Wednesday, August 1, 2018


I love John Callahan's cartoons, and have since they first began appearing. And I loved his story, an alcoholic who became a quadriplegic after a drunken accident, lost all hope, then got sober and became one of the most widely impactful cartoonists of his time.

Now Gus Van Sant has made a movie based on Callahan's memoir of the same name, and it is the best movie about recovery from active alcoholism ever. The first movie (or TV show) where we get to see people in recovery laughing instead of always looking desperately glum, using the gallows humor common among all kinds of survivors, and in a way that lets everyone in on the joke.

And though I often think Joaquin Phoenix is miscast (and the hair in this flick doesn't help), I always appreciate his total commitment to the characters he plays. And he certainly gets into playing his version of Callahan with his usual intensity. But the real revelation in the terrific cast is Jonah Hill, who deserves an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for this one.

As does Van Sant for the screenplay and directing. [Full disclosure, I wrote some of the voiceover for one of Van Sant's previous masterpieces, DRUGSTORE COWBOY, and Gus took the photo used for the cover of my new book ANOTHER WAY TO PLAY.] See this movie!

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