The 10 best punk rock movies
Punk rock has been a part of cinema ever since the music was created in places like Los Angeles, New York, and London in the mid to late '70s. Aside from the music, either live or on record, the big screen provided another medium to convey what punk truly stands for: not giving a fuck what anyone else says or thinks, having integrity, staying true to your identity, and rebelling against the status quo. Note that this list doesn't include documentaries on punk, only feature films. We now present our list of top 10 punk rock movies.
10. Pump Up the Volume (1990)
This films follows the story of protagonist Mark Hunter, played by a young Christian Slater. Hunter is a high school student in Phoenix, Arizona, who starts up his own pirate FM radio station a decade before the internet took over when underground radio stations meant a lot to younger people on the fringe of society. His leads two lives in the film: one is the shy, unspoken loner, and the other is the iconoclastic, angry, free-thinking DJ known as "Happy Harry On," a pseudonym that the anonymous shock jock takes on. After stirring things up at the school, with a suicide heard live on air, and revealing the dirty politics on the school campus involving grades and SAT scores, Hunter also pushes the boundaries with prank calls, simulated sounds of masturbation, vulgar jokes, rants about society, and most importantly music.
Hunter refused to play the New Kids on the Block, Luther Vandross, or Vanilla Ice, what was popular on the radio at the time. Instead he blasted listeners' speakers with artists such as the Jesus and Mary Chain, the Beastie Boys, Soundgarden, Primal Scream, Ice-T, Rollins Band, Bad Brains, and the Pixies, among many others. Hunter shows the influence of Rodney Bingenheimer, Lenny Bruce, and Howard Stern all in one. Eventually the FCC gets involved, to stop Hunter's illegal radio show.
9. Control (2007)
This is a biopic about the life of the late Ian Curtis from the seminal yet short-lived U.K. band Joy Division. Married at a young age to his girlfriend Debbie, Curtis becomes a reclusive, depression-prone poet. In 1975, he is influenced directly by a live performance by the Sex Pistols to join a band put together by his friends, as the lead singer.
The film is a very sentimental tale of the manic ups and tragic downs of this charismatic, enigmatic, and suffering soul. Antics of Joy Division's early days are portrayed, including all the melodramatic infidelities, dysfunctional relationships, and instances of health problems and substance abuse. The film is based on the book Touching from a Distance by Deborah Curtis, and is named after the Joy Division song "She's Lost Control."
In real life as in the film, Curtis suffers from debilitating seizures, and is diagnosed with epilepsy, which leads to his eventual drug abuse and suicide by hanging himself in his parents' house, in May, 1980, just days before Joy Division was about to embark on a North American tour.