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Theatrical release poster
Directed byPeter McCarthy
Written byPeter McCarthy
Produced byPeter McCarthy
CinematographyDenis Maloney
Edited byDody Dorn
Peter McCarthy
Music byPray for Rain
Distributed byNew City Releasing
Release date
  • 1994 (1994)
Running time
96 minutes
CountryUnited States

Floundering is a 1994 comedy film set in the aftermath of the Los Angeles riots of 1992. The film was directed and written by Peter McCarthy, starring James LeGros with appearances by John Cusack, Ethan Hawke, and Lisa Zane.


John (James LeGros) is an unemployed young man, living alone and trying to pay hospital bills for his brother and only family. The film is told as a narrative delivered by John under the pessimism of the early 1990s. A misanthropic shut-in, he deals with his personal issues through a series of disjointed and sometimes imaginary encounters with television personalities, dead relatives, a former liberal turned investment banker, drug users and the unemployment office. Each chapter is bears a varying degree of social commentary. The film climaxes as John loses hope, and his search for meaning turns to self-destruction. John is finally rescued by the charity of an old friend, then resolving to leave Los Angeles and start his life anew.



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