Tuesday, March 06, 2007

American Hardcore DVD review

After reading the book of the same name, I wasn't exactly about to go out of my way to see the movie. The book was loaded with opinions, one-sided arguments and inaccuracies; the movie naturally was full of the same. It seemed like certain topics, like the violence and craziness overshadowed the more positive aspects of hardcore. Straight edge and women's roles in the scene were merely glanced at. Notable problems were the lack of any Misfits or Dead Kennedys content, and the inclusion of DOA (who are from Canada) and way too much on the Cro Mags (who suck). I'm sure some of it due to legal reasons, but they were in the book so I don't see why not include anything. There was a lot on the NY scene, which didn't really take off until after they claim HC died, or maybe the NYHC scene killed it. It also seemed like they directors wee playing favorite with who's stories were told, since it seemed like certain people were always talking. There was also some poor editing decisions, which cut off stories before they ended. I also thought it was weird that certain people's credits under their name were omitting bands of worthy mention. For example it said "Brian Baker: Minor Threat," what about Dag Nasty and Bad Religion?

My biggest gripe is that (like in the book), they stated the fact that hardcore died in 1986. I mean if that's true, what have I been doing with my life for the past 10+ years? You look at the footage of Black Flag, SSD and DYS from their later eras, and could see why people would lose interest. Here it is in 2007, and that stuff still sucks, but their earlier stuff still sounds awesome. They try to blame the fact that they were losing interest and writing shitty music on the scene dying away. If hardcore was dead, why would anybody know who these people were or care about this "documentary?"

The bonus features had some of the live footage, deleted scenes and footage of the opening party in Toronto. The live footage was all stuff shown in the movie, except in its entirety, of course I would have wanted more... The deleted scenes are interesting, but not skippable, so you need to watch it all the way through. Plus it seems like the deleted scenes got cut out too. There is a pretty funny moment w/ Vinnie Stigma and Jimmy Gestapo at NYHC tattoo at the end. There's also a director's commentary, which I am reluctant to give a chance.

Despite all its problems, it was an alright movie. I think you'd need a lot more than an hour and a half to cover the history of hardcore, but I'd be willing to watch that DVD. There would need to be a lot more live footage, and it would need to cover all the important states and their bands with more live footage. American Hardcore probably won't open people's eyes to hardcore who weren't already into it, but at least the soundtrack to the movie makes for a pretty decent mix tape.

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