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BTDesign Award
American Hardcore (2006)

Cast: Ian MacKaye, Dez Cadena, Joe Carducci, Flea, Dave Markey, Moby, Henry Rollins,

Director(s): Paul Rachman,

Language: English

Genre: Documentary

Website: Click Here


True hardcore fans may balk at the fact that this vibrant document of a scene that prided itself on some staunchly anti-corporate ethics is being distributed by business behemoth Sony, but they needn?t worry--AMERICAN HARDCORE was in the can long before the men in suits picked it up for distribution. Paul Rachman's film is bookended by two clips of Ronald Reagan being sworn in for each of his tenures as president, and the director is quick to draw parallels between Reagan?s leadership and the ex... [Get complete synopsis]


Papamikey wrote on August 31, 2007, 9:36 am
Man, was I DECEIVED by THIS title...LOL!

I THOUGHT it was going to be a good ol'fashioned pr8n!!


I keed! I KEEEED! (or do I?)

Honestly, I read the description on the Movie Channel and thought, "Punk is one musical form I've ALWAYS hated, maybe 'cuz I just didn't get it...this might be interesting to see the 'INNER' workings and maybe grow to appreciate it a little..."

No dice.

This doc sucked. Punk MUSIC sucks. At risk of sounding like a WASPish fuddy-duddy, it really IS just noise, inchoerant SCREAMING. But, as the doc explains: this is WHAT PUNK IS ALL ABOUT, screaming RAGE against the Reagan establishment.

But, the old farts in the doc that are reminiscing about this, granted in OLD "tour" shirt and rasta braids, are sitting in HUGE back yards with pools and even CHILDRENS play structures looming in the background.


No matter HOW much you (literally) throw shit at the "establishment" it ALWAYS swallows you in the end.

And, as for the doc itself, I shut it off about 2/3rds of the way through because it did little to explain the workings of Punk itself. It was more a series of clips of stage diving, some small clips of the songs and a WHOLE LOT of the afformentioned established talking heads (I assume former kings of Punk) going ON and ON about how the threw the FINGER at "the man".

Some I recognized, like Henry Rollins and Flea...some BANDS I recognized, like Bad Brains, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, etc etc.

And, you know...I had NO idea Moby was part of the Hardcore Punk scene?!? GO FIGURE...now he makes dippy trance music....

motleymitch wrote on September 2, 2007, 2:36 am
Wow, big can of worms here....obviously music and art are very subjective. One man's Crue is another man's Lava Hay, but just to comment on the 'big names' sitting pretty in their backyards - NO ONE, punk or not, wants to live in poverty. ALL the 'real' punks - Ramones, Pistols, The Clash, Rollins, Bad Brains, Dead Kennedys, etc.....sold enough records to make a living, without selling out. Is it 'true' punk to die as a young idiot like Sid Vicious or GG Allin? Possibly, but I believe Rollins et al are (obviously) smarter than that. Punk does not have to equal stupid. These guys are allowed to have family and children and provide for them like anyone else, this does not make them sell-outs. Rollins and Jello Biafra still make a pretty penny giving sold-out speeches worldwide, and more power to them given their messages.
As for the music, yes it can be minimal, and bleak, and screamy, and whiny, and shitty too....but you can say that about all genres really. And seeing a band like Bad Brains have a lot of fun with what they do, branching off into reggae/punk and really enjoying themselves on stage, did not for me lessen their impact as serious musicians with serious messages. Basically, punk has always been, 'you don't like it? don't listen!'. IMHO.

Papamikey wrote on September 2, 2007, 8:42 am

I don't begrudge them for joining the rat-race (as it were), but that's not what I got out of the movie. I got a bunch of people saying they flew the finger at the establishment, they punched people full up in the face (literally and metaphorically) and basically just reminisced about the "old days"...implying punk is dead and they've moved on.

I'm not naiive enough to know that punk is VERY much alive and I would have LOVED to have heard from MODERN bands and they're reasons for angst and aggression. THAT's what I wanted from this Doc...WHY! WHY do they feel such seething rage? And I found it hard to swallow that someone could feel such rage whilst sitting next to his pool in Beverly Hills...

Nor am I attacking punk in general, I don't begrudge the genre nor it's fans and, much like the afformentioned Lava Hay, it's a genre I think is oft misunderstood. I'm attacking this movie.

Go Sens Go!
Papamikey wrote on September 2, 2007, 8:43 am

OK...after doing a re-read of the review I gave, maybe it sorta DOES sound like I'm attacking Punk music, too...

Oh well.
motleymitch wrote on May 13, 2008, 10:45 am
My friend just lent this to me and I was surprised that it had been already posted - forgot about this whole thread!
Mikey - you ARE an old fuddy-duddy!
I'm not gonna try and sway you to like punk music, but I found this doc very informative in its establishing of the American hardcore scene. It's explained how they wanted to branch off from the more 'mainstrean' punk like Ramones and the Clash (who, when you face it, are quite poppy and catchy), and go angrier, louder, faster. There are no songs about holding hands - it's all anger towards the authoritative surroundings of the time (Reagan). The title specifically states 'The History Of American Punk Rock 1980-1986', so that's why we don't have interviews with modern-day 'punks' (your Good Charlottes and Green Days). They weren't there at the time and had no hand in establishing the genre.
Some of the artists are still making records (Rollins, Bad Brains), some have their own businesses now (Vinnie Stigma's tattoo shop), some produce music, and some have jobs out of the industry altogether. A man's gotta eat, I don't begrudge them for earning a living and buying a home instead of squatting in a building at the age of 50. And believe me, most of these guys are not stinking rich.
Anywho, different strokes.

What's your rating of this movie?


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