Tuesday, March 20, 2007

American Hardcore (2006) Dir. Paul Rachman

I owned this book immediately after it was published. I coveted the way it was put together, almost as an anthology of punk rock show fliers. Steven Blush (author) essentially published his entire collection of hardcore memorabilia including photos, album covers, zines, etc. I feel that it gives a wonderful illustration of both the politics of the time and the DIY mentality.

With such a love for the book, it is difficult to approach the film objectively. To me, the essence of the book is screaming, snarling, bleeding youth which the movie quickly dispenses with by interviewing aging scene contributors like Tony Cadena (Adolescents), Al Barile (SS Decontrol), and of course a greying Henry Rollins (Black Flag).

As an introduction to what was happening in punk rock during the early to mid-eighties, I think that the film will turn on alot of kids that think bands like My Chemical Romance are punk. To people who have had a couple of kids, watch sitcoms and have otherwise completely forgotten their roots, I think the film will be a fun walk down memory lane with alot of, "Oh my God, I had completely forgotten about those guys."

Obviously, the film cannot go near as in depth as the book and leaves out alot of very important factors that the book addresses (The Misfits, Dead Kennedys, Necros, Youth Brigade, etc.) Another obvious point is that much of the archival footage looks bad and sounds worse. I realized about a third of the way through the film that they had taken live footage and edited the studio album recordings over it. In my opinion, it would have been alot better to use many of the outstanding photos in the book to illustrate points in the evolution of hardcore and have them narrated by some interviews.

All in all, a watchable and entertaining film for anyone interested in hardcore period.

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IQ 32 (Midwest Fuck You)



1 comment:

Hooliganyouth said...

I thought it was kind of funny that Rollins skated around the issue of being a monkey working for Haagen Daz.