Self-Medicated | Chicago Reader

Self-Medicated

A festival favorite, this debut feature by Las Vegas writer-director-actor Monty Lapica is based on his own experience in juvenile lockdown at Tranquility Bay, a “behavior modification school” located in Saint Elizabeth, Jamaica. With his jock's build, short blond hair, and stony good looks, Lapica doesn't look like a druggie, but he delivers a fierce performance as a high school senior whose nonstop partying finally drives his widowed pill-popping mother (Diane Venora) to sign him into detox. The scenes of his incarceration and escape from the place are gripping, thanks mainly to Michael Bowen as the hard-ass staffer who wants to break him. But the movie slides toward melodrama with some stale business about the hero spreading his late father's ashes and an embarrassing sequence in which a homeless man washes Lapica's car, delivers a benediction, and magically disappears. R, 107 min.

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