Above: All work and no play…
“Disillusioned words, like bullets, bark…”
—Bob Dylan, It’s Alright Ma
Prozac Nation found its way on my Netflix queue undoubtedly when I was going through one of my Jessica Lange longings…not only does the woman Do It For Me—she’s stunning and crazy, just look into her eyes—but she’s one of the finest actors to come along in the last thirty years, and no matter how dire the material, she’s always worth watching. Prozac Nation isn’t a bad film at all…in fact, it’s quite good in spots. I had no idea of its content since I avoid reading about films beforehand. But the title points to the legal American smack of the New Millennium, dethroning Valium as Drug Of Choice among the bipolar/manic-depressive minions of which I’m a card carrying member. I bailed out on Prozac about ten or fifteen years ago, since it made me think about taking The Plunge off a high rise one too many times. I’d rather live like a wide-eyed, skittish paranoiac than an intense, kamikaze sourpuss any day of the week.
Christina Ricci plays the college-bound writer off to find fame and fortune as a scribe for Rolling Stone in the 1980s, and her dorm life is eerily close to mine back in my stint in the ‘70s at Niagara University…when I successfully alienated anyone within spitting distance with an act Too Heavy for amateurs. It’s hard to describe chemical dependency to those not In The Loop; Life Without Choice has to be experienced firsthand to be properly appreciated. And you can only do that if you’re willing to sacrifice everything—love, stability, friends, family, everything—else. Of course, if you’re naturally There already, the sacrifice means nothing.
Back in the ‘70s, everyone in college looked grown and mature to me; but recently, having relocated a mile or two away from the Mont Alto campus of Penn State, my visits there reveal the student body to be a pack of Little Kids playing dress-up. If I hung out there long enough, they’d mistake me for the janitor.
Ms. Ricci—who kind of spooks me out with those huge saucer eyes and waiflike body—is dead on the money as a character not unlike myself…probably the best performance of ‘me’ since Jack Nicholson in The Shining, that blinding beacon of block and breakdown and booze. Jessica Lange plays her mom in a dead-nuts-on interpretation of my own late and crazy mother, a part previously essayed to the hilt by no less than Liz Taylor herself in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, a horrorshow par excellence that’s a gnawing facsimile of my own poisoned childhood.
The moral of all this is if you have a moody, antisocial but talented and creative child, do yourself a favor and put them up for adoption as quickly as possible. Run to the adoption agency if the bottles in the liquor cabinet are running low without rhyme or reason. Then go out and bang a drum in a support group. Count to ten and you’ll feel better.
Labels: Capsule reviews