24 July 2007

Rock and Roll High School + 24 Hour Party People

Did they have tickets for the Sermon on the Mount? Of course they didn't, people just turned up because they knew it would be a great gig.

Featuring some of the best songs by the legendary US punk bank, The Ramones, Rock and Roll High School is a cult classical for all the obvious reasons – the acting is generally bad, the dialog horribly clich├ęd, the gags juvenile, and the wardrobes downright horrific (P.J. Soles as Riff Randell looks like an escapee from a Jane Fonda exercise video)…but Rock and Roll High School is really all about The Ramones, and with half the film devotes to “live” performances (with terrible tracking) you’ll get to hear all your favorites. And is there anyone else who thinks that Parker Posey resembles Mary Woronov (and is it intentional?)

For those of us who also remember the “Manchester sound” of the late 80s and early 90s, 24 Hour Party People transports us back to 1976, reminds us of the Sex Pistols, and then introduces us to the band that would be known as Joy Division. It’s a heady start to a film that centers on the larger and crazier than real life world of Brit TV personality, music promoter, and Factory Records founder Tony Wilson. Sean Harris is chillingly accurate as the late Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis and Steve Coogan is simultaneously funny, annoying, intellectually deep, and socially shallow as the effervescent Tony Wilson. The film becomes slightly derailed as the dawn of rave culture begins and IMHO a bit too much significance is granted to the highly dysfunctional drug addicted Happy Mondays (does anyone care any more?). But, if you like Joy Division and New Order, 24 Hour Party People will have digging out that old 12 inch of "Blue Monday" and remembering the days of auld lang syne...

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