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Alan G. Parker
Some of the concert scenes took me back to my late-70s/early 80s SoCal childhood in an intense way. There is way too little concert footage though, and way too much talking heads (not the band, the blabbermouths). With 22 years hindsight it sounds like so much spoiled suburban brats and less like rebels. If I hear the phrase "just getting out aggression" one more time as an excuse for thuggy slamdancing i would have stopped the movie right there. Kids practicing there stagediving in their swimming pool - hmm, a swimming pool, eh?
One problem is that the punk look adopted by these kids is ubiquitous throughout mainstream media and suburban life nowadays - you get no sense of how radical a kid shaving his head was back then.
About ten percent of this film is brilliant, especially watching the creative process of Social Distortion (primarily Mike Ness) slowly compose the song ANOTHER STATE OF MIND (one of the band's best early classics). But these scenes are almost lost in a sea of the pompous Sean Stern pontificating (although he does get blamed for being an egomaniac by mutinous crew members). The film is downright boring whenever Sean has to talk on and on about punks being apart from society. ZZZzzz. Stern seems to have calculated that his band needs a great headliner for the ill-fated tour ahead - sort of like a lousy Presidential candidate, Stern finds his charismatic VP in Social D and uses them to further the name of his lousy Yoth Brigade.
There was no movie I was more prepared to love than this and I am thoroughly disappointed with the results. One day the Decline of Western Civilization (the original) will be released and trip like this flick will pale in comparison to that masterpiece.
One last thought - comparing the cross-country bus commune of ASM to Tom Wolfe's Hippie Opus ELECTRIC KOOLAID ACID TEST might tell you all you need to know about the very early Southern California punkers.
5 of 14 people found this review helpful.
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