Dead Drunk marks one of the first times I ever saw Jorja on TV (though I didn’t realize that for a long time to come). This is one of two TV ‘movies’ that is more of a special meant to teach you something or another. If you grew up in the 80s (hi) then you watched a lot of After-School Specials and Very Special Episodes.
This falls under that category. “Dead Drunk: The Kevin Tunell Story” came out in 1993, and is a very heavy handed telling of what happened when Kevin Tunell drove home, drunk, on New Years Eve. Instead of going to jail, Kevin had to send the parents of the girl he killed one dollar a week for eighteen years. In the movie, the victim is Maggie Glendon, but in real life it was Susan Herzog. Kevin did end up writing a check, every week (pre-written/pre-dated checks weren’t permitted) until the 18 years were up. Since then, Kevin has told and retold his story to teens, trying to make a different and stop them from making the wrong choice. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it was to be reminded, every week, that one mistake for eighteen years. Does it make up for killing someone? I think it can be a better solution than the normal “Toss ’em in jail and revoke their license for X years.” Drives home what was wrong, certainly.
I haven’t seen this movie since around 1994 or so. It came out after I got my license, so I probably saw it as a part of something school related (we never had HBO). It’s a product of it’s time, pretty heavy handed, but effectively told. They did something with the flashback footage to make it look like you were watching it on an old VCR, so it was extra grainy. Then again, this was also ‘High Def’ from 1993, so maybe this was what we considered good? It made it hard to get the screencaps, I’ll tell you that!
In so far as it goes as a movie to watch for Jorja, this is two stars. She has a really good scene where she appears in Kevin’s memory and converses with him, right before he has a bit of a break down about the checks. It’s well done. I don’t think this movie would be effective today. It’s 30 minutes, and it’s something modern kids would find really cheesy.
While I can’t post clips, I did manage to upgrade the screencaps: 126 larger images.
This takes me down one released movie/tv-movie I don’t have at least screencaps of: Summer Stories (ABC After School Specials). While I’d love to find some of the more rare one-shot things, like the TV shows and stuff, that’s going to be crazy wicked hard to find stuff that has never been released.