Alt-Genre: Critically-acclaimed Substance-fueled Adventures

When feature-length movies were first produced in the early twentieth century, drugs and alcohol were almost exclusively viewed as villainous. As moviemaking and society progressed, films such as Easy Rider were able to rectify some of the negative stereotypes of users and present them in a more realistic light. The films picked from the genre ranged across a vast timeline, as the genre has been steadily growing since the 1960’s. All of the following films share dynamic storytelling intertwined with frequent use of illegal chemicals, featuring plots as volatile as the main protagonist’s emotional state.


Fear and Loathing: Adapted from the classic Hunter S. Thompson novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is an obvious choice for this genre. The film features a young Johnny Depp who plays a journalist on a less-than-healthy bender in Las Vegas.


Requiem for a Dream: One of the more tragic picks for the genre, as its ending features one of the protagonists engaging in graphic prostitution for a small amount of heroin. However, this film has become a cult classic and its dark and gritty style definitely contributes to its unique feel.


Blow: The original story of Pablo Escobar is less realistic than Narcos, but tells a story that has the potential to be more relatable, as it mostly takes place on US soil. Of the chosen films, Blow features the best pacing and is the most on par with the Adventure genre.


Trainspotting: My favorite film of the bunch and one of my all time favorite movies showcases a group of Scottish degenerates who’re all willing to screw each other over for a hit of heroin. With larger than life characters and an interesting take on magical realism, Trainspotting succeeds in being one of the best European films from its era.

by Alex Velicki


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