Prescription Thugs Review
There is a cold-blooded killer on the loose. It comes in many shapes and many sizes. It has so many aliases and names that its hard to keep them all on track. It has taken the lives of Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson and Mike "Mad Dog" Bell. This killer is a drug. Its not heroine and its not cocaine. Its methamphetamine or marijuana or LSD. In fact, this drug is legal and you can get them from your doctor or even your local Walgreens. Yes, its true. Director Christopher Bell sought out to make a movie about this killer and how our need for prescriptions has turned us into addicts of a different kind of drug war.
I have been a wrestling fan for many years, but I had never heard of Mike "Mad Dog" Bell. But he was one of those wrestlers you throw into the ring when you need someone to lose. He could have had a very good career as a professional wrestler, until he started to get hurt a lot and needed painkillers to ease the injuries. This need slowly began to turn into an addiction, and it took Mad Dog's life. Christopher and his other brother Mark struggled with prescription drugs. In the world of wrestling it was easy to get the things you need in order to keep yourself healthy. But you can find that in most sports. Christopher Bell interviews several athletes from a host of different types of sports, all of whom have haunting stories about their time with prescription drugs. It doesn't just stop with sports, but for anything. Turn on your television and you will see a commercial for a pill that will make you feel better about something. The thing is, people are starting to get addicted to the very pills that are trying to save their lives. When do we look at this and see the problem that it is?
The film is at its best when its describing how dangerous the world of prescription drugs have become. It also discusses how hard it is to break the mold we are in because America feeds on the culture of addiction. I totally identify with the idea that Americans never want to admit when somethings wrong or when they feel bad, everything has to be good all the time. If its not, then there has to be a quick fix for the least amount of effort. I definitely see that. I can understand also that drug companies, like many big money corporations, pour money into political campaigns so that the government won't touch them. Its a powerful message and when Christopher is discussing this, his movie really rolls.
But then at moments, he pauses his movie to discuss how prescriptions hurt his family. While I feel very bad for the guy, it kind of confuses his movies. The family moments are so personal, so heartfelt and so brutal that it feels like a completely different movie. It feels like I am watching some kind of reality thing, when I want to watch a documentary about prescription drugs. That is how out of sync those moments feel.
But, despite the minor missteps, I think "Prescription Thugs" has a lot to say about the addiction culture America thrives on and how dangerous prescriptions have become. Its a movie that begs us to stop being so chicken-shit, to not be afraid to let people know when they feel bad and to not rush to get a pill that will take everything away. These are real learning moments and they are said with profound precision.
FINAL GRADE: B