Slaves to the Underground (1997)
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Yeah, the acting is awful, there's an odd masturbating scene (which has absolutely nothing to do with the plot) and the main character is incredibly irritating, and unlikable. But in parts, its so bad - its good, in a "showgirls" kind of way. Its not for everyone but if you don't take it too seriously, like rock chick music and indie (read: cheaply made) films and are open to the lesbian theme (which isn't really the main storyline...) you might just enjoy it.
It hits the nail right on the head. The music from obscure Ben Lee songs to Ani DiFranco are not only dead on (the film was shot back in the nineties)for the scene but the way the kids act - young and impulsive shows that the filmmakers knew their subjects and refused to make a film that imprinted the ideas and beliefs of 40 year old wannabe film critics.
The closest film I've seen to this one is probably Penelope Speeris' wonderful film Suburbia from back in the 80's.
The one thing certain men might enjoy is a couple of lesbian sex scenes with some nudity (not a whole lot though). Aside from that, I'm not too sure! This is not only the story of an all girl punk band trying to make it big in post-grunge Seattle, but of how these women have pretty much rejected men---in every possible way imaginable.
Shelly (Molly Gross) and Suzy (Marisa Ryan) are 2 members of this band, called the No-Exits. Suzy sings lead and Shelly rocks on the guitar. Their sound is angry, as if you needed to be told that. Before you say, "Oh, more angry chicks! Who cares?" you'll get a good single reason why Shelly and Suzy are angry. The writing on the stall in the bathroom makes for a useful public service announcement. I loved it. I also loved the fact that petite Marisa Ryan plays a girl who ends up beating the living you know what out of a guy twice her size. She is awesome in this film. I don't get why we don't see much of her today. Given the right role, such as this one, she is scorchingly charismatic.
Shelly and Suzy have been lesbian lovers for some time, but things get turned upside down when Shelly's ex-boyfriend Jimmy (Jason Bortz) unexpectedly shows up to one of No-Exit's local club shows. Suddenly Shelly is no longer in love with Suzy and all over Jimmy, adamant about rekindling their old flame. She launches into a shpeel about how if she didn't have those "emotional problems" she wouldn't have broken it off with him, wouldn't have joined the band, wouldn't have met Suzy, etc.
Although Molly Gross did a fine job (I'd like to see her doing more stuff too) acting the character, I disliked Shelly after this point. She did go through quite a bad ordeal, but she seemed to feel that it justified the things she did to hurt and use people. Her betrayal of Suzy destroys their relationship and for a while, their friendship. She leaves No-Exits, and has apparently decided she isn't gay. Later, wanting back into the band, she demands that she and Suzy only have a "platonic" association. Meanwhile, it seems that she leads Jimmy on, moves in with him, and then, after deciding she needs to go back to the band, moves out of Jimmy's place and pretty much breaks it off with him, again.
Jimmy's friends had warned him about Shelly being "trouble" and it appears they are right. Shelly WAS deeply affected by the tragedy in her life. Nevertheless, it's not easy to like such a selfish person. It seemed to Shelly that only her wants and only her feelings mattered, no one else's. The human behavior is very realistic. I couldn't blame Suzy for the decision she made about her own life's direction at the end of the film.
Again, the social and political statements in this film may not sit well with certain men. It's definitely a women's film, with a N.O.W. attitude. I still find it entertaining, realistic and fresh, if perhaps a bit self conscious, even for a film dated in mid-90s Seattle.