Junked (1999) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This film was reviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle on November 12, 2004 because it was playing at two theaters in the Bay Area.

Anything seem weird about that?

Look at the film's date! Lensed in 1998, shown at one film festival in 1999, Junked made its grand theatrical appearance five or six years after it was filmed.

The Chronicle was not entirely enthusiastic, by the way.

"Junked is a vile film about vile people, with vile acting, vile writing, vile direction and a score by Kurt Weill. OK, leave off that last part. It's a low-budget 77 minutes made up mostly of scenes showing criminal low-lives cursing at each other, as caught by a wildly shaking camera. It's almost unwatchable. "

I don't quite agree with that review. I have a real problem with the word "almost." To illustrate my point, I offer exhibit A, an actual frame captured from the film and shown below without any modification:


The plot revolves around a street hustler who tries to go straight to save himself and his kid sister from a life of drugs, prostitution and degradation.  This crime drama was allegedly "inspired by actual events." There's no indication what those events might have been, but surely one of them was the big bang, which gave birth to the physical universe, and without which this fine film might never have been made.

Much of the film takes place in a derelict warehouse, specifically in a room with shattered windows, graffiti-painted walls, and an old mattress in the center. It's basically a play with one set and four characters who hang out and debate about what they should do. Their concept of debate is that any argument is won by the person who speaks the loudest. A lot like "Crossfire." They spend so much time waiting for things to happen that Godot would get bored. In fact, I think Godot showed up and decided to seek some livelier action.

Bad movie. The Chronicle had it right. It could not be much worse. Bad sound editing. Overacting. Weak direction. Weak script.

Bad DVD as well. Barely above VHS quality, if at all. No features, not anamorphically enhanced, and ridiculously overpriced at $26.99.

The only possible reasons to watch this film are the following:

1) Thomas Jane and Jordan Ladd have become fairly big stars since this was lensed, and you may be curious about their pre-fame efforts. The writer/director of this film originally wrote it as a play in which Jane played the lead role, a street hustler named Switch. When the play was converted to a screenplay, Jane continued to play the role he had originated on stage. Switch is a bi-sexual ... a switch-hitter, get it? Interestingly, Jane broke through as another switch hitter, playing Mickey Mantle in 61*.

2) Jordan shows her bum for a few frames, walks around in her underwear, and provides a few very impressive downblouse looks at her cleavage.



  • No features
  • There is a widescreen transfer, but it is letterboxed, not anamorphically enhanced for 16x9 screens.


See the main commentary.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews online except for the S.F. Chronicle critique, which is cited and linked above.


The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is an F, a totally unwatchable movie, despite Thomas Jane and Jordan Ladd.

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