Remedy (2005) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Remedy is a New York crime-and-drugs film with an unexpected twist ending. It seems that a junkie witnessed his best friend's murder. Or not. He was so wacked out that he doesn't remember what he saw. The police are understandably upset with this explanation, and consider him the #1 suspect. What did happen that night, and why?

That's the premise, and it is carried out with an extremely low budget ($175,000). It was basically assembled  as a community project by three young, unknown performers: Jon Dosher, Christian Maelen, and Nicholas Reiner. Reiner wrote the screenplay and played a small but important part. Maelen was the star as well as the director. Dosher produced the film and also played the second lead.

In order to add a veneer of cinema respectability, the three unknowns hired some familiar New York crime story actors to fill out the cast. There's Arthur Nascarella, the former NYPD cop who often plays tough guys or tough New York cops (as he does here). There's also the guy who played Billy Batts in Goodfellas, and the guy who played Big Pussy in The Sopranos. Big Pussy has a small role, and that's a shame, because he was excellent and convincing in each of his scenes, even though he was playing against type.

The ensemble is rounded out with some novelty casting: Danny Aiello sings part of the sound track; Danny's son plays a medium sized role; former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley has a few lines as a world-weary drug dealer; and a few pretty girls show up to do lesbian scenes (dual redhead action!) or just to remove their clothing. The one important female role is played competently by a newcomer named Candice Coke, and she manages to remove her clothing as well.

Overall, the main thrust of the film isn't bad, and it might have been an entertaining little guilty pleasure film if some more experienced people had their hands on the controls. Unfortunately, the low budget and the inexperience of the principals really show through. The entire film has a claustrophobic indoor feel to it, and there are some scenes which are just plain clumsy at best. Dosher is a pretty solid actor, but he has a couple of the strangest scenes:

(1) He throws an athletic bag at a cop, then escapes from him by clumsily scaling a wall in Central Park. Besides looking ridiculous, that scene is so wrong in so many ways. First of all, he's right on the doorstep of his apartment when he runs. It's not like he's going to get away somehow, since the cop obviously knows where he lives, and we find out in another scene that the cop also knows where he works.  So why did he run at all? Second, the scene isn't necessary or even directly related to the main plot. Third, he had no reason to run away in the first place, because we later find out he wasn't the murderer. So what the hell was that whole scene about?

(2) He is a dentist. An ugly old lady patient wants his man-meat, and threatens him when he won't deliver the special injection. He is refusing again when the police come to his office about the murder investigation. Seeing the police, she accuses him of sexual misconduct. The police immediately forget that whole silly murder thing and take him downtown for the obviously silly sexual assault. (They could see nobody in his right mind would assault this woman.) Stranger still is the fact that this entire plot thread is then dropped completely, and we never hear from the old lady again.

In addition to the dental patient, there are some other plot threads and concepts introduced but never developed. The leading character appears as a young boy in bizarre flashbacks to the death of his mother and father, all of which are seen in snippets of memory, none of which are ever explained. I'm still not sure what was going on in those flashbacks, although I know they end with the father's suicide.

There is some crazy dialogue as well. The Maelen character is a junkie/artist who hasn't worked (or apparently bathed) in many months. He seems to be about as big a loser as it is possible to be. At one point, he goes to his rich uncle to get a share of his family inheritance, at which time Uncle Charles says, in all sincerity, "your parents would be so proud of you." And ol' Uncle Charles knows about his nephew's lifestyle! Yeah, I'm sure the parents would be thrilled to see the kid shooting dad's hard-earned fortune into his arm.

This may have been an attempt at humor, since some sources, including the official site, call the film a "darkly comic tale." The filmmaking team obviously thought there was something amusing in this film, so this may well have been it. I think the "darkly comic" may also explain the other scenes I described above, but I'm not sure. It is not that simple a task to distinguish between "inept" and "darkly comic," and it is always useful to have "darkly comic" to fall back on when things don't add up. "Dude, that wasn't supposed to be realistic. That was darkly comic."

Oh, well. It is a movie made by inexperienced people with no money. What can ya say? Those things sometimes work out (Reservoir Dogs, e.g.), but not often. They gave it a good shot. Despite all the film's weaknesses, it might have worked had it stuck close to the knitting, because the basic plot - the junkie trying to remember what happened during the murder - was solid, and had an interesting resolution. Unfortunately, the script did not adhere tightly enough to that framework, and the digressions were generally sloppy and uninteresting.



  • No important features
  • the transfer is widescreen, anamorphically enhanced



Candice Coke: breasts and the top of her bum.

Krie Alden: breasts, and buns in a thong.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews online


Miscellaneous ...

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 7.9/10. This is obviously a bogus score. The film has only 23 votes, and 14 of them rated the film 10/10. It is not possible that so many objective people would score this a 10. If you want to be very generous, you could overlook the film's faults and call it a seven, but I think most test audiences would grade it more like a five.
  • No theatrical distribution.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C-. It is watchable, but barely. Some parts are even weaker than implied by that score. It has a decent script which might have been polished into a good cable movie, but the potential was marred by some unprofessional execution.

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