Tuesday, March 23, 2010

TV Junkie (2006)

Michael Cain and Matt Radecki


This 2006 Sundance Film Festival winner is a striking video diary of Rick Kirkham, a 48-year old television journalist who at first appears to be living a charmed life. After rising quickly through the ranks from local TV news to a gig as a national correspondent for Inside Edition, Kirkham spends weekdays in New York and weekends in Dallas with his wife and their two sons. But all is not as it seems: While covering drug raids as a TV reporter, Kirkham gets introduced to drugs and later becomes addicted to crack cocaine. Kirkham, who has documented virtually every facet of his life since he got his first video camera at age 14, brings his reporting instincts to bear on both the sunny and tragic aspects of his own life. He is as apt to record the birth of his sons as he is his frequent cocaine binges, painful family arguments and even home visits by police. In one particularly disturbing scene, he sets up the camera and walks us through the preparation of a makeshift aluminum foil pipe before smoking crack cocaine he has just scored on the streets of New York. Assembled from the more than 3,000 hours of footage shot by Kirkham himself, TV Junkie focuses on a seven-year period in which Kirkham says he used drugs about three times a week. Between stints in rehab, Kirkham's life unravels like a slow- motion train wreck: He loses his career, family and almost his life in an attempted suicide before getting clean and speaking publicly about the perils of addiction.


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