I have a quick story. It doubles as a cautionary parable, though, so stick with it:
When I was 18 and away at college for the first time, I was thrilled to finally be outside my parents’ reach. So, as many incoming college freshmen do, I went out of control. I pierced my ears! I ate ice cream for breakfast sometimes. And sometimes—don’t tell my mom!—I played Atari before I did my homework.
That same autumn, Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream came to theaters. I was so excited! I couldn’t wait to see my first NC-17 movie! So five or six of us freshmen met up, boarded the train together, and headed into the big city to buy our tickets. I remember the train ride into Chicago: everyone was laughing, jostling one another, slapping high fives. We were all so full of hope back then.
Then we watched the movie.
On the train ride home, we were silent. We couldn’t bring ourselves to speak; we couldn’t even look at one another. We were scared witless. I am pretty sure we also sat as far from one another as possible.
I never saw any of those students ever again. We all literally never spoke again.
In the years since, I have always advised friends who are thinking of watching Requiem for the first time to just, uh, try not to watch it with someone they think they might like. Take it from me: it is far too easy to project the trauma of watching that movie onto whoever was sitting next to you at the time.
Well! OK! I think you’re all set to watch some anti-drug PSAs directed by Darren Aronofsky now! (After the jump! Whee!)
Are you sure about this? Seriously? OK.
Aronofsky directed four 30-second spots in all, but in the interest of your time, let’s go right to the grisliest one.
But remember: try not to watch it with a friend! It might cast a dark cloud over your lunch date later.
Now, I personally felt, the first time I watched it, like the camera held too steadily on the scene’s action, y’know, maybe a little overlong—I’m sorry, am I even allowed to deconstruct a drug PSA?—and, although I was duly horrified as gravity set in, by its very end I was going Okaaaaaaaaaay, I got it.
Then, the second time I watched it (what is wrong with me), I think I was much more horrified.
So! I will definitely scratch off “harrowing meth addiction” from today’s to-do list. Maybe I’ll start jogging or something, too.
(Screenshot via Pop2it.)