Movies Ruined By Drugs

So I was thinking about “Down and Dirty Duck” a movie I saw years ago that seemed to me to be the product of people who’d taken WAAAAAAAY too much acid back in the 60s and 70s.

And I wondered if there were other movies out there that had been clearly ruined by drugs. I googled “Movies ruined by drugs” and found page after page of listings about celebrities ruined by drugs, and people ruined by drugs, but not a single listing about movies ruined by drugs.

I remember reading a lot about Spielberg’s “1942” being one long cocaine binge, and I think “Modern Problems” had the same rep. So I know there’s movies out there that have that drug rep. But apparently it’s not a recognized “thing” or Google would surely have had at least ONE hit among the top 50 about it.

So I thought I’d turn to you, the Dopers of CS, I bet you know of drug-addled movies if they are out there. What say you?

And yes, alcohol is DEFINITELY a drug.

If you listen to a lot of behind the scenes interviews it seems like most movies in the 70s and 80s were just one long binge. So I guess the bad ones were ruined by it and the good ones were enhanced. :cool:

I remember 1941 being panned. In fact it may be he first movie filmed under the misconception that everyone screaming “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA” over and over is funny. And at the time, I didn’t care for it.

But I watched it not too long ago. And between it’s hugely recognizable cast and some funny bits, I think it’s earned its cult status. I liked Modern Problems at the time, and would probably still like it. There’s really only one Chevy Chase. What an odd guy.

If Hearts of Drakness is to be believed the film which it documents Apocalypse Now was almost ruined by drug and alcohol use by most the film’s primary actors. Martin Sheen had a heart attack from his drinking and stress, Dennis Hopper is shown having barely lucid arguments with director Francis Ford Coppola and Marlon Brando’s drug use/abuse can clearly be presumed given his odd and disoriented behavior.

Most films are prevented from being hurt too badly by drug use/abuse by the fact that the editors are rarely high themselves and that most studios retain the right of final cut. If directors and performers were allowed to create the “finished product” it’s likely than many films would be shambling, barely coherent messes.

I’ve seen a lot of movies that were ruined by drugs. Some of them got a lot better on the second viewing.

Yeah, I had no idea what the fuck was happening the first time I saw Avengers.

Ironically, weed ruined Cheech and Chong for me. I watched the movie, but at the time I had had so much weed (and then the dude’s parents showed up and pulled out the hash!) that I was just out like a light for pretty much the whole thing.

I do not listen to a lot of behind the scenes interviews. And I suspect many films have had important players using drugs during their production, I’m looking for movies that were clearly drug-addled binges. I did not think 1941 was all that bad, but then again, it was a Speilberg film, and those are usually pretty damn good. Modern Problems, however, was a disjointed mess. I can believe it was the product of a few drug binges.

The one clear case for me was Fritz the Cat. Yechhh! (circa 1972)

I think the canonical example of this is Skidoo.

Dennis Hopper’s The Last Movie was basically Hopper and all his buddies getting fucked up in Peru. IMDb’s trivia page on it is pretty good, as is Ebert’s review.

You may be interested in Peter Biskind’s Easy Riders, Raging Bulls a history of the 70s film movement, complete with tales of drug use, casual sex, and ruined careers.

A lot of the blame for Beyond the Valley of the Dolls fell on the late Roger Ebert. It was his first (only?) screenplay, when he’d hardly established himself as a critic, he was young, didn’t know what he was doing, so it must have been his fault it was an incoherent, raunchy mess, right? Having seen it, however, I think the DP and director were seriously tripping. Maybe the post production people as well: editor, sound designer. The joke was on Ebert in more ways than one.

(He also wouldn’t be the first screenwriter to moan, “It’s not the movie I wrote…”)

If you listened to the late Harold Ramis he said Caddyshack was a drug-addled binge. But it turned out OK.

SOMETHING has to explain Terence Malick’s offensively nonsensical The Thin Red Line. Traditionally, I’ve believed that to have been cocaine, but I admit it could have been other drugs.

If you believe Bob Woodard’s bio of John Belushi, Wired, the film version of The Blues Brothers was held up for weeks mainly due to the fact that Belushi & Carrie Fisher spent so much time practically barricaded in Belushi’s trailer getting stoned.

Also, the 1963 “epic” Cleopatra is the quintessential case study of a film ruined by disastrous backstage problems. Not the least of which was that stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were clearly more interested in having an affair and indulging in massive appetites for food, alcohol and drugs.
Another example of a movie ‘ruined’ by drug use (though not in the way the OP had in mind) was the mid 90s indie film The Watermelon Woman. This film is a fictional account of the RL film-maker trying to make a documentary about a 30s actress known only as “the Watermelon Woman.” It’s an interesting conceit, and the film touches on the topics of the depiction of race both in race and in real life.

At one point in the film, police officers see the young (African-American) film-maker walking along the street with expensive film equipment and do a stop & search on her. They demand to know where she got the cameras, frisk her, and examine her for signs of drug use. The implication being that a black woman carrying expensive looking MUST HAVE stolen it, with the intent of selling it for drug money.

Now, this is a very real problem in America, and one deserving of being explored in a movie. There’s just one problem…the central character IS shown in several scenes clearly smoking pot. No, it’s not crack but it pot was still an illegal drug in '96. And people have stolen things to fuel even a pot habit. I kept watching the movie wondering “How am I supposed to empathize with a person lamenting that she’s being unfairly labelled a drug user, when in fact, she IS a drug user??” It was a rather awkward flaw in a movie I otherwise liked a lot.

Maximum Overdrive was the only movie directed by Stephen King. He has said he was coked out his mind during the whole production and had no idea what he was doing.

totally agreed

The movie wasn’t ruined, but while watching the indie movie Bellflower, I noticed that every character in the film was constantly drinking alcohol in every single scene. They weren’t drunk or anything, but since the writer, director, and lead actor were all the same person, it gave one the distinct feeling that in his view of daily life, to constantly have a drink in your hand is just how people live life. It gave me an ill foreboding for his future.

Has Carrie Fisher ever addressed this? I have not read her books but from what I understand she didn’t hold anything back.