Desperate Lives


In this made-for-TV film, a high-school counselor Joyce Brothers faces ineffectual help from administration in combating drugs, so she recruits several students to help in the battle.
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DVD (Wide Screen)
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In this made-for-TV film, a high-school counselor Joyce Brothers faces ineffectual help from administration in combating drugs, so she recruits several students to help in the battle.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
This well-meaning but hopelessly out of touch film represents the made-for-television message drama at its most absurd. Desperate Lives is built on a script that pursues its agenda with sledgehammer subtlety, lacing its narrative with overblown shouting matches (the "hip" dialogue of the kids has aged badly) and drug freakouts that conjure up memories of Reefer Madness. The performances are suitably over-the-top: Diana Scarwid fumes and lectures endlessly as the well-meaning counselor heroine while Doug McKeon alternately rants and whines as the film's archetypal "troubled kid" and Sam Bottoms sleazes it up as the town's drug dealer (he also happens to own the local arcade!). A young Helen Hunt delivers one of the film's better performances as McKeon's older sister but her characterization is marred by an unintentionally hilarious PCP freakout scene that has become the stuff of bad-flick legend. Robert Michael Lewis's direction is bland but that actually makes the story's outrageous elements look all the more wild. In short, Desperate Lives is a disaster as an anti-drug film but it's also the kind of camp classic that bad-film devotees dream about. Anyone who is amused by misguided message melodramas should check it out.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/12/2010
  • UPC: 883316227374
  • Original Release: 1982
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Time: 1:36:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 46,277

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Helen Hunt Sandy Cameron
Norman Alden Coach
Tom Atkins John Cameron
Samuel Bottoms Ken Baynes
Art Hindle Stan
Diane Ladd Carol Cameron
Doug McKeon Scott Cameron
Diana Scarwid Eileen Phillips
William Windom Dr. Jarvis
Dr. Joyce Brothers Mrs. Watson
Grant Cramer Steve
Katherine Kelly Lang Mary
Mykelti Williamson Jack
Tricia Cast Susan Garber
Michele Greene Julie Jordan
Terry Alexander Robert Walsh
Aggie Terry Cindy
Jane Milmore Jane
Susan McClung Sarah
Ralph Meyering Jr. Frank Cramer
Gail Oda Kathy
Jennifer Parsons Olivia
Michael Lang Frank
Michelle Laurita Diana
Michael Cummings Brad Davis
Clayton Rohner Monte
Glenn-Michael Jones Al
Joey Green Howard
Curt Ayers Jesse
Matt Burke Paramedic
Claudio Martinez Jerry
Tina Menard Maid
Viola Kates Stimpson Grandmother
Jim Eldert Cheerleader
Noel P. Scott Frisbee Thrower
Reynaldo Duran Manuel
William Vincent Kulak 2nd Paramedic
Rick Springfield Singer
Technical Credits
Robert Michael Lewis Director
Joseph Biroc Cinematographer
Hub Braden Art Director
Bruce Broughton Score Composer
Arthur Fellows Executive Producer
Les Green Editor
Lew Hunter Producer, Screenwriter
Terry Keegan Executive Producer
Rick Springfield Score Composer
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