Less Than Zero (1987)
Robert Downey Jr. was already an established young star by the time he was cast as Julian in the 1987 drama Less Than Zero, which was loosely based on the Bret Easton Ellis novel of the same name. Throughout the movie, Julian, a struggling drug addict and high school best friend of main character Clay Easton (Andrew McCarthy), tries his damnedest to kick his drug habit and attempt to save himself before it’s too late. Unfortunately for broken early twenty-something, drug dealer Rip (James Spader) essentially owns Julian and forces him down a dark path.
Bret Easton Ellis’ other adaptations, most notably American Psycho, typically get more love than Less Than Zero, but that shouldn’t take away from Robert Downey Jr.’s painful performance of a struggling drug addict.