Friday, May 25, 2007

American Hardcore

American Hardcore (Paul Rachman, 2006) [5]

First off, let me state that I'm not a fan of punk rock or hardcore in particular. I am, however, a huge fan of music documentaries and I will watch one no matter what musical genre they happen to be covering. The problem with this film, while it tries its best to cram the entire hardcore movement that sprouted up in the 1980s, its scatttershot history doesn't really reveal anything to those not familiar with the scene. A lot of time is focused on Southern California and Washington D.C., the two epicenters of the movement, but it never goes really in depth with any particulars. Black Flag could be the exception but then again, I don't remember much more than a couple of segments on them. The film briefly mentions bands like Husker Du and The Replacements, both out of Minneapolis, but never goes in depth. While musically this isn't my particular taste, the one facet of the film I found interesting is the sociological context of the movement. Hardcore was more or less a direct response to the Reagan revolution, and while most music of the era was glossy and frivolous, the hardcore scene was one of the few effective counterculture groups of the 80s. I would have liked to seen a little more of that than footage of concerts where teenage boys jump and wail on each other.

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