Hidden Netflix Gems: Drugstore Cowboy

It’s Saturday night and you need something to watch. Never fear, Hidden Netflix Gems is a weekly feature designed to help you decide just what it should be, and all without having to scroll through endless pages of crap or even leave the house. Each choice will be available for streaming on Netflix Instant, and the link below will take you to its page on the site. Look for a new suggestion here every Saturday. 

This week’s Hidden Netflix Gem: “Drugstore Cowboy” (1989)

“Drugstore Cowboy” became director Gus Van Sant’s breakthrough film following its release in 1989. The film was critically acclaimed, ending up on both Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert’s lists of the top ten films of the year. Today, its rating stands at 100 percent on the Tomatometer. Of course, aggregators like Rotten Tomatoes can be inaccurate for older films, but in this instance the site takes 27 reviews into account. Van Sant went on to receive Academy Award nominations for Best Director for his work on “Good Will Hunting” (1997) and “Milk” (2008).

But back to “Drugstore Cowboy.” The film stars Matt Dillon as Bob Hughes, the leader of a gang of drug addicts travelling the Pacific Northwest in the early 1970s and doing just about anything to get a fix (generally of pharmaceutical opiates, for reasons that will become clear in a moment). Bob’s crew is made up of his wife, Dianne, who’s played by Kelly Lynch, his partner Rick (James Le Gros), and Rick’s new girlfriend, Nadine, who’s played by a 19 year-old Heather Graham. The cast also includes James Remar as Gentry, a police officer whose relationship with Bob is somewhat reminiscent of Ricky and Julian’s interactions with Park Supervisor Jim Lahey in “Trailer Park Boys” (which you know about if you’ve been keeping up with my “Hidden Netflix Gems“). And I can’t not mention that one of the film’s best scenes comes from a cameo by prominent author (and junkie) William S. Burroughs as Tom, a man who’s “shot a million dollars in his arm.” Oh, and who just so happens to be a priest.

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Hidden Netflix Gems: ‘Trailer Park Boys’

It’s Saturday night and you need something to watch. Never fear, Hidden Netflix Gems is a new weekly feature designed to help you decide just what it should be, and all without having to scroll through endless pages of crap or even leave the house. Each choice will be streaming on Netflix Instant, and the link below will take you to its page on the site. Look for a new suggestion here every Saturday. 

This week’s Hidden Netflix Gem: “Trailer Park Boys” (2001-2008)

“Trailer Park Boys” is a Canadian mockumentary series following the exploits of Julian (John Paul Tremblay), Ricky (Robb Wells), and Bubbles (Mike Smith), lifelong friends and serial criminals living in a Nova Scotia trailer park—when they aren’t in jail that is. The three pals run petty scams and dream up get rich quick schemes. They grow pot, act in homemade pornos, run bars out of trailers and sell counterfeit CDs. Most of the time, their plans are so ludicrous they need no help getting caught. Nonetheless, the boys live under the watchful eye of cop turned Trailer Park Supervisor Jim Lahey (John Dunsworth), who’s constantly working to derail their plans. The series might just be the best thing ever to come out of America’s hat, and all seven seasons (55 episodes) are currently available on Netflix Instant.

Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles are surrounded by a colorful cast of characters, the residents of Sunnyvale Trailer Park, each with their own trademark mannerisms and personalities.  There’s wannabe rapper J-Roc (Jonathan Torrens), who honestly believes he’s black (he’s not), and Mr. Lahey’s perpetually shirtless, cheeseburger-loving sidekick, Randy (Patrick Roach). There’s Ricky’s on again, off again girlfriend, Lucy (Lucy Decoutere), his father, Ray (Barrie Dunn), a former trucker pretending to need a wheelchair for a disability check, and his fall-guy sidekicks, Cory (Cory Bowles) and Trevor (Michael Jackson), who are never seen without each other, and many more. A young Ellen Page (“Inception,” “Juno”) appears a few times in the first two seasons, playing Mr. Lahey’s daughter. Silly and stupid as they may be, all the characters are incredibly lovable and relatable.

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