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There is nothing – like nothing – like Trainspotting. Except maybe the upcoming sequel, T2 Trainspotting, which is out on January 27 and has us all horribly excited.
Anyway, even though there is nothing – like nothing – like Trainspotting (and possibly T2 Trainspotting), we wondered which movies might provide the kind of fix that those films offer. When you’ve gorged on both of them, gorged yourself silly, what else might scratch the itch? Behold! The movies to watch if you bloody loved Danny Boyle’s tales of wrong’uns getting into scrapes and taking drugs in Edinburgh.
The film: The Basketball Diaries (1995)
A young Leonardo DiCaprio plays real-life poet Jim Carroll, who in 1966 published the memoir on which the film is based. It catalogues Carroll’s adolescence in New York City, which he spent paying basketball, getting hooked on heroin and building up a hefty case of Catholic guilt.
Watch it when: You’ve a hankering to combine contact sports with hard drugs and poetry.
The film: Twin Town (1997)
Rhys Ifans arguably made his name in this Swansea-set black comedy, which sees his character Jeremy while away the days nicking cars and getting high. Sounds like fun, but be warned: the ending will make you weep. Also: Lily’s dad Keith Allen is in it, which should make you ‘Smile’.
Watch it when: You want to relive your misspent youth in a Welsh city with a sea view.
The film: The Acid House (1998)
In 1994, the year he published after Trainspotting, novelist Irvine Welsh published The Acid House, a collection of short stories that was later made into this film, which features body-swapping and sadomasochism.
Watch it when: You’ve a craving for some body-swapping and/or sadomasochism.
The film: Requiem for a Dream (2000)
This adaption of author Hubert Selby Jr’s novel, a terrifying exploration of drug addiction in various forms, stars a young Jared Leto as Harry, a young heroin addict who funds his habit through petty crime. It all goes realty tits up when he and pals decide to enter the drug trade. In addition to this, his mum gets hooked on diet pills, and her story doesn’t unfold in a much more feel-good way than his. The movie was directed by Darren Aronofsky of Black Swan fame and is shot with dreamy intensity.
Watch it when: You need a good cry.
The film: Human Traffic (1999)
We truly were madferit in the ’90s. And by “it”, we do mean ultra-cool films about photogenic people ingesting hard drugs. Human Traffic took advantage of trend just in time, clocking in at the tale-end of the 90s, it looks at “wage slaves” who live for the weekend and have right bloody rave-up in the process. Key fact: it heralded the big screen arrival of your friend and mine, Danny bloody Dyer.
Watch it when: You’ve seen Danny Dyer’s hilarious, universally beloved episode of Who Do You Think You Are? and need more of the Cock-er-ney geezer in your life. So, literally all the time.
The film: Awaydays (2009)
Football hooliganism meets heroin in this bruising Britflick starring Stephen Graham (aka Combo from This Is England). The main Trainspotting link here is the banging soundtrack, which features the likes of Joy Division, The Cure, Magazine and Wire. Oh, and the smack.
Watch it when: You thought Trainspotting could do with just a dash more violence.
The film: Once Upon A Time in the Midlands (2002)
Rhys Ifans crops up again in this comedy directed by Shande Meadows, the man behind This Is England (Brit cinema is a small pool, it seems). Set in Nottingham, the movie sees Ifans play Dek, a lovelorn loser who proposes to his girlfriend, Shirley (Shirley Henderson), on television. She turns him down. Meanwhile Robert Carlisle is the love rival who rolls back into town to win back Shirley’s affections. Basically, if you like Robert Carlisle and bleak comedy, chance are you’ll like this almost as much as Trainspotting.
Watch it when: You’ve just been dumped.
The film: 24 Hour Party People (2002)
Live fast, take drugs, have fun. That was the ethos that ruled the Hacienda, the legendary Manchester club that defined nightlife for generation of ravers in the 80s and 90s. It was opened by Factory Records boss Tony Wilson, played by Steven Coogan in this bug-eyed biopic, which also takes a wider view at the Manchester music scene between 1976 and 1992. Basically: you shoulda been there.
Watch it when: You like to live fast, take drugs, have fun.
The film: La Haine (1995)
This shocking film depicts the aftermath of a brutal riot that occurs in the bleak outskirts of Paris. It hones in on the exploits of three young men with no prospects and nothing to do but plot bloody revenge on the cops that crossed them. It’s a tough watch, and on the surface might appear to have little in common with the black comedy of Trainspotting, but its message is ultimately the same. Ghettoise people in urban poverty and trouble will undoubtedly follow.
Watch it when: You want to see a film with a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The film: Blow (2001)
This really film taps into the superficial glamour of drug culture, with Johnny Depp starring as George Jung, a young bloke who grows up skint and vows to turn it around by dealing drugs. Needless to say, this does not end well for George. Johnny Depp looks good though.
Watch it when: You’ve got big dreams.