiene when… Hey, who’s that at their body fluid splattered Chelsea Hotel door? Never mind the bollocks, it’s Carrie Hamilton, Carol Burnett’s crusading ex-addict daughter, here for a little ”scared straight” pep talk!
”Romeo & Juliet Choose Life”
That formerly dazed ‘n’ confused Capulet gal wises up and turns down her liberal clergyman’s offer of sleeping potion. Kids may think parents don’t understand, but it turns out that just talking things through with your family really is the best medicine after all.
”McCabe & Mrs. Miller Kick Ass”
Pioneer madam Julie Christie realizes absinthe doesn’t make the heart grow fonder and awakens from her opium delirium just in time to help hapless Warren Beatty blow away the dirty capitalists trying to kill him.
No more trainspotting for Ewan McGregor and his erstwhile comrades in heroin now that they’ve kicked the habit. Adopting the buddy system of sobriety, they instead pact to be on the constant lookout for telltale needle tracks on each others’ arms.
”The Man With the Golden Armoire”
Fresh outta rehab, Frank Sinatra uses the money he saves on smack bills to seriously refurbish his Palm Springs pad.
”The Basketball Star Diaries”
Instead of growing up to be junkie poet Jim Carroll, Leonardo DiCaprio becomes Pistol Pete Marovich, and his journals are put on permanent display to inspire youngsters at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.
”Peter Pan, Un-Hooked”
Remembering their parents’ sensible advice and preferring to get high on life, Wendy and John learn to just say no to Peter and Tinkerbell’s pernicious fairy dust. The musical number ”You Can Fly!” is replaced with ”God Damn the Pusher.”