Staff Round-Up: White Line Fever

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How can you not love a movie in which Brooke Shields sticks a gun in her mouth and blows her brains out? You can’t. No one could. And so Freeway quickly became a cult classic seven years ago, despite its quiet, straight-to-video release.
    Before Reese Witherspoon was legally blonde, she was illegally bad-ass in this twisted black comedy, a feminist flick in the tradition of Thelma and Louise and Extremities. Fifteen-year-old Vanessa (Witherspoon) is a tad down on her luck: she’s got a crack whore for a mom, a child molester for a stepdad and a gangbanger for a boyfriend. When her parental units get arrested, Vanessa flees social services to avoid further abuse from yet another foster family and takes off for Grandma’s house up I-5. On the way, her car breaks down and she’s picked up by Bob Wolverton (Kiefer Sutherland), a mild-mannered, boy’s-school psychologist who moonlights as a psychotic serial killer. But before he can get to Vanessa, she goes ape shit on his ass, kind of like a white-trash version of Buffy. Somehow, Bob survives her assault and has her thrown in a juvenile correctional facility. But our Little Red Riding Hood fights the system and justice is eventually served (unfortunately, not before Grandma gets eaten by the big bad wolf).
    Don’t let the story line fool you: Freeway is hilarious. It’s full of classic, quotable lines that rival the best of Heathers.


When Vanessa is forced to pose as a prostitute to get some money, she throws her half-naked john in the trunk of a car as he cries, “Small spaces make me claustrophobic.” She retorts, “Yeah, well, sucking strange dick makes me claustrophobic.” Keifer Sutherland plays a great bad guy, and Brittany Murphy has a cameo as a bisexual nympho who’s slightly touched in the head — quite the stretch. As for Brooke, well, it’s her best work to date. — Lorelei Sharkey

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