Spun (2003)
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Review Date: March 08, 2003
Director: Jonas Åkerlund
Writer: Will De Los Santos, Creighton Vero
Producers: Chris Hanley, Fernando Sulichin, Danny Vinik
Jason Schwartzman as Ross
Brittany Murphy as Nikki
Mickey Rourke as The Cook
I have no idea!! Okay, let me try to focus. This story tracks the lives of a handful of drugged up characters over a period of three days as one attempts to patch things up with his ex, another jerks off to phone sex, another plays videogames all day long until the cops bust his ass, another strips for a living and takes her green dog to the vet and so forth and so on. Basically...it's a drug trip...live with it!
Let me ask you a question. Do you like to smoke up? Do you enjoy the sensation of an alcoholic beverage melting down your throat? Do you like looking at yourself from the outside in, dropping all of your inhibitions and basically living for the every second? Well, if you do and if films like TRAINSPOTTING, NATURAL BORN KILLERS, THE RULES OF ATTRACTION, FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS and REQUIEM FOR A DREAM are part of your "party pack" of flicks that you like to watch when floating across that very blue sky of love, SPUN is definitely the trip for you, especially in terms of its endless parade of inventive visual stylings which includes about as many quick cuts as any movie that I've ever seen, a pace as brisk as your buddy on crack and a sense of general nothingness, much like anyone who's ever been addicted to any sort of high-tempo drug. At this point, I will "come clean" and freely admit that I too was somewhat inebriated while ingesting this cinematic drug opera (one of the nicer things about owning this business, I suppose...no one to steer me straight), with at least three different variations of alcohol in my system and plenty of giggles ready to burst out at the sight of the once-very-seriously-cool Mickey Rourke, who absolutely rocks in this film as the over-the-top drug-dealing motherpumper (this guy would intimidate intimidating guys!), as well as all of the other adventurous kooks including the ideally cast Mena Suvari, bulging her eyes with the best of them (and dropping a load of poopoo to boot), John Leguizamo, jerking off like the champ that he is, Peter Stormare, playing one of the coolest uncool cops of all time and Brittany Murphy, not only looking as sweet-ass hot as ever, but upgrading that hot bod to a very nice performance which grazes the exterior of a drug addicted nutball and a nice girl just trying to get by.

And the story, you may ask? Well, let me make this about as clear as possible: THERE IS NO STORY!! This picture is 95 minutes of pure unadultered drug-paraphernalia bursting through the screen for your F'in tripping pleasure. If you were to watch this film sober, I think you might enjoy some of its many awesome, quirky visuals, but you might also call it on its lack of character development or narrative. If, on the other hand, you're in a great mood, want to be thoroughly entertained, squirmed through the Pink Floyd ringer of life and audio-visually slapped across your fat, numbed out face, check into this flick asap and don't call me in the morning (I'm sleeping in, man!). THE BIG LEBOWSKI had a little bit of this trip, THE SALTON SEA had a pack of it as well, but SPUN doesn't pretend to be about anything more than a gaggle of messed-up characters tripping, smacking, coking, smoking, poking and cranking for your viewing pleasure. Jason Schwarztman is also solid as the "regular" guy leading this group o' nuts and the soundtrack, spliced together by Smashing Pumpkins' frontman Billy Corgan (who has a cameo in the film, along with Judas Priest's Rob Halford and porn star, Ron Jeremy-yeah, it's that kind of movie!), about as ideal as any compilation that you would expect to accompany a laced cinematic spitball as such. I especially enjoyed the tune on which they ended the film. Sweet.

Having said all of that, this is definitely a "love it" or "hate it" type of movie and if watching a bunch of junkies ironically trip through something so fun is not your idea of a visual smack treat, then forget SPUN and forget I ever suggested it to you in the first place. If, on the other hand, the flicks mentioned above toot your horn, if you appreciate the accompaniment of a beverage or two (or three or four) when internalizing certain films and if you don't mind watching an hour and a half of creative visuals stacked before very little actual substance (but plenty of fun dialogue and cool characters), this bit of junk food filler is made for your order. Disturbing animation, quick cuts, split screens, slo-mos, hyper-speed sequences and any other camera trick in the book (and more!) are also sprinkled throughout this movie, so sit back, relax, loosen the belt around your neck and enjoy the friggin' ride. Don't look for it to mean more than what it is because it is all that it's meant to be: an entertaining journey through the eyes (and ears) of a bunch of whacked out meth addicts. Nobody is going to recommend this film as a case against drug addiction, but for any mature person who already knows the difference between right and wrong, moderation and excess, this is a definite cool diversion. And even if you're against the whole concept of "social lubricants" in the first place, no problem-- consider this film about as close as you're ever going to get to a speed trip. Crank addicts, stay away!
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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