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click for full size poster

200 Cigarettes

Starring Ben Affleck, Dave Chappelle, Janeane Garofalo, Courtney Love, Jay Mohr, Martha Plimpton and Christina Ricci and a whole buncha other fine folk
Screenplay by Shana Larsen
Directed by Risa Bramon Garcia
website: www.200cigarettes.com

IN SHORT: Best soundtrack of the year. Rated [R]

Cranky wishes he could remember where he partied on New Year's Eve 1981/82, the setting for 200 Cigarettes which just screened in a theater built next to the former rock club that I spent 5 nights out of every seven at. It was a very long time ago. Your humble critic pauses this review, for a moment, to reflect on the fact that sitting through so many movies has made me a helluva lot less anal retentive then he used to be. Cranky knows this for a fact 'cuz he didn't break out the Big Book of Billboard Record Charts to make sure that music coordinator Christopher S. Parker didn't license a single song recorded after 1982 for the movie soundtrack. Once upon a time I would have. . Now, I just lay back and cruise the heavy duty wave of nostalgia that 200 Cigarettes generated for me. Yeah, that was me in the second row, singing along with incredibly obscure songs by Rachel Sweet and Blue Angel (Cyndi Lauper's first band to you youngsters).

Oh. You want to know about the movie??? 200 Cigarettes is a perfectly plain and serviceable piece of movie making. It's totally enjoyable and good date flick fodder, the only drawback being a cast too large to be easily followed by my feeble excuse for a brain. So here's a handy checklist:

Cindy (Kate Hudson) is the walking disaster area who has just given her virginity to Jack (Jay Mohr), who suffers the curse of having every woman he sleeps with fall in love with him. Ben Affleck is the dweeb bartender who will be hit on by Caitlyn (Angela Featherstone) and Bridget (Nicole Parker) and Lucy (Courtney Love), but not by Lucy's pal Kevin (Paul Rudd). By the end of the night they'll all be at a mother of all New Year's Eve party being thrown by the incredibly neurotic Monica (Martha Plimpton), ex girlfriend of Eric (Brian McCardie) a lousy lay who's soon to be the ex-boyfriend of Bridget. The visiting team, from Ronkonkoma Long Island, consists of the very underaged Val (Christina Ricci) and her pal Stephie (Gaby Hoffman) who will get lost in Alphabet City (avenues A through D on New York's lower east side), go pogo'ing with pseudo punks Tom (Casey Affleck) and Dave (Guillero Diaz) while searching for Monica's party. Kevin's ex, Ellie (Janeane Garofalo) as well as most of the rest of the cast, will take a cab ride with the Disco Cabbie (Dave Chappelle). Elvis Costello plays Elvis Costello, a rock star of that time.

Hell, I'm confused and I've got press notes. I can only suggest that you make like you would at any crowded party and pay attention only to the faces. You'll recall the important names (which would be Caitlyn, who has got the 80s look absolutely nailed). Even better, take a date and make out to the music. From the first drumbeat of Bow Wow Wow's I Want Candy right to the final remix of Blondie's Rapture, it's the soundtrack of this flick that takes the kudos from this old man. [click here for the full list though I cant vouch what will make it to soundtrack cd]. The rest of the score is by Bob and Mark Mothersbaugh, which doesn't explain the glaring absence of Devo on the soundtrack. The brothers must be humble.

By my estimate, 200 Cigarettes is the number of smokes consumed during the full running time of the flick. That's why we smoked dope back in the Eighties. It was helluva lot cheaper than a carton of cancer sticks.

It was also a very long time ago.

But it's a helluva fun flick.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to 200 Cigarettes, he would have paid...

$5.00

Like I said, date flick. Me? What I didn't pay for my pair of preview tix will more than pay for the CD. Lucky me.

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2016   by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.