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The Adderall Diaries
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Writer and Adderall enthusiast Stephen Elliott reaches a low point when his estranged father resurfaces, claiming that Stephen has fabricated much of the dark childhood that that fuels his writing. Adrift in the precarious gray area of memory, Stephen is led by three sources of inspiration: a new romance, the best friend who shares his history, and a murder trial that reminds him more than a little of his own story. Based on the memoir of the same name.

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The Adderall Diaries online movie review - Stay away from this disaster of a movie

"The Adderall Diaries" (2015 release; running time: 90 min.) brings the story of how Stephen Elliott (played by James Franco) deals with his distant past and also some current setbacks.

As the movie opens, we see grainy video footage of a seemingly happy family. We then move to today, where Elliot gets the good news that Penguin has accepted a book proposal. In a parallel story, Elliot gets interested in a murder case (software engineer, played by Christian Slater, "disappears" his wife), and at the trial, Elliot makes the acquaintance of Lana, a NY Times reporter (played by Amber Heard. To tell you more might spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is the feature length debut of writer-director Pamela Romanowsky, who was handpicked by James Franco himself for this job. The movie is based on the Stephen Elliot book of the same name. I have not read the book so I cannot compare how closely (or not) the movie is to the book. I had high expectations going in for this movie. Oh boy, what a disappointment this turned out to be, and I'm being mild. It takes a little while to figure out what is going on, but when it finally start to male sense, I waited to get transfixed. I waited, and waited.... Meanwhile, we see poor James Franco playing the tormented writer, struggling with writers block, and his horrible past, and it all feels so... acted!. We watch, and it does nothing for us. Thankfully there is Amber Heard, always easy on the eyes (and reason I don't give the movie just one star). Ed Harris (as Elliott's dad) and Christian Slater do the best they can with the material they are given, meaning not a whole lot. PLEASE NOTE: the running time is listed here on IMDb, Amazon and other places as being 105 min., but I can categorically tell you that the version I saw today was at most 90 min. Maybe the 105 min. refers to what was shown as the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, where this movie premiered. Yes, a year ago. Also, it turns out that Stephen Elliott himself has disavowed the movie.

The movie opened today out of the blue without any pre-release advertising or fanfare at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. The early evening screening where I saw this at was not well attended, and I'm being mild (4 people, including myself). I can't imagine this will play in the theater more than a week. There is a reason this movie currently scores only 20 on Rotten Tomatoes: it's a pretty bad movie, in fact one of the worst I've seen in quite a while (and I see a lot of movies). Unless you are a die-hard fan of James Franco or Amber Heard, there is no reason at all to waste 90 or 105 min. on this. I'm sorry that I watched this movie, but that doesn't mean you have to.... Viewer beware!

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