Long live rock, I need it every night

Saturday, March 24, 2007

American Hardcore

American Hardcore: Rock Club rating - 7.3
Let me be James Blunt for a minute. I expected the movie to kind of suck. I saw a few medicore reviews and that lowerd my expectations. So, did the movie suck or was it actually quite entertaining and an excellent choice for a Rock Club movie? If you guessed the latter, you win absolutely nothing but the small feeling of self-satisfaction. Take it. It may be the only one you get today.
Hi, I'm James Blunt and I'm a tool. You are so beautiful...
The movie got off to a funny start with old punks talking about how much they hated Reagan, their parents, their bosses, cardiagan sweaters, the uptight attitudes of the times, etc. To illustrate America of the early '80's they used great stock footage of the whitest people in America, all outifitted by J. Crew. The punks also went off on the classic rock bands of the like Journey and Fleetwood Mac. Jimbromski took exception to the constant dissing of Fleetwood Mac. I didn't mind it so much.

As Potsy pointed out before we started the movie, most hardcore music blows. The movie confirmed this but it also showed that some of it was quite good. The clearest example was Bad Brains. They flat out kicked ass. Then they kicked it some more. Seeing footage of their shows makes me wish Rock Club had a time machine. Instead of scanning the local clubs to see who's coming to town, we'd travel through time solving crimes. Then we'd celebrate by going to the greatest concerts in rock history. The crime solving was Jimbromski's idea. I'm on board as long as we have our own mystery machine.
Hi, I'm Ian MacKaye and I'm not a tool like James Blunt.
They interviewed a number of old punk rockers for the documentary. Two really stood out in my mind. The first was Ian MacKaye. He came across much more lucid and thoughtful than the other people interviewed. Of course, most punks in LA, Boston, and NY did more drugs than a touring funk band. Meanwhile, Ian was straight edge. I'm sure there's a lesson here for Rock Club. Maybe it's time to clean up, go legit. No more meth labs. Something we should consider.

The other person I enjoyed in the movie was a guy called Mugger. He was part of the Black Flag road crew. He told some pretty funny stories, one of them being how he came up with the name of his band, Nig-Heist. His band didn't amount to much, but somehow he became part owner in SST Records. Eventually, he was bought out. He dumped his money in tech stocks and now he's indepenently wealthy. I have to say, seeing these former hardcore punks years later as upright, middle-to-upper class citizens might be the most disturbing thing in the movie.

I give American Hardcore a 7.3. Very entertaining despite some bad music. I now invite your comments below...


Jimbromski said...

You wanted comments, here's a few.

1--These guys complained about fucking everything. We had a whole scene that encouraged rampant drug abuse, dancing, and sex, and these dudes had a problem with it. In response, they constructed a scene that was overwhelmingly male, violent, and conformist. It was a totally fascist aesthetic with some horrible music in the background. Include me out, thanks.

2--Despite what I just said about horrible music, there was some good stuff coming out of there. Bad Brains sounded pgood as did the Cro-Mags and Minor Threat.

3--Some positives from the hard core scene: you have to dig the DIY spirit, the fact that they just created everything from scratch and didn't play the game as it was played in the past.

Overall I liked this movie, it gave me some good info on a scene I didn't know much about. The movie itself could have been shot better with more emphasis on music than on interviews, but hey, what can you do.,

Potsy said...

Good flick. I was equally skeptical about how it was going to turn out, and I was pleasantly surprised by it.

Jimbromski makes a good point about all the whining these punk rockers were doing. What I took away from this hardcore movement was that frustrated young men who didn't want to and didn't know how to get some action with the help of Fleetwood Mac, turned inward and made a lot of horrible noise/music and got into lots of fights.

I believe Heavy Metal followed the same basic pathway in the 1990s.