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Danny Boyle once said of a wee 1996 flick he directed: “Trainspotting is Scotland’s Star Wars”.
If you think he's overstating that, try arguing it in a Scottish pub and see how well you fare.
Trainspotting, based on Irvine Welsh’s novel of the same name, was more haunting, hilarious, and horrifying than anything American audiences had seen in a very long time, if ever. Ewan McGregor (Renton), Ewen Bremner (Spud), Jonny Lee Miller (Sick Boy), and Robert Carlyle (Begbie) put in signature cinematic performances as a circle of friends who share a deep, passionate love for heroin, cursing, and more heroin. And now, 20 years later they’re all back in T2 Trainspotting.
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As we gear up for another round of insanity with this crew, we look back at some of the words of wisdom from that first groundbreaking flick.
1. It's what's on the inside that counts
Sick Boy: “Personality, I mean that's what counts, right? That's what keeps a relationship going through the years. Like heroin, I mean heroin's got a great fucking personality.”
2. Honesty is the best policy on job interviews
Interviewer: “Mr. Murphy, do you mean that you lied on your application?”
Spud: “No! Uh. Yes. Only to get my foot in the door. Showing initiative and that like.”
3. Recognize your own weaknesses
Renton: “It's SHITE being Scottish! We're the lowest of the low. The scum of the fucking Earth! The most wretched, miserable, servile, pathetic trash that was ever shat into civilization. Some hate the English. I don't. They're just wankers. We, on the other hand, are colonized by wankers. Can't even find a decent culture to be colonized by. We're ruled by effete arseholes.”
4. Be true to yourself
Renton: “Now I've justified this to myself in all sorts of ways. It wasn't a big deal, just a minor betrayal. Or we'd outgrown each other, you know, that sort of thing. But let's face it, I ripped them off – my so called mates. But Begbie, I couldn't give a shit about him. And Sick Boy, well he'd done the same to me, if he'd only thought of it first. And Spud, well okay, I felt sorry for Spud – he never hurt anybody. So why did I do it? I could offer a million answers – all false. The truth is that I'm a bad person.”
5. Know your frenemies
Renton: “Take Sick Boy, for instance. He came off junk at the same time as me – not because he wanted to, you understand, but just to annoy me. Just to show me how easily he could do it, thereby downgrading my own struggle. Sneaky fucker, don't you think?”
6. Follow your passion
Interviewer: “Mr. Murphy, what attracts you to the leisure industry?”
Spud: “In a word: pleasure. It's like, my pleasure in other people's leisure.”
7. The laws of supply and demand
Renton: “The streets are awash with drugs you can have for unhappiness and pain, and we took them all. Fuck it, we would have injected vitamin C if only they'd made it illegal.”
8. It's importance to have a clear goal
Renton: “When you're on junk you have only one worry: scoring. When you're off it, you are suddenly obliged to worry about all sorts of other shite. Got no money: can't get pissed. Got money: drinking too much. Can't get a bird: no chance of a ride. Got a bird: too much hassle. You have to worry about bills, about food, about some football team that never fucking wins, about human relationships and all the things that really don't matter when you've got a sincere and truthful junk habit.”
9. Always look ahead
Renton: “One thousand years from now there will be no guys and no girls, just wankers. Sounds great to me.”