Thursday, March 29, 2007

Who Killed the Electric Car?

This is another decent documentary from 2006. Going into it, I was expecting a less publicized, but equally powerful Inconvenient Truth. With these expectations, I was disappointed, but I in the end, I feel that it held its own fairly well. Without trying to have political bias, I can imagine certain powers that prevented this movie from having a wider release. Despite the fact that some areas of the movie seemed a little glib and contrived, I still recommend it.

Who Killed the Electric Car? plays out almost like a crime scene investigation. It follows the rise, and eventual fall of the EV1- the first commercial electric car. Writer/Director Chris Paine investigates different suspects in the demise of the vehicle. General Motors (who manufactured it), consumers, the car itself, the California Air Resources Board, and others are all held up under the microscope. At the end, Paine actually points his finger at certain culprits placing responsibility on them, while exonerating others.

The movie is interesting, and has some very good points, but did not seem to be as powerful as I had expected. I was anticipating the same reaction as an Inconvenient Truth (After all, that was just a lecture- this was a full blown movie). Who Killed the Electric Car? just didn't hold as much weight to it. I can't exactly place my finger on why not. Martin Sheen provided a very good, yet sparse narration, owners and designers alike weighed in passionately, and it stressed the possibilities that could come with using electric cars. Perhaps it lost a little clout when it started relying on celebrity testimonies from Mel Gibson, Phyllis Diller, Tom Hanks, and others. I think their presence was there to show how difficult it had been to acquire these cars, and how high the demand really was- but they just don't seem to hold as powerful sway in a documentary setting.

The most passionate interviewee was Chelsea Sexton, the person in charge of marketing the EV1 in California. She had done everything in her power to create a demand (which there was), and convince GM of this demand (which they ignored). When GM decided to recall all the cars they had leased, she personally visited the owners. This led to the one genuinely powerful scene in the movie where several of the owners followed the cars to the junk yard, where they scrapped these perfectly good machines.

The movie featured a lengthy section on Hydrogen Power, citing it as a detriment to the electric car, and a detriment to the environment. Paine says that in theory, it's a good idea, but the electric powered cars are already viable, and will be much more effective, and much cheaper than hydrogen power. I found it interesting that he would tackle a competing environmental solution, which I liked. I thought it took some courage to attack a popular issue that may not sit well with the target audience. This truly is a documentary, and not just an opinion piece.

As is apparent with the title, the electric car lost. The movie ends on an optimistic note, however, with many of those interviewed talking about how excited they are about the future. The rise of the hybrids, and alternative bio-fuels have created a sense of hope among the environmentalists. The movie is largely depressing- highlighting the struggles of a vehicle and those who defended it, and how they were doomed from the beginning (The title alone tells you this much). It ends on an upswing, however, giving a hopeful, yet cautionary view of the future. The movie gets its point across very effectively, but relies a bit too much on celebrity testimony (and an absurd memorial service- don't ask). It's not the best documentary, but it does what a documentary should.


Monday, March 26, 2007


You may wonder why I review some of the movies I do- and in complete honesty, I find myself wondering the same thing. For instance, why am I reviewing an obscure Sean Connery movie from 1974? The simple answer is that this movie is so deliciously bad that it warrants a review thirty years later. This movie was terrible, but I'm going to recommend it. It's sort of like Plan 9 From Outer Space. It's a horrendous classic everyone must see. But why should everyone see this movie? Three reasons. A genuinely interesting premise; a giant, flying, talking, stone head; and Sean Connery in a dress. Isn't that reason enough?

This movie was actually recommended to me by a teacher (as a great example of tepid film-making), and right there in class I jumped on Netflix and put it to the top of my queue. After watching the movie, I can say I was not disappointed. The idea of the movie I actually really like. It tells the story of a futuristic caste system where one group (Immortals) rules over another (Savages). The catch is that the Savages don't even know the mortals exist. They are trained to kill each other and farm, giving sacrifices to their god, Zardoz (the giant flying head). Sean Connery finds himself in the land of the Immortals, and they are immediately intrigued by him. The group is bored with their immortality, and find excitement in this change of pace. Eventually, however, Connery brings distrust and violence to the immortals.

On the surface this doesn't actually sound like that bad of a movie. Unfortunately the acting is horrendous. Sean Connery did this movie with an entire cast of unknowns, simply because he was fresh off of playing James Bond, and nobody would hire him for more serious roles. (If you've ever seen Finding Forrester, he's still struggling to find that role.) The acting almost works well together, though, because it's all so monotonous, but equally so.

Many parts of the movie are long and tedious, and others are long, tedious, and make no sense. I mean no sense whatsoever. It's hard for me to tell, but I'm pretty sure a lot of what happens contradicts other things. And at the end, the entire thing just falls apart. Honestly, it's almost as if writer/director John Boorman literally unraveled the script at the end, and threw together whatever randomness he could put down on film.

There are amusing moments with his interacting with many nude women, effeminate men, and various groups of immortals including the apathetic (pretty much anybody who watches the movie), and the renegades (crazy old immortals). They use him for tests, labor, and of course- sex. Connery takes all of this in stride, thinking that he is actually already dead.

This movie isn't a total loss, however. It has some social commentary to it- actually a lot of it. In fact, that's pretty much all it is. The entire movie revolves around a dominant class that keeps the other one subdued and enslaved. There's even sexism, and capital punishment sprinkled in there. Leave it to a cheesy 70's sci-fi flick to beat us over the head with lessons about discrimination. I do like the idea, I do like the message, and I do Connery in a dress. I just wish the rest of the movie was on par with these three pluses. It's a shame that these messages would mean more coming from a better movie. Even though the movie is rather dreadful, I'm still going to encourage you to see it. It's still not as bad as some of the movies being made today (see my review of the Hitcher). Zardoz, despite all of its flaws may actually entertain you. Do I need to reiterate?- Sean Connery in a dress.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story

What do you get when you try to adapt the unfilmable book, and place that movie within a movie about making the movie? You get Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story. This movie, directed by Michael Winterbottom (24 Hour Part People), and starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in the co-lead, delves into only the first two or three of nine volumes of the original published novel, but keeps the spirit alive during the entire movie.

The movie opens on an improvised conversation between Coogan and Brydon as they sit in make-up. They argue about (among other things) who is indeed the leading man, and teeth color. Coogan, who plays both Tristram Shandy himself, and his father- Walter Shandy, narrates the story, and takes us through his life. He does a fantastic job in both roles, as does Brydon, who plays the eccentric Toby Shandy.

What makes this story unfilmable is that it's simply a massive collection of stories with intertwining characters- with Shandy narrating them. In the novel, he has a habit of not being able to tell a story without digressing on a number of tangents. This is illustrated in the movie by that fact that the first half-hour passes without Tristram even being born. This sections is brilliantly presented non-linearly, following one story up to the point of his birth, before backtracking to follow another story line.

The rest of the movie involves the making of the movie (which is actually fictitiously portrayed). Coogan tries to balance his schedule with his girlfriend Jenny (Kelly McDonald) and child. He obsesses about the smallest details that essentially feed his ego, and argues with Brydon about everything. The crew is filled out by Jennie (Naomie Harris), Coogan's assistant, and possibly the smartest person in the movie. There are also producers, prop-masters, and a moderately crazy military advisor. All these people wrestle with budget problems, issues adapting an insurmountable book.

Even though less than half of the movie actually follows the book, the idea of a narrator revealing the the stories of those around him carries over. Coogan functions as the glue that binds the characters making the movie. I still feel that my favorite part was the first act that actually told the Tristram Shandy story. I almost wish they had continued on that story, and stayed within the movie, instead of entering the fictionalized making of. Even though the last half was indeed entertaining and enjoyable in its own right, I feel that this could have been done with any movie, and kind of detracted from the genius of the story.

The cast is fantastic (both within the movie, and in the making of), and the story is a fantastic one. I'm conflicted between what the movie is, and what I would have liked it to be. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, but still feel that it could have been even more wonderful. In the end, I suppose I should rate this on its own merit, and not what it may have been.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007


David Fincher is one of the most meticulous and skillful directors around today. He is also one of my favorites. Fincher brought us some modern classics with Se7en, Fight Club and the Game (even his forgettable Panic Room was an above average flick). He does it again with Zodiac. Fincher returns to the detective- almost film noir- style that he created for Se7en, and crafts a wonderful movie. Unlike Se7en, Zodiac is not so much a thriller as it is a straight up detective story, presenting one of the most intriguing unsolved mysteries in recent years.

If you've ever heard anything about the Zodiac Killer, you will know that this movie follows a series of unsolved murders in the San Fransisco area from the late sixties through the mid seventies. There seemed to be nothing linking the murders, except the fact that a mysteries person known as the Zodiac claimed responsibility. He communicated through letters and ciphers which he sent to newspapers. The movie follows police investigators and journalists as they try to track the killer.

The movie pushes three hours, but seldom drags. In fact, it gets better as it goes on. Fincher takes a little bit of time to hit his stride, showing some unnecessary and unimportant scenes of the actual murders early on. One of them actually elicited laughs from some in my theater (not entirely out of line either). Once the movie gets into the investigation, it starts to get interesting and develops the characters: Inspector David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) who heads the investigation for years, Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal), the cartoonist turned recreational investigator who gave up everything for the case and eventually wrote the book this movie is based on, and Paul Avery (Rober Downy Jr.), a journalist who works with Graysmith, and reports on the Zodiac Killer. A fantastic cast makes up even the smaller roles. Brian Cox plays a comically sophisticated attorney, Anthony Edwards plays Ruffalo's partner, and John Caroll Lynch plays the prime Zodiac suspect. All of these actors play their parts astoundingly well.

Fincher always manages to insert a sort of subtle humor in his movies- at critical moments as well. There is one scene where Graysmith is questioning someone who he increasingly begins to suspect as being the Zodiac. As the subtle warning signs mount, Gyllenhaal's reactions make you chuckle, even in a scene that is tense and genuinely scary. Fincher is a master of suspense in this regard, keeping certain aspects light, while still being scary. Paul Avery is another vehicle for this tool, acting as a foil for Graysmith, Toschi, and just about every other character in the movie. He has a number of witty lines that he delivers with panache, and even though he is a tragic figure, falling into alcoholism, Downy keeps the character light and entertaining.

The aspect of this movie that intrigued me the most, and kept me interested was the duality between Ruffalo and Edward's investigator characters, and Gyllenhaal and Downy's characters. Each pair independently tried to figure out who the killer was, occasionally stepping on each others toes. There were even scenes that cut back and forth between the two, discussing the same issues, but going about it differently, and arriving at significantly different conclusions.

In the third act, however, the investigation has all but been forgotten, but Graysmith becomes increasingly more obsessed with it. Toschi agrees to help him in his research for his book, but only gives him enough information to get started- everything else must be done on his own. In a way, this almost gives him an advantage. All the murders took place in different counties, and the police forces refused to work together. This bogged down the investigation. Interestingly, the various officers were almost more willing to work with Graysmith than the other police departments, possibly because he was investigating about half a decade later. This section of the movie was my favorite. It was interesting how Toschi and Avery let the Zodiac killer nearly destroy their lives early on, then Graysmith gives up everything (his family and job) in his obsessive investigation.

The only thing I would have liked to seen improved on was the reasoning behind these various characters obsessions. With the relative few numbers of murders attributed to the Zodiac compared to others, why was the police force so concerned with this case as opposed to others? What caused Graysmith to give up his sanity for the investigation? Why did he lose his family (with which his relationship was never well developed)? Was it simply the ciphers?- he did enjoy puzzles after all. And why was Paul Avery...well...everything about him? These are questions I feel would have been better to address than showing the murders themselves. I can understand, however, how with a three hour movie, adding more dialogue heavy scenes, and subtracting the few action scenes would be a bad idea.

This movie was good, very good, but not excellent. It had a few flaws, some unnecessary scenes, and questions left unanswered (and I'm not referring the question of who was the killer). It wasn't Fincher's best, but it's better than most out there in the winter off-season.


Friday, March 16, 2007

The Hitcher

This movie is awful, just terrible. I could easily leave it at that, and it would sufficiently describe the film. However, I feel that I have the responsibility to actually describe what makes it so repugnant. (On another note, let's see how many different adjectives I can use during the course of this review to describe how bad the Hitcher is).

This was another horror movie remake, coming a little bit later than the rest, opening in early 2007. This time the creators of the remake of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (which I felt wasn't terrible), take on the 1986 cult classic. The original is genuinely suspenseful, and intriguing, and shocks the hell out of you. This one, however, just bores the hell out of you. It takes no more than fifteen minutes for the movie to sink into the routine of killing innocents who get in the way of a revenge plot. The movie stars Zachary Knighton as Jim Hasley, and Sophia Bush as Grace Andrews- two twenty-somethings who refuse to pick up a hitchhiker one night. Sean Bean plays John Ryder- the hitchhiker of the title. Eventually they meet back up, and he starts a manic chase to seek revenge on the two of them, for no apparent reason, and kills anyone and everyone in the way. Sounds great, huh?

Now I'm not one to immediately just disregard violent horror movies. I love them, remember, but only when they're intriguing. This was not. Not only did they take a rather good movie and remake it, they changed everything about it. Somehow they felt the need to add more violence, but tame down the genuine scares. There are few surprises in this movie, and those that are there, make no sense. These film-makers completely change the ending, which was the most shocking part of the original- and was also the climax of the character development.

Hm, that's another thing that's strangely absent from this version, character development. By the end, you don't know, or care who any of these people are. Not even the main characters. They did manage to throw in the obligatory "Have you ever thought about having kids?" between Grace and Jim. I guess this passes for character arc, or at least eats up enough to time start killing. There is only one person I cared about, and that was Lieutenant Esteridge (played by Neal McDonough), I was actually more concerned about the career of this fine actor who starred in Flags of Our Fathers, and Band of Brothers. What in the world was he doing in this movie? He was the only shinning star in this droll doldrums of cinema.

I always make myself say at least one thing negative when the review is overwhelmingly positive, and I almost must say one positive thing in a negative review. I suppose I could admit that the cinematography was kind of cool. The washed out scenes and desert landscapes did help the atmosphere of the movie. In the end, however, I hated this movie. I mean haaaaated it.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Wicker Man

I am going to lose all credibility as a film critic not only because I'm taking the time to review this movie, but because I'm going to give it a fairly decent review. The Wicker Man is of course the 2006 remake of a 1977 classic. The updated version stars Nicholas Cage- acting just as Nicholas Cage should be. Neil Labute, who penned and directed this adaptation does not create a masterpiece of suspense, but offers a fun movie with some genuinely engaging and creepy moments.

The acting is not good, that can't be avoided- but it's almost perfect for Nicholas Cage. He's a good action hero, that's all there is to it. He tries to bring a slight bit of emotion into The Wicker Man, but it's lost. That's okay, because it would probably fall on deaf ears if the audience for this movie has the same mentality towards it that I have. I just want surprises, a few scares, and a lot of creeps.

The plot involves a troubled police officer, Edward Malus (Cage) who investigates the missing child of his ex fiance. Intrigued yet? Just wait, it gets even better. She happens to be living on an island in Washington with a society of cult like weirdos. Not only are they trying to get him to leave, but their trying to convince him that this child never wait... that she she's still alive. Oh I don't know anymore. Their story changed every five minutes, and for some reason Malus would go along with it at almost every turn, only occasionally freaking out at the odd occurrences.

The movie plays out almost like a young adult detective novel- structurally that is. Thematically, it's a bit more mature. But each plot point ends with Malus finding himself in some seemingly hopeless situation, then the next scene he figures an easy way out, or is rescued. I expect Labute was a Hardy Boys fan. Lucky for him, so was I.

I will say, and with complete sincerity, that the ending is fabulous. I have not seen the original, but I knew how it ended, and it still gave me the chills. The Wicker Man was just another entry into a long list of recent horror movie remakes (The Hills Have Eyes, When a Stranger Calls, The Hitcher, and Halloween which is coming out later this year). The Wicker Man, however, is easily the strongest out of all these. It stayed rather close to the original, while updating the style a bit (putting it in the Pacific Northwest instead of England). I'm not saying it's a work of art, but it does accomplish what it sets out to. It's fun, surprising, and even a little scary.


Letters from Iwo Jima

I finally got to see this Oscar nominated film. I must say, out of the nominees for best picture, I feel this should have won (though I still have not seen two of them). This is easily one of the best war movies I have seen in a long time. It tells the story of that historic battle from the Japanese perspective, and Clint Eastwood crafts an amazing piece about the soldiers themselves. It is much better than his best picture winning Million Dollar Baby.

Letters is not so much a movie about the battle itself, but about the soldiers. The movie delves deeply into developing every character, and exploring the trials that they must endure. Almost immediately you fall in love with them all. The movie takes it content from a collection of letters written by General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, the commander of the Japanese resistance. The fact that the stories came from someone who was actually there just adds to the power of the movie. The story follows Saigo (Kazunari Ninomiya), a baker who is unwillingly drafted into the army, Shimizu (Ryo Kase), a military police officer who was demoted because of his unwillingness to follow unjust orders, and Kuribayashi himself, played by Ken Watanabi (famous for his role in The Last Samurai). All of these characters, and many more lay the foundation of what the movie is really about.

At first it was difficult to accept the invading American soldiers as the enemies, but the movie is crafted so you truly sympathies with the Japanese soldiers. They struggle to deal with an impossible situation. The Imperial army repeatedly refuses their requests for re-enforcements and more equipment. The government lies to them, and even sends a letter saying that they hope the soldiers die with honor. There is no delusion (except possibly for Kuribayashi) that they can actually be victorious. One of the commanding officers in an attempt to rally the troops said "Every day we fight them off here, is one more day that our children can play in freedom". They were all fighting for the same thing as the Allies

The fundamental theme is that there is really no difference between the soldiers on either side. In one scene, the Japanese capture an American soldier, and Baron Nishi (played by Tsuyoshi Ihara) shows him kindness, indicating to his soldiers that the enemy is not actually evil. Every character must wrestle with their own fears and conceptions, while still trying to follow their duty to their homeland. These could easily be soldiers in any army in any war, and it would by powerful. It just works so well here being a companion to Clint Eastwood's earlier release of Flags of Our Fathers- which tells the same story from the American perspective.

There are only a few drawbacks to Letters. There were some scenes in which Nishi spent time before the war in America. These functioned as a half-hearted way to develop his character (which never really worked), and a lazy way to show American and Japanese relations prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. One woman asks him "What would you do if Japan and America went to war?" That seemed a tad bit too obvious for me. These scenes simply added length to a movie that I was ready to be over about fifteen minutes before it was.

This is of course a war movie, so it features some battle sequences, but not many. Most of the movie takes place in the caves with the Japanese soldiers. This is a tactic that is not done very often, but done very well. It doesn't beat you over the head with the war, but focuses more on the soldiers themselves. In Letters from Iwo Jima Eastwood created an emotional and nearly flawless movie.


Saturday, March 10, 2007


300 hundred essentially met my expectations. It didn't disappoint, but it didn't astound either. I saw it yesterday in a sold out show, and two or three times during the course of the movie the screen met with thunderous applause (this is why seeing movies on opening day is so much more enjoyable). The movie exciting, and it was stunning, but it never went much further than pretty pictures and inspirational speeches. It does well for what it is- a comic book epic, but never really stretches beyond that mold.

Director Zack Snyder's visions is based off Frank Miller's graphic novel of the same name. He had some difficult tracks to follow, coming a few years after Sin City- Miller's other recent adaptation. Fortunately for the audience, Miller was involved heavily in the production of both of those movies, and they both remain fairly true to their sources. 300 follows King Leonidas, played by Gerard Butler, and 300 of his Spartan soldiers as they make a stand against the advancing Persian army, led by King Xerxes. It is essentially 300 against a million, and of course the Spartans are forced to make the ultimate sacrifice. The inspiration comes in their knowledge of this fact from the very beginning, yet their willingness to fight anyway. So yes, it is inspirational, but it's no Braveheart or Gladiator.

The movies plays out like a comic book, which is good. The camera movements are very original, and some of the strongest points in the movie. Slow motion action with rapid camera movement creates a very surreal effect, and almost like your following comic book panels. Even the blood looked drawn on, and was that brown globular comic book blood- which I loved.

The entire movie was shot in front of the blue screen, so of course the leads to some stunning visuals. The matte paintings for the background are lush, and some of the set pieces are just amazing (Xerxes throne for one). The movie shows much more like a fantasy than a historical epic. I think it's probably important to go into it not expecting history, but adventure. There are certain members of Xerxes army that defy all concept of normality. The immortals, the various animals he employed from around his empire, and one odd fellow that had swords for arms.

300 follows epic movie tradition in featuring a lot of overly dramatic action. It works fine in a setting like this, however. Almost everything in the movie is communicated through the yelling of speeches. This seems to fit with the overblown nature of the visuals. Butler delivers a bulk of these speeches with force and grace- he does a fine job. Lena Headly, who plays his wife, Queen Gorgo, does a fantastic job giving her character a subtle strength. She juxtaposes the woman's role back home, but shows that she is just as powerful.

The movie came off a little schizophrenic, however. At some points it seemed like it wanted to be an epic ancient movie, and at other times it wanted to be a modern stylistic gore fest. It was honestly a little difficult for me to see how the grand sweeping score, and occasional metal guitars worked together. For the most part it seemed to stick with the epic nature, but I feel that it was a little too influenced by Sin City stylistically. For the most part 300 has a unique and wonderful style, but during the occasional spots (especially the credits), it strays from this into a more straight from comic book atmosphere.

Also, it features a few unnecessary scenes, that even though they followed the novel, didn't come across as important on screen. There is a lengthy number with an oracle that just seems to be there to throw a little nudity in the movie. The scene is followed closely by a clumsy and lazy sex scene, that could just as well have been left out.

I liked this movie, and I'm glad I went (if you want to see it, see it on the big screen). I think you can probably tell fro the trailers if you'll like it. There's no surprises, and the previews show the movie like it actually is. If it doesn't look like it appeals to you, then it probably doesn't. If you think it looks fun and exciting, trust me, it is. I enjoyed it, but it didn't do anything to astound me. I don't put it in the upper echelons of the classics like Ben-Hur or Sparticus, but I do think it was better than movies like Troy and Alexander. Again, it was lot of really pretty pictures, and oozed inspiration.


Wednesday, March 7, 2007

American Hardcore

Next time you go into a movie theater, turn to your neighbor and have him or her punch you in the face- repeatedly. This is similar to what Paul Rachman, director of American Hardcore, was trying to do in his movie. Some times he succeeds, with the movie coming out of the screen at you like a brick, but at other times it just fizzles. On a whole, however, it is quite an entertaining documentary. If you know nothing about punk, it's very informative, but if you know lots about punk, you may be a little disappointed.

The movie, for all intensive purposes, spans six year- 1980-1986, and how punk evolved during that time. It starts out very interesting showing the roots of hardcore punk in LA and San Francisco, and how it spread throughout the country to DC, then up the coast to Boston and New York, then finally merging in the middle in the heartland- just in time for the movement to putter out. For the most part, the interviews, footage, and very well done animatics, follow a natural progression, and lead the story along. Like punk itself, though, chronology seems to get confusing at times. This is an understandable problem, however, as every group claims to be the originators.

In what seems to be a blossoming technique in documentaries, there was no narrator. Everything was presented by those who lived it, and I love this idea. It works much better than having a deep voiced narrator reading lines about a story they have no involvement in (unless that narrator happens to be Morgan Freeman). The central focus of the movie is, of course, the bands. There are dozens of people interviewed, and discussed. The main stars however, are Henry Rollins (who provides a vast majority, and perhaps the most coherent of the information), Ian MacKaye, Keith Morris, and Paul 'H.H' Hudson. They all give interesting testimony, and paint what is probably the most accurate story of what really happened in the movement.

Of course no rockumentary is complete without concert footage, and American Hardcore is no exception. Life footage is frequent, but the movie isn't inundated with it. One of my biggest complaints is when a documentary is nothing more than a collection of mediocre concert footage. If this is what I want to watch, I'll just rent one of the thousands of concert DVDs. Like punk itself, the footage in this movie is fast, short, and frequent. And usually, there is someone talking over it and the footage is used to *gasp* illustrate a point their making.

I will say, however, that this movie is not flawless. There are times when it drags (perhaps ten scenes with S.O.D talking about their feud with the CroMags was a little needless). The movie barely tops the hour and a half mark, but still seems like it could have used some trimming. A documentary like this, to really get the point across, can never let up on its intensity. I would have been happy with a shorter, more bombastic movie- which goes against how I normally feel. American Hardcore, however, is an exception.

Also, there were some suspicious absences. Most notably the Dead Kennedies and the Misfits were missing. Even to those that know very little about punk (myself), the Dead Kennedies are one of the most influential bands of the era. I am honestly curious how they were included nowhere in the movie. Especially when Moby even makes an appearance claiming to be the original lead singer of FEAR. At least Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Black Flag all were very present.

The film winds down with everyone discussing what happened at the end. Why did the movement come to an almost sudden halt in 1986. Henry Rollins refers to the moment Dez Cardena called him and told him he was quitting Black Flag. Ian MacKaye blames the violence, saying it started overshadowing the movement. Many others cited Bad Brains turning to reggae. Certainly these claims are all to be taken with a grain of salt, but they're interesting none-the-less.

The finale is perhaps the best, yet least documentary part. In interviews with the stars of the movie, it has them taking shots at punk today. Rollins compares his living off candy bars from gas stations to the bands today touring by airplane. There's something strangely satisfying hearing these pioneers of punk say that "punk is dead." Whether it's true or not, after seeing this movie, I'm kind of inclined to believe them.