After watching Marky Mark on Conan the other night and hearing him mention High on Crack Street, it seemed that grounding Kerouac in an actual place might be entertaining. And thanks to the Pirate Bay, the HBO special soon nastily flowed across a screen right in-front of my face.
Shot over a few months during 1993, Lowell and its crack head inhabitants are attired like it’s still the eighties. It makes sense. But when we’re introduced to Boo Boo, Dickey and Brenda it becomes pretty clear that the date doesn’t make too much of a difference. Stealing junk and getting high does, not the year.
Within the first ten minutes or so of the documentary, viewers get to see everyone get high and then basically follow Boo Boo on a two minute heist yielding him a set of two hundred dollar golf clubs. The titles interspersed between scenes serve a narrative function – and the one following the robbery says something like “Six hours and two hundred dollars worth of crack later…”
The remaining fifty some odd minutes of the feature work to show how difficult and how easy it is to be a crack head. There’s no such thing as regular money coming in, but apparently being a crack head allows one to sleep just about anywhere, feel kinda bad about it, but continue on. Again, not a really bad deal.
When Brenda gets pregnant – which isn’t too much of a shocker – the film takes a more personal turn and details the familial and potential family life of the three crack heads. Viewers go into Dickey’s home and find out that he once beat Sugar Ray Leonard in a televised fight. He still works out at a local gym where he’s afforded respect. Not too much after that, though, Dickey gets wrangled by the cops for theft and a variety of other offenses.
Even with a young son at home, it appears that crack dangles some allure greater than whatever emotion might be waiting on the other side of his apartment door. The whole thing’s a tremendous bummer, but the situation Lowell found/finds itself in needed to be documented. Who was gonna do it? The crack heads?