It’s no secret that Hollywood has a fascination with drugs. No – not those kind of drugs – that’s too easy, I’m thinking more along the lines of the pharmaceutical kind. But for every action there is a reaction and as Steven Soderbergh has proven recently, sometimes the side effects can be just as memorable as the drug itself. My time at FilmCrave.com has afforded me the opportunity to watch a wide variety of film – many of them involving miracle cures and amazing results… but oh those pesky consequences. These are a few of my favorites.
What scientist hasn’t dreamed about curing something like cancer? Other than AIDS it may be the holy grail of all breakthroughs. In the beginning of I Am Legend, we are treated to a brief segment that cancer has indeed been cured – before jumping to the present where New York is an overgrown ghost city where wild animals roam freely and Will Smith is apparently the only human – well, normal human anyway. Seems the miracle cancer cure decided to mutate and turn regular people into vampire-like creatures. It’s not good when the cure turns out to be worse than the disease, speaking of which…
We can look to Mimic – in which a (fictional) disease carried by the common cockroach is wrecking havoc on Manhattan (man, New York just gets all the fun diseases) – particularly children. In order to prevent an entire generation from dying, an entymologist bio-engineers an insect to get rid of cockroaches – a tall order considering that the cockroach is nigh indestructible. But luckily the new mutant insect is just a cockroach-killing machine – and is supposed to die off after a generation. Of course, it doesn’t, instead it evolves and decides that killing cockroaches isn’t enough – humans are the real threat – so it does what it was engineered to do – mimics humans and kills them off. Okay – so not quite a drug, but it’s close enough.
How about something a little more lighthearted? Depression is well, it’s just damn depressing, isn’t it? Who wouldn’t want to be happy all the time! Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy gives us a drug which allows a person to relive their happiest memory – thus: happy! But, oh wait, it also traps you in that memory until you fall into a happiness coma, which is really depressing. The best part of the movie is the “cure” to this – a drug that makes you relive your worst memory ever and cry profusely – and most likely leading to the same thing on the other end. Meaning you have to constantly take both drugs to cancel things out – man, it’s the drug lottery! I’m surprised some terrible company hasn’t put this into production yet.
However, these drugs are all peanuts compared to the absolute killer drug in Limitless. Although it has the generic name of NZT-48, the drug essentially turns you into the world’s most interesting man – with 100% brain power activated! Seduce women! Learn new languages in record time! Super senses! Predict the stock market! The only downside is that it doesn’t mix well with alcohol and you have to take it constantly because withdrawal is hell. I don’t know if the ending makes me happy or scared. As much as I like Bradley Cooper, one has to think that with the drug that saying about absolute power corrupting absolutely would eventually come true. You could give the most virtuous, wise man that drug and he would change – and probably not for the better.
Experimental drugs play such an important part in films – and I’ve just listed a few of my favorites. You can find other in such diverse films as 28 Days Later (Rage!) to Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Making Monkey’s smart while at the same time wiping out humanity – brilliant!). Have fun seeing how many others you can come up with.
Chris Kavan is a prolific reviewer and chief blogger for FilmCrave.com and he doesn’t need drugs – he’s high on life!