Bright Lights, Big City [1988]

Michael J. Fox plays the most sympathetic cocaine addict you've ever seen in the movie of Jay McInerney's popular novel Bright Lights, Big City, the book that famously chronicled the coke- and cash-fueled era of the 1980s. Jamie Conway (Fox) works as a fact-checker for a major New York magazine, but because he spends his nights partying with his glib best friend (Kiefer Sutherland), he's on the verge of getting fired. His wife, a fast-rising model (Phoebe Cates), just left him; he's still reeling from the death of his mother (Dianne Wiest) a year earlier; and he's obsessed with a tabloid story about a pregnant woman in a coma. Bright Lights, Big City doesn't have much of a plot, but in its meandering way it captures some of the glossy chaos of the time and of a man desperately trying to escape the pain in his life. --Bret Fetzer

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