Jesus’ Son (1999)

“Does everything you touch turn to shit? Does this happen to you every time?” I’ve never seen a film where the main character is known simply as “Fuckhead.” Seriously, everybody calls this guy “Fuckhead” and he lives up to the name. The story takes place in the early ’70s and involves the picaresque adventures of FH, a totally stoned loser who drifts through life without much of a care in the world. Billy Crudup, an underrated actor who reminds me somewhat of Vincent Gallo’s character in Buffalo ’66, plays the drug-addicted FH. The surreal, hallucinatory-style movie, which was directed by Alison Maclean and adapted from a collection of short stories by Denis Johnson (Tree of Smoke), travels back and forth in time, much like the method of Slaughterhouse-Five. Samantha Morton effectively portrays FH’s heroin-addicted girlfriend, Michelle. Jack Black nearly steals the show as “Georgie,” an insane hospital orderly who steals drugs and takes FH on a road trip from hell. Favorite scenes include FH and Wayne (Denis Leary) stripping a house to sell the wires, FH accidentally squashing the baby rabbits, the patient with the knife sticking out of his eyeball, the car accident where FH “miraculously” emerges unscathed and FH becoming fascinated with a Mennonite couple while working at a rehab facility in Arizona. Holly Hunter and Dennis Hopper make cameos in this thing—if you go to the refrigerator for another beer you’ll probably miss them (don’t worry, their roles don’t add up to much). When the credits finally roll, you’ll find yourself scratching your head, thinking, “just what the fuck was that all about, anyway?” By the way, don’t mistake this film with The Jesus Trip [1971], the story of a biker gang that kidnaps a nun—starring Tippy Walker and Billy “Green” Bush. If you’re wondering, the title was taken from the lyrics of “Heroin” by The Velvet Underground.

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