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Wasted (2002)

Directed by Stephen Kay Written by Craig Machen

  **While everything in this film is fictional, it was based on true events that happened in Plano, TX in 1998. MTV had produced a documentary in which discussed 15 teenagers that had died of heroin overdoses within 2 years** Our story follows a group of three friends who had been in each other’s lives for as long as they could remember. Samantha (Summer Phoenix) narrates the tale as she explains their last year in High School bringing the usual worries of everyday senioritis. But as well something more complicated than that. Told mainly through her eyes as well as a “party view” (as I call it) because of the constant movements and portrayals of scenes (It’d be like looking at certain scenes with beer goggles on).

Beginning at a party we see the three leads enjoying their off time, Owen (Aaron Paul) and Samantha perhaps a bit more with their habit. Chris (Nick Stahl) shows a bit later showing concern for Sam; later finding her passed out in the bathroom of which they end up rushing her to the hospital for. Her father later arrives with only a few words so as to not come off in the “wrong way.” Though what mainly seemed to upset him was that his daughter was a “straight A student and would never be capable of such behavior.” I wasn’t aware there were qualifications on such. Instructed to attend NA (Narcotics Anonymous) and the suggestion to have a peer assist in rides leads to Chris being the generous one and offering his services. Back at school we see the three in their typical surroundings and how things have seemed to change in the slightest. Home life had proved a bit difficult for all three and their relationship with one another dampened due to the recent events. Samantha’s father (Andrew Airlie) tries to have a heart to heart but doesn’t get much in return. Chris has a hard time with his father leaving his mother for someone only a couple of years older than him. Owen gets pulled further in the world of heroine without any concern for his girlfriend’s new found sober ways. Which left room for Chris and Sam to get closer as he took her to meetings regularly, eventually replacing Owen who continued to show a lack of respect for the true matter at hand.

Things begin to change once Owen ditches class to get Wasted with fellow classmate Brad, who goes to sleep and never wake up in his car. Owens’ mother holds a gathering for his friend as he is confronted by Chris who advises to think twice if under the assumption that Sam wouldn’t go back to him, given time. That not only couldn’t he believe he had just lost a friend but that he still wanted to use because he liked it and enjoyed how it made him feel, that whether he liked it, Sam liked that feeling too. After of which the two separate from Owen and begin spending time with one another as a means of staying away from the one constantly encouraging their bad behavior. Owen spirals back into the same black hole that had swallowed 10 other victims by that point. Sam seems to be angry at first by Chris’ obvious change in mood yet jumps right back into the swing of things feeling like a “family” once again. They bring in 16-year-old Amy (Britt Irvin) to complete their dysfunctional bunch though she didn’t “use,” preferring to drink and steal. Getting off on the thrill of not getting caught. The downhill of their roller coaster ride bringing mostly despair for Chris as he gets kicked off track, gets caught using by his mother and shoplift’s as Sam removes herself completely from Owens destructive path. She embarks on a 10 day rehab and finds out she had gotten into the college wanted. Things began looking up until they hear of Amy slipping into a coma after Owen assisted in her first try using. Of which his main concern becomes the stuff he still had back at his parents, asking Chris to run by and get it. Sam makes Chris promise he won’t go over to get the stuff but breaks it anyway as his fix seemed most important at the moment. Meeting his demise it seems Samantha was the only one fortunate enough to break free of her involvement all together and start new.

I hadn’t known of the incident in Plano so it had been interesting to see the movie in that sense, terrible thing to hear of happening anywhere. The movie itself had a very indie documentary feel to it, speaking in the manner it was shot. The three leads were not really believable as a bunch of seniors (except Paul) but nice choices regardless. They were all relatable in some aspect and didn’t feel as though you had to force yourself to believe that these three would be in this predicament. Phoenix sort of moseyed through the movie, though her eyes were quite striking. I most enjoyed Stahl’s transition from start to finish, he was random yet charming. He had been the only one of the three that hadn’t been hooked on the stuff and had been the most promising to end up getting lost in his fixation that was leaked through his relations. The character of Owen had the possibility of facing 30 years if convicted, though that was a pretty big crack to leave open. My mind started playing out if he had gone to trial and what may have happened, if Amy would wake up prior and whether that would play into the trial; all sorts of things that a story of fiction should not leave one to wonder.