Speedway Junky [1999]

This compelling portrait of Las Vegas subculture stars Jesse Bradford (Bring It On, Clockstoppers) as Johnny, a teenager who aspires to be a racecar driver but gets stuck hustling on the Vegas strip. Speedway Junky centers around Johnny's friendship with Eric (Jordon Brower, Texas Rangers), a gay hustler who's in love with Johnny, even though he knows Johnny is straight. But the movie also captures snapshots of various fringe dwellers and people whose lives seem to be hitting a dead end, deftly drawn portraits that mix hope and despair in equal measures. The well-written script and strong performances from an eclectic cast--including appearances by Daryl Hannah, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, and Jonathan Taylor Thomas, all of whom are excellent--make Speedway Junky more than a voyeuristic walk through the Vegas gutter. --Bret Fetzer

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