why Cranky is in pain
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Starring Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller,
Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle, and Kelly MacDonald
Based on the novel by Irvine Welsh
Directed by Danny Boyle

You know a film has its tongue planted firmly up its cheek when it uses Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life" as a theme for a story about a bunch of slacker heroin addicts whose sole lust is not for life, but for the next hit.

You know a film has its goal-in-life values totally screwed up when it puts down owning a "****ing big television" as one of the most important things in life. (Which of course it is, to those of us who have pasted ourselves two feet away from a fifty inch screen with the laser disk spinning and Dolby Surround Sound blasting Jurassic Park at us from all sides.) You know a film is prepared to take it from all sides (particularly the right wing) when it fails to preach against drug usage, unprotected (for that matter underage) sex, welfare, and uses four letter words the way three-year-olds ask the question, "Why?"

The film is called Trainspotting, and it is rude, crude, gross, disgusting, and more to the point disgustingly funny. Yes, it features a bunch of slacker heroin addicts whose lust is solely for the next hit, but in its bluntness it sets the stage for one of the most anti-drug movies of all time.

But that isn't the point of Trainspotting, the story of one Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) and aptly named friends Spud (Ewen Bramner) and Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller). These excuses for human beings spend their lives committing petty crimes, conniving ways to stay unemployed and on the dole, lying to their parents about their drug usage, sucking their friends down into the toilet with 'em and spending the night in the local discos looking for a place to park it. Add to the mix the psychotic drunkard Begbie (Robbert Carlyle) and a there-when-they-feel-like-it pair of girlfriends and you have the basic set up.

It sounds vile, but Trainspotting is viciously funny in a manner that only gross-out comedies could wish for. Every disgusting thing that plays out on screen -- and I do mean disgusting in the "number two" sense -- fits perfectly in context with the story that is happening on screen.

What little story I will tell you is this: Renton is the only one who tries to make the journey back to "normalcy," not necessarily because he really in his heart wants to; but because his parents lock him in a room and force him to go cold turkey. Though not the most effective sequence in the movie, running voice-over commentary keeps you up to date on everything that is going through the Renton's head.

Problem is, his friends' lives are devoted to the needle and the farther away he gets -- London from Scotland in this case -- the harder they come after him to drag him down. How Renton shakes the needle, how he shakes the scum of former friends off himself plays out in the more sober second half of the film. I won't give that away either, except to say that there are no guns and no spurting fountains of blood. This is a British film.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price for Trainspotting, he would have paid . . .


maybe $7.50

If you have problems with obscenities, onscreen drug usage or can't understand a lower-class Scottish accent for the life of you, don't pay the cash. Otherwise do.

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