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Film / Hurlyburly

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Hurlyburly is a 1998 independent film, based on the play of the same name by David Rabe. It stars Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Garry Shandling, Anna Paquin, Chazz Palminteri and Meg Ryan.

Middling Hollywood casting director Eddie is suffering a mid-life crisis, not helped by his drug abuse, his scheming buddy Mickey, or his girlfriend Darlene (who happens to be sleeping with Mickey.) When his associate Artie offers to let him "borrow" teenage Donna for a while, it sets off a chain of events that sends Eddie's life spinning out of control.

This film contains examples of:

  • Compressed Adaptation: The original play is over three hours long. The film condenses the plot to just under two hours.
  • Driven to Suicide: Phil ends up killing himself. Eddie contemplates following him, but is prevented by Donna.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Phil has a very bad temper, forcing Eddie and Mickey to intervene to keep him out of trouble.
  • Only Sane Man: Darlene seems to be the only person in Eddie's orbit who has any sense and is willing to call him out on his bullshit.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: After getting tired of Eddie and Mickey's bullshit, Donna tells Eddie to go fuck himself and then walks away.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Between Mickey's scheming, Darlene's infidelity, Phil's temper, and Artie's vices, Eddie is surrounded by people who only fuel his own bad behavior.