November 13, 1998 at 05:00 AM EST

How’s this for a lofty tag line for a straight-to-video flick: ”From the Oscar-win-ning writer of Pulp Fiction,” Tarantino? No, it’s Roger Avary, and he’s only an executive producer. Still, Boogie Boy honors its pedigree with heroin chic that’s not so chic, Traci Lords doing her best Travolta, and poetic dialogue as Jesse (Mark Dacascos), an ex-con drummer, tries to lead his whacked-out pal out of addiction after a drug deal goes south. A 12-step moment is the film’s highlight, with Jerk, played by gravelly-voiced Joan Jett, a virtually versifying guru. ”Everybody’s strung out on something, some sickness they can’t kick,” Jerk says. ”Mine used to be anger, hatred, lots of s—. And I tried all kinds of cures. Smack, crack, meth. None of it worked. But music does.” Not even Courtney Love could make these lines sound so weirdly sublime.

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