Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
The opening scene in Monty Lapica's "Self Medicated" is a particularly chilling exercise in antisocial behavior. A car filled with out-of-control teenagers cruises the Strip in Las Vegas, shooting at tourists with paint guns. This is the sort of behavior, like using laser pointers illegally, that you hope doesn't leak out to numbskulls at large. One of the kids is Andrew (played by Lapica himself), who is usually high on street drugs, allegedly because he mourns the death of his beloved father.
As most drug counselors will advise you, drug abuse has to be seen separately from the "problems" that "inspire" it. The majority of drunks and druggies use today because they used yesterday, and that's why they will use again tomorrow. I remember a guy in O'Rourke's who said he was drinking "because it's Christmas." Informed that he had missed the mark by three days, he said, "OK, then, I'm drinking because it isn't Christmas."
Whatever his reasons, Andrew is out of control. He has walked out of school, he hates his pill-addicted mom (Diane Venora), and she can't get it together to really talk to him, let alone help him. So she makes a call and attendants from a "treatment center" pounce on him in the middle of the night and haul him away. This is staging an intervention big time.
The film, said to be somewhat autobiographical, is critical both of Andrew and his treatment. Unlike portrayals you may have seen of the wise and useful Betty Ford or Hazelden centers, this (fictional) outfit in St. George, Utah, treats its patients as prisoners, adopts a good cop/bad cop counseling regime and apparently plans to send patients to American Samoa to complete their "recovery" as forced labor. I am not making this up; it's inspired, I understand, by an actual treatment center, since shut down, although not the one Lapica attended.