105 Must See Films

105 Must Watch Films: Drugstore Cowboy (1989)


Starring: Matt Dillon, Kelly Lynch, Heather Graham, William Burroughs

Director: Gus Van Sant

They’re very healthy looking for a drug addicted couple, aren’t they?

Matt Dillon plays Bob, the head of a dysfunctional group who consider themselves family. His wife (Lynch) and another couple are along for the ride, whilst Bob makes decisions about who they’ll rob next and creates rules based on superstitions.

Whilst they are all dysfunctional, the dynamic works, but when Bob realises that the police are on to him, and this kind of life cannot go on forever, he decides to give up the drugs, losing his wife, friends, family and power in the process.

It’s  A Must See Because: the way that the film shows addiction and drug use in a non-judgmental way. It’s not about a moral stance, it’s about the kinds of lives that addicts lead, and how the power that the drug has over the person is stronger than love, friendship or logic. It’s also quite a fun film to watch, with humour and pathos in equal measure, (smuggling a body out of a hotel that’s hosting a sheriffs convention is a great example) and an infamous cameo from William S Burroughs, a author and known drug user, and a drug addicted friend of Bob.

See It If: you like your films with a bit of bite as well as humour. It’s a pretty good addition to the drug genre film, with a bit more to say than just making it all look cool.


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