Spun (2003) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

I'm not sure exactly how to describe this movie, but here's my best shot. Imagine if they remade "Requiem for a Dream" as a comedy.

Spun uses all kinds of visual pyrotechnics and fast cuts to recreate the feeling of taking a drug, specifically crystal meth. In addition to the effects that it generates with rapid-fire editing and surrealistic sets, the film adds additional craziness through depraved animated sequences, as well as wildly exaggerated characters and situations. In short, you get a darkly humorous view of what it's like to take meth and live in the meth word, without having to go through the trouble of actually taking the drug or hanging around with the losers who build their lives on it. Spun was originally intended to be a documentary called The Cook, primarily about the people who make crystal meth (called "cooks"). In the process of researching the project, writer Will de los Santos rode for three days with a cook, then scrapped his documentary to write this screenplay, which is a fictional retelling of those three crazy days.

Is it an anti-drug film? You could view it that way, but no, not really. It shows the users and even the dealers living in squalor and thinking hazily. It shows some of them getting arrested or shot by the police or others "in the scene". It shows people blowing things and themselves up while creating the drug. But that's only because those things happen. It keeps the real tragedy of drug use at arm's length in the process of re-creating the experiences, the aggression, the mood-shifts, and the effects of sleep deprivation. The film doesn't try to create sympathy or empathy for any characters. The law enforcement people in the film are just as fumbling and unattractive as the druggies. The victims seem to deserve to be victims. That aloofness keeps the movie from being deeply involving, but it does have a truly demented and often brilliant comic sensibility.

John Leguizamo plays the dealer, with his usual manic energy and uninhibited lower-class "I'm evil, but kinda nice" persona. Mickey Rourke plays the tough guy who cooks the product. Jason Schwartzman and Patrick Fugit play the everyday users who don't really seem to belong in this world. As Shakespeare once said, they are merely douchebags adrift among scumbags.

Maybe the Bard's wording was slightly different.

The supporting players include:


  • Brittany Murphy strips in a bikini.
  • Chloe Hunter spends almost the entire film tied spread-eagle to a bed. In the deleted footage, there is even an open leg shot.
  • Charlotte Ayanna shows pokies
  • There are some other miscellaneous topless strippers, snippets from porno films, images of porno mags and videos, and nasty x-rated cartoons.
  • John Leguizamo appears for several minutes wearing only a cock-sock.
  • Mena Suvari, who talks and fidgets non-stop as a chick whose brain has been fried by meth.

  • Eric Roberts, as a gay druglord.

  • Ron Jeremy, as a bartender in a strip club.

  • Brittany Murphy, as Rourke's bimbonic but good-hearted girlfriend.

  • A green dog.

  • Peter Stormare and Alexis Arquette as some insane, glory-hungry cops. (Credited as "mullet cop" and "moustache cop".)

  • A woman who is naked through the entire film. This role is played by Chloe Hunter. You don't realize it, but you've already seen her tummy. Everyone has. She body-doubled for Mena Suvari in the famous poster for American Beauty (right). If you want to hire Chloe, here is her professional info. She also has a home page at www.chloehunter.com, where you can see pictures of her as a little kid and a high school cheerleader, etc. She seems very nice, the classic girl next door.

I ask you, how can you go wrong with a movie that features Ron Jeremy, Mickey Rourke, and Eric Roberts?

DVD info from Amazon

  • widescreen anamorphic 1.85:1

  • deleted scenes

  • two different commentary tracks

The unrated version of the DVD is crazy. John Leguizamo spends the last third of the film stark naked except for a sock on his dick. Chloe Hunter is stark naked for virtually the entire movie. (Summoned in the middle of sex, Schwartzman leaves Chloe tied up on the bed when his drugmaster calls. Of course, being a complete druggie, he forgets about her and leaves her there for three days.)


Spun (2003) is a brilliantly filmed portrait of the Crystal Meth culture, including pusher, cook, and assorted speed freaks. The story takes place over the course of three days, while everyone is on a speed trip. The cast, which included Mickey Rourke and Ron Jeremy, together with the cutting and special effects, gave a compelling insight into what Crystal addiction must be like. Nothing was glamorized, not were any moral judgments presented, although it was obvious, once again, that drugs suck.

It was a somewhat easier watch than more serious films about drug abuse due to the very dark comedy, but I couldn't relate to any of the characters. While I admire the effort put into the film, and see its strong points, it was not a movie I could really enjoy, other than the full frontal nudity from Chloe Hunter, who spent the entire film naked and tied to a bed.

The Critics Vote

  • Roger Ebert 3/4

The People Vote ...

  • It grossed only $400,000 in the USA, never reaching more than 24 screens.


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.

My 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. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. 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. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. 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-.

Based on this description, Scoop says, "this is a C+. It is a film which is a very effective roller-coaster experience - it's a thrill ride, not a thought piece. It uses a frenetic pace and a heavy dose of gallows humor to capture the feel and look of a drug high and the drug world. It is made very well, but for a small audience. This might have been a hit if there were some likeable characters. As is, it's just too aloof to reach a big audience, but it definitely has a kick".  Tuna says, "It is a very well made film, but targeted to a very narrow audience. C+"

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