A coming-of-age comedy about a young Sydney band trying to get a foothold in the competitive world of rock n' roll. After the band's first gig is a colossal failure, the lead singer takes it upon himself to go out and pursue the most successful rock manager in the country. Meanwhile the other members of the band continue to deal with the kind of every day life issues that can ultimately tear a band apart. It may be the dawn of a new millennium but it's still a long way to the top if you want to rock n' roll. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Do yourself a favour and see "The Wannabees" (about a gang of foul-mouthed thugs who become the country's most successful children's show), "Razzle Dazzle" (about a failing dance instructor and a bunch of fellow losers trying to coach a bunch of pre-teen girls to victory) and "Garage Days" about... as best as I can summarize... a rock'n'roll soap opera that plays out like a Hunter S. Thompson nightmare (Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas).
"Garage Days" is exactly what a quirky, offbeat, rock'n'roll Aussie comedy should be: quirky, offbeat & full of rock'n'roll. Before I even get to my review, I'll mention some of the tunes on the soundtrack: AC/DC "It's a Long Way to the Top" & "High Voltage", The Cure "Boys Don't Cry", Violent Femmes "Blister in the Sun", Roxy Music "Love Is the Drug", and a particularly hilarious choreographed psychedelic scene set to Rick James "Superfreak". As in Proyas's masterpiece "The Crow", the music really sets the stage for the whole experience.
"Garage Days" follows a month in the life of a struggling punk-metal-grunge-pop band trying to get their one big shot. Along the way we get roped into the common themes of sex, drugs, love & friendship... and the not-so-common themes of creepy goth girlfriends, soul-sucking slot machines and talking cantaloupes. The whole movie comes at you hard & fast, like "Amelie" on crack.
Quite surprising for director Alex Proyas, master of the cinematic shadows ("The Crow", "Dark City")--it's very bright and lively. If you're a fan of Proyas, you must see this side of him. Much like Tim Buton who did "Batman" as well as "Peewee's Big Adventure", Proyas proves that there's a fine line between darkness & light, and he's able to cross it seamlessly.
A note for us Yanks, it helps to watch it with the subtitles because the Aussie accent can run over you like a rabid kangaroo. And some of the quips are priceless, you don't want to miss a beat. I found the script to be hilarious, the acting charming, the story suspenseful and the presentation memorable.
Tastes may vary, but I found each character to be instantly likable, from "Freddie" (an odd mix of Peewee Herman and a young Christopher Walken) to "Tanya" (a punk rich girl who sports the perfect blend of hot, cute & badass), "Lucy" (Henry Rollins meets Billy Idol meets Mongo from Blazing Saddles), "Joe" (a puzzler who is best left for you to decipher), "Joe's dad" (an aging rocker who himself is more childish & clueless than his son), all the peripheral characters who did a stellar job, and then there's the guy who steals the show "Bruno" their loser manager (played by Russell Dykstra from the aforementioned "Wannabees").
There aren't many well-known movies I can compare this to because it's so unusual, but if you've seen the hilarious Japanese flicks "Kamikaze Girls", "Swing Girls" or "Otakus in Love" I'd say this fits right alongside them. It also reminded me a bit of the funny Rainn Wilson flick "The Rocker", only pumped up with twice the adrenaline and totally Aussified. If you like rock'n'roll comedies, do not miss this!
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