PUNK'S NOT DEAD
Reviewed by: JimmyO
What's it about
Director Susan Dynner takes a look at punk rock, past and present. She looks into the world of musicians still working together after twenty to thirty years. And she also takes on the subject of pop-punk and it’s influences. Punk rock lives!
Is it good movie?
I remember when I first discovered punk rock. I used to listen to whatever was on the radio, occasionally hearing something cool like Blondie. But then came X. It was John Doe, Exene Cervenka, D.J. Bonebrake and Billy Zoom. And I suddenly found something I hadn’t really heard in music before. Amazing f*cking passion. I was a teenager who finally found out that there was a whole scene out there of amazing bands like Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies, Dead Kennedys, Subhumans and of course, The Sex Pistols or The Ramones. It was an amazing awakening to hear such intense rage with talk about politics, sex, and all sorts of good stuff. And as many times as punk as been reinvented or revived, this wonderful documentary tells you everything you need to know with its title… Punk’s Not Dead.
There is something incredibly fascinating hearing members of The Adicts, Bad Religion, Rancid, Social Distortion, all these guys talking about where punk rock came from. They lived their lives having to sleep on the floor of someone’s place, not knowing where your next gig was going to be, and just playing great music. It was an explosion of fierceness that represented all the square pegs in the world who didn’t want to be told how to live their life. It was an expression, and as Mike Ness of Social D puts it, back in the day, if you had dyed hair or wore black and possibly a dog collar, it wasn’t cool. You had shit thrown at you, you were called every name in the book, but at least you were being yourself and not trying to be cool by shopping at Hot Topic. But is there anything wrong with that? This whole aspect of punk culture is explored as they talk about going to the mall and shopping at a store where they have all your favorite band t-shirts and CDs. Much has changed folks… much has changed.
Punk’s Not Dead takes a fair look at what punk was and where it is now. Bands like Sum 41 or My Chemical Romance, have found huge success by selling millions of albums. Or what about Green Day? They came from pretty familiar punk roots but they have become one of the biggest rock bands around. But is that selling out? According to this film, it all depends on who you are asking. In fact, today there are several young bands that are playing in houses where these kids support themselves by inviting punk rockers with no record contracts, who are lucky to be selling 400 CD’s. It is almost full circle as to what was going on when punk rock came out of youth gone wild. A culture who stopped trusting authority. If you like punk rock, this is one of the best documentaries out there. My only complaint, not enough music. I wish that there would have been more special features with complete live performances. The music in the film is so incredible, that I really would have liked to hear much more. Yes, the interviews are incredible and honest, but next time make a 2-disc with a ton of punk rock.
Video / Audio
Video: This punk rock tale is a nice transfer which since it is a documentary, contains some grainy footage. Still, it looks fine for what it is.
Audio: Most of the audio sounds good, but every so often, you hear a little static. Again, it is good for the kind of movie it is.
When it comes to special features, it is mostly a series of tales that were removed from the documentary. I had fun with quite a few of them, especially one called Fun Stuff. The entire list of what could be considered deleted scenes are “Punk Rock Housing”, “Prez vs. Punk”, “Adicts - The Fall”, “Set Lists”, “Fat Mike’s House Tour” (I love this guy), “Punk Rock Bowling”, “Fun Stuff”, “Smash The Disco: The Business” and an look at some of the most important clubs in punk rock history, “CBGB/The Roxy/The Masque”.
Now finishing off the disc, you will find a Trailer and a Teaser Trailer. It's all well and good but I think there was a sad amount of actual music missing from this.
This kind of music was a major part of my personal growth. Is this a horror film? Not even close. But it is one that many of us that love horror will relate to. I really enjoyed the stories of how it all started and why people played the music they did. If you are a fan of punk rock, director Susan Dynner has created a passionate and interesting look at what made punk… well… punk. And I tend to agree with her, punk rock is not dead. It may never die as long as we have a culture that is pissed off by what their parents and the authorities are doing to them. But next time, please put on more music and make it uncut… hell, punk rock songs aren’t that long. Remember, it is a must to play this movie loud!