Beneath the Reel: 'Cheap Thrills' exposes three poisons of humanity
"Cheap Thrills" (2013) exposes the moral conflict humans face when money, greed and failure seep through the cracks of our lives and affect our moral core. These three poisons are expressed throughout the film, diving into the worst of what people can be.
So, if you had the chance, what would you do...
If you lived in a dive apartment on the wrong side of L.A. with a wonderful wife and your 6-month-old child. You’re happy living a mediocre life, and yet you hang on to the one piece of writing you ever got published, as if you want to be mocked for never achieving your dream of being a writer.
To make matters worse, you find that you’ve been evicted from your apartment and fired from your job.
You now find your sunken loser soul drinking cheap beer at a sketchy bar on the wrong side of town. A long-lost friend approaches you, so you both talk up your lives as if you’ve both got it somewhat made, but deep down you're both miserable as you waste your lives, when you both had some sort of potential, especially you.
A middle-aged stranger comes over and invites you to drink with him and his 20-something-year-old wife. As you sit down with them, he offers you and your friend $100 to the first person who finishes their drink…
What would you do...
The three poisons of life in the film show how they will alter human beings. The film truly captures the moral decay of humans when they are exposed to these three poisons.
The film is carried by the brilliant underrated cast. David Koechner (famous for "Anchorman") plays a rich millionaire who is married to the 20-something Sara Paxton (famous for "Return to Halloweentown," "Aquamarine"). She plays Violet, wife of Koechner's character Colin.
Paxton plays the eye candy of the film and doesn’t really contribute much, but it’s her presence that upholds an eerie analytical concept of how money and a boring life can make someone so numb to the world around them and dive into devious pleasures.
The two stars who truly make the film captivating, and who haven’t really made an impact on the acting world yet, are long-lost friends Craig (Pat Healy) and Vince (Ethan Embry). The two are mesmerizing on the screen and truly show how failure in one’s life can bring out an immoral beast that lies in all of us. This is what happens when we let greed inside.
The length of the film is 88 minutes. I feel that a more in-depth approach would make the film more mesmerizing and go more in depth with why a couple would pay people to do “Cheap Thrills.”
The movie overall captures you and takes you on a squeamish and shocking ride about morality and what people would do for some extra cash. So, what immoral activities would you commit just to give yourself a better life?
I’d give the film… 3.5/5 stars