Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Movie Review: Punk's Dead: SLC Punk 2

One of the first things I read about this movie was a review on IMDb (never read the reviews on IMDb) in which the "critic" complained that the movie was too short at an hour and fifteen minutes.   I can only assume this person would also be upset if you had them listen to something such as Descendents because they most likely prefer the longer song structure of something such as, say, Coldplay.   I mean, if you're going into a movie about punk rock and you're going to complain about it being too short then maybe you need to rethink your priorities when it comes to art, re: quality over quantity.

As a fan of the original "SLC Punk" I can say that this movie was not as good as the original, but I mean, could it ever be?   Could it ever live up to it or even be better somehow?  I feel like that's kind of the point in some ways, because since the original is such a classic now it's not as if the people behind this movie set out to make something better than the original and it is only because the original was so good that they wanted to make this in the first place.

So what is this movie then?   Well, it's a sequel of sorts, a glimpse into the future-past, and as far as sequels go it is rather good because there are a shit-ton of sequels out there that should have never even be made and this isn't one of them.   The plot takes us into the future- Heroin Bob is dead but yet he still narrates the story and his son Ross is a goth who is slowly turning into a punk, kind of sort of.

Right away you can note the music of this movie.   I feel like the original "SLC Punk" was about Sex Pistols, The Ramones, The Clash, etc. and now here we instead have bands like Violent Femmes and Rancid.   Even The Dwarves make a live appearance at the end and, I mean, really if you're only going to watch this movie for the final concert scene then I could even justify that as being reason enough to watch this-- plain and simple.  If nothing else: watch this for the music.

There is also this fun part where Heroin Bob breaks down the different categories of punk rock and says how it used to all be just "punk" and now it's got all its little classifications.   One he does mention is gypsy punk so shout out to me, I suppose, as that is what I still best relate to even though I get emails once every three or four months telling me that "gypsy" is a racial slur (Read a book, people)

If you want to know how these characters develop and the plot unfolds, it's simple really, as I can sum it up for you in one scene.   Our main female character Penny (who I like to think of as a nod to Penny Arcade) finds herself at a gas station with her father who punches her in the face.   She jumps on his truck and begins smashing the windows before hitting him and telling him to jerk himself off now.   All of this plot, all of this character development, thrown at you in a such a short and chaotic burst.   This movie is punk rock, man.

Devon Sawa returns from the original (and with a ridiculous hat) and hopefully that keeps the future open for a "Idle Hands" sequel with him involved.   James Duval- who played Frank the Bunny in "Donnie Darko"- is in here as John The Mod while the main three cast members are Hannah Marks (Penny), Ben Schnetzer (Ross) and Machine Gun Kelly (Crash)  I'm not really familiar with anything Ben Schnetzer has been in but Hannah Marks will forever be known to me as Mimi for whatever reason, so yeah, it was kind of cool to see the girl who was dating the gay kid in "The Real O'Neals" as a punk in this movie.

Machine Gun Kelly is a... rapper I think... but he will forever be best known by me as a guy who performed his "music" once on WWE Raw only to be powerbombed by Kevin Owens, who at the time was playing the role of the heel.   The funny thing is, WWE saw this as such a "heel" move to make, like, Kevin Owens was ruining this musical performance and all of that, but I don't know many wrestling fans who care about the music of MGK and most I know were glad to see him take the powerbomb and stop singing or whatever.   Coincidentally, Sean and John The Mod have a conversation about which of the male "Friends" characters would win a Punjabi Prison match, so there is a wrestling reference in here as well.

Perhaps the greatest words I ever read about punk rock were in the bathroom at the El N Gee Club in New London, Connecticut (and I've read most all the books written about punk as well)  It simply said: "punk rock will never die... but you will".     Movies like this will keep punk alive forever because maybe in another twenty years they'll make a third one with a new batch of punk bands that I might complain about because punk has kind of become less of what it once was.

Case in point: as I watched the final concert scene, I looked at kids with liberty spikes and wondered how they got jobs looking like that and then realized they probably just work at Hot Topic since that place loves that shit.    It's just so strange to think how times have changed since the original and more so that when punk was once an outsider scene it now has become more acceptable in society because people don't complain as much about hair color, tattoos, etc.   I mean, yes, there are businesses that will even restrict the number of piercings you can have, but it's not as many as there were in the 20th Century, which was pretty much all of them.

The moral of this entire review is something along the lines of "If it's too loud then you're too old".   I think a lot of people are hanging onto the original- which I get- but this isn't meant to be better than the original, you know.   It's a good movie for someone who might be watching it now at the same age that I was when I saw "SLC Punk" for the first time.   And mostly I feel like if this movie isn't accepted by fans or critics, well, what could be more punk rock than that?

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