Eye-opening indie-doc showcasing Anycracktown, USA. This is just one story in one particular area that plays itself out, then starts all over again, everyday within our country.
I think most of us who have seen Dave Chappelle perform as his cliched, crackhead character, Tyrone Bigumms, have had a hearty chuckle at both Tyrone’s silly antics and parodied plight. Hell, let’s be real goddamnit, that shit’s hilarious and we laugh our asses off every time we watch it. I know I do.
Comedy somehow heals as it scars. Comedy is also forgotten just as easily as it is forgiven at times, because we need it that way. But, the sad fact is that crack has ravaged the black community since the mid ’80s, and it still has a stranglehold on many today. Others have been affected, of course, I’m just using a prime example — one that’s pertinent to this film.
Chappelle, like few other great comedians that came before him (think Richard Pryor, Lenny Bruce), deals head-on with a lot of devastating social issues using ingenious humor. I suppose that’s just his style, but that style also addresses delicate matters without coming off like a contrived public service announcement. It makes these socially uncomfortable predicaments more approachable and easier to digest, while bringing awareness to a certain situation.
Now here, with this documentary by filmmaker Corey Davis, is the flip side to the comedic approach. This is just raw, unwavering and in-your-face footage showing the horrible reality that crack cocaine casts upon its clientele.
The majority of filming takes place at an outdoor spot behind a gas station and a church. Their spacious, sun-drenched southern home, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is affectionately — and somewhat ironically — named “The Living Room” and is furnished with dirty couches and other pieces of discarded debris.
There’s definitely a few colorful characters in the mix: A sassy old man with a penchant for instigating insults, a few who obviously suffer from severe mental issues, and even an ex-dealer who now seems just as lost as he is wise, being that he has grown older and realized his mistakes.
But the main focus of J Is For Junkie is on Judy, a 52-year-old mother, grandmother and former professional chef who has been smoking crack for years upon years at this point.
She has a loving family and seems like a genuinely nice, intelligent person, but doesn’t feel she’s ready to give up the pipe for the life she once had. At least not yet.
This was released back in 2011, and it doesn’t appear there has been a follow-up. Three years can be a lifetime in the world of a hardcore drug addict, and I’d really like to know what has happened to some of these people. Hope for the best, but expect the worst.
Via Corey Davis