Thursday, July 29, 2010

Saluting the Top 10 Punk Movies of All-Time

I've been on this "Punk movie" kick lately. Over the past few days, I've been watching the shit out of these beauties. I love Punk films. I wish they would make more of them (especially nowadays). There have been some good recent ones, like the recent Darby Crash biopic "What We Do is Secret," and the really recent biopic "The Runaways," which I saw this week (and it wasn't too bad...). The main appeal of Punk movies is that they all usually have really great songs on their soundtrack, and it's fun to watch a really great movie that has an equally great soundtrack that I can identify with. Even the Tom Green sick-fest "Freddy Got Fingered" had a pretty rockin' soundtrack. And I loved the skatepunk movie "Lords of Dogtown," but the soundtrack was full of classic rock hits (which isn't too bad either...). Much love also goes to great Punk documentaries like "New York Doll" (a touching story of the last days of Arthur "Killer" Kane), and the entertaining story about the Minutemen, "We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen." I wouldn't say Punk movies are my favorite kinds of movies (that belongs to Horror, of course...), but I love watching me a kickass Punk movie now and then...

The following is a list of my Top 10 Favorite Punk Movies of All-Time:

1. "SLC Punk!" (1999)

The first time I watched this seminal film, I was enthralled. From the beginning credits featuring the Punk classic "Sex and Violence" by The Exploited, I knew I would love this movie. Following the exploits of the memorable characters of Stevo and Heroin Bob, and the many misadventures they get into in their much-hated Mormon Mecca of Salt Lake City, Utah, this movie had it all. It was tragic, hilarious, dark, romantic, edgy, in-your-face, and full of great Punk classics!!! This is one of my favorite films of all-time. It's one of those films I can always watch, and never get tired of...

Music Highlights:
1. "Kill the Poor" Dead Kennedys
2. "Cretin Hop" Ramones
3. "1969" The Stooges
4. "Amoeba" Adolescents
5. "Look Back and Laugh" Minor Threat

2. "Return of the Living Dead" (1985)

A rare instance where a flick is a true Horror classic, AND a true Punk classic!! Featuring tunes from The Cramps, The Damned, and TSOL, this flick makes me wanna "PARTY!!!" Two dummies "accidentally" unleash a toxic gas from a canister that contains a dead body (happens every day, right? I wish.). The gas is unleashed into the air, causing an "acid rain" storm, which rains on the parade of a gang of punk rockers that are partying at a cemetery nearby... Seriously, this kind of thing happens every day!! The fit hits the shan, unstoppable zombies rise from their graves for some cranial lunch, and some of our Punkers are indeed in for a bogus night... I LOVE this movie!!! It's one of my ultimate favorite Zombie flicks, and I literally love it to death! Filled with memorable characters like Trash, Suicide, and Scuz, amongst others, and filled with awesome one-liners ("Are you on drugs?? Are you on PCP??!?"), this movie is a classic on so many levels!!

Music Highlights:
1. "Surfin' Dead" The Cramps
2. "Nothin' For You" TSOL
3. "Dead Beat Dance" The Damned
4. "Take a Walk" Tall Boys
5. "Eyes Without a Face" Flesheaters

3. "Rock and Roll High School" (1979)

I love me some "Ramoneys," and I love this movie!!! Riff Randle is My Dream... Seriously, why weren't there any tubular Ramones-loving chicks in my high school? What a shame... This classic told the tale of my favorite Ramones fan trying to score tickets to their upcoming concert, all the while avoiding the dreadful Dictatorship of her new high school principal Miss Togar at Vince Lombardi High. Featuring some classic Ramones tune-age, as well as Punk classics like "High School" by MC5, "Teenage Depression" by Eddie and The Hot Rods, and "Rock & Roll" by Velvet Underground, the soundtrack to this movie is BEYOND awesome!! The movie, is of course, an ultimate cult classic, and P.J. Soles most definitely captured my heart as Ramones-lover Riff Randle, who, with The Ramones' help, blew up her school at the end!! THAT IS PUNK!!!!

I love you, Riff Randle...

Music Highlights
ALL of the great Ramones hits, like "Blitzkrieg Bop," "I Wanna Be Sedated," "Pinhead," "I Want You Around," and, the title of the damn movie!!! Awesome stuff!!!

Classic scene:

4. "Decline of Western Civilization" (1981)

As far as Punk documentaries go, this one is the ultimate one. Classic bands like X, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Fear, and The Germs perform live and in-your-face in this raw expose' on the Punk scene in L.A. Director Penelope Spheeris (who would later on achieve success with "Wayne's World," amongst other films) interviewed many of the members of these bands and captured some raw performance footage that is unmatched compared to other Punk docs. She also interviewed some "actual" punkers in a very memorable sequence. The live soundtrack is as great as the film, and the film remains a true cult classic that is in dire need of a DVD release...

One of my favorite scenes...

5. "Repo Man" (1984)

No, I am not talking about that shitty Jude Law movie (fuckers...), I am talking about this wacky Sci-Fi, Action, Comedy Cult Punk Rock Classic!!! You had Punks, Drunks, UFO cultists, "Intense" moments, Criminals, Weird theories, the fuckin' Rodriquez Brothers, Beer, "Sushi," more Beer, and Repo Wives!!! Yay!! Starring Emilio Estevez, before he got all "Mighty Duck-ed," this flick was a classic of epic proportions!! Featuring songs from such bands like Black Flag, Fear, Iggy Pop, Suicidal Tendencies, and even an epic "live" performance of the Circle Jerks, this is another cult classic I can watch over and over again!!!

Music Highlights:
1. "TV Party" Black Flag
2. "Repo Man" Iggy Pop
3. "Let's Have a War" Fear
4. "Institutionalized" Suicidal Tendencies
5. "When The Shit Hits the Fan" Circle Jerks

"I used to like these guys..."

6. "Sid and Nancy" (1986)

Alex Cox, the director of "Repo Man," followed that classic up with this classic Punk ode to the doomed lovers Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungeon. Filled to the brim with classic Sex Pistols jams, not to mention the score, courtesy of The Pogues, Pray for Rain, and Joe Strummer, the music took a backseat to the tragic story of the romance between the former Sex Pistol and his walking disaster of a love mate. As they were addicted to each other, they were just as addicted to heroin. The terrific pairing of a young Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb cemented the tragedy and heartbreak of this story, as Sid allegedly killed Nancy, and later OD'ed himself. Either this is a story of true love, or a story of how dangerous "love" can be. The film remains a classic, and contains one of Gary Oldman's finest performances, not to mention a performance by a young Courtney Love, who almost PLAYED Nancy!!

Music Highlights:
Aside from the score, the various classics from the Sex Pistols debut album, "Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols" which is one of the greatest albums of all time!!!

7. "Suburbia" (1983)

Director Penelope Spheeris followed up her "Decline" with this gritty, hard-edged look at homeless punkers trying to survive in Suburbia. Featuring a cast of unknowns (including a young Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers), the acting wasn't the best, but the movie is a classic Punk film. The music is intense, the performances were raw, and the film took the Punk mantra "No Future" to a whole new meaning. The film also featured classic live performances from T.S.O.L., D.I., and The Vandals. Spheeris most definitely remains one of the greatest Punk movie directors (alongside Alex Cox).

8. "American Hardcore" (2006)

Based on the book by Steven Blush, this rousing, entertaining documentary traced the roots of the movement known as Hardcore from 1980 to 1986. From L.A., to New York, and from DC to Boston, many regions across the country were covered, and many bands were mentioned, including Bad Brains, Black Flag, Minor Threat, T.S.O.L., Circle Jerks, DOA, Middle Class, SSD, Cro-Mags, and various other classic Hardcore bands. Many icons of Hardcore were interviewed such as Henry Rollins, Ian MacKaye, Keith Morris, H.R., and Jack Grisham, amongst others, which makes this a real treat for Punk and Hardcore fans...

9. "Punk! Attitude" (2005)

Another entertaining Punk doc, directed by Don Letts, this movie traced the entire history of the Punk movement going back to the early days with the Velvet Underground, The MC5, The Stooges, The New York Dolls, etc., to the 70s, where Punk exploded, with such bands like Ramones, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, etc. It also covered the Hardcore movement, as well as the Grunge movement in the early 90s. Featuring interviews from Henry Rollins, Chrissy Hynde, David Johansen, Jello Biafra, and various other Punk icons, this film put a nice "cap" on the Punk movement. I only wished it was longer...

10. "Wassup Rockers" (2005)

Larry Clark took a break from his grim storytelling in such gritty fare like "Kids" and "Bully" with this more light-hearted concept about a gang of Mexican skatepunk kids trying to find their way home from the weird, wild jungle of Beverly Hills to the "safe?" streets of South Central. Filled with great skateboarding footage from its cast of unknowns, and a krazy soundtrack full of Hardcore zingers, this is one odd, quirky, nutty little Punk odyssey that is a trip worth taking. I love the soundtrack. I listen to it quite often. I wanna fall in with my own gang of krazy skatepunkerz...

The trailer...

There you have it. Ten lean, mean, Punk Rawk machinez...

I enjoy them very much.

"No Future" never looked so awesome on film... OI!!!

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