Thursday, August 30, 2007

Self-Medicated DVD

Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Mom’s Tough Love Backfires in Semi-Autobiographical Bio-Pic

Andrew Eriksen (Monty Lapica) has been spiraling out of control since the death of his father. The troubled 17 year-old has taken to hanging with a bad crowd that drinks alcohol, does drugs and shoots strangers with BB guns while joyriding around Las Vegas. Not even intermittent run-ins with the law or having cops reading him the riot act seem to bother the boy.
At the end of her rope, his exasperated mother (Diane Venora) opts to try a tough love approach to save her son’s life. So, she hires a couple of goons to kidnap him and whisk him away to a private hospital out of the country to detox. Though she can get away with this tactic legally, since he’s still a minor, the ploy ultimately backfires because the institution’s militaristic approach only grates on Andrew’s nerves.
And the more he continues to rebel, the more mental and physical abuse he has to endure, and the overall experience only adds to his already substantial host of emotional woes. For, not only is the sensitive kid addicted and in mourning, but now he also hates his sadistic captors and his mom for condemning him to such an inflexible environment.
This scary scenario sets the table of Self-Medicated, a semi-autobiographical bio-pic written, directed and starring Monty Lapica. The multi-talented wunderkind apparently endured an ordeal similar to that of his protagonist, and has carefully crafted an absorbing tale he was obviously well-qualified to relate.
The movie has been making the rounds of film festivals around the world, gobbling up awards at every stop, about 40 in all thusfar. This is understandable, as Lapica certainly grades out highly for a first-time filmmaker. He shot Self-Medicated on 35mm as opposed to video, so it looks like the real deal, not like the student flicks you usually get in debut offerings nowadays.
Still, the movie suffers from one serious flaw, namely, Mr. Lapica’s choice of himself to star in the picture. Now 24, he’s simply a little long in the tooth to try to pass for a teenager. And as you watch him petulantly acting out or flying into a rage, you’re constantly having to remind yourself that you’re supposedly watching a minor, not an adult.
That’s a man, baby!

Good (2 stars)
Rated R for sexuality, profanity, violence, mature themes and drug abuse.
Running time: 107 minutes
Studio: ThinkFilm

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