I know my habit here is most often discussing and highlighting older films, but sometimes you just have to talk about new stuff especially when it really leaves and impression on you. I'm a longtime fan of punk rock and there's just something about it that is ridiculously, almost irresistibly infectious. Not just the music itself, but the spirit that it carries with it. A lot of music nowadays can sound overproduced and overly convoluted sonically. There's just something simple and yet so vibrant about punk music, it's no wonder that it has endured as much as any old standard you can think of. It has found it's way into all kinds of things, from modern rock and pop to our popular culture phraseology (what she did was so "punk rock"). If you've ever felt a bit outside looking in, it's the kind of music that seems to say "all are welcome" or at the very least "we don't care, do what you want". For a long time I read about record producer Lou Adler's film LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE FABULOUS STAINS. It was film rife with problems as far as it's release was concerned and it was eventually relegated to a few isolated TV airings. It was forever only available in sketchy bootlegs, all probably from the same cable airing from the decade prior which showed it was certainly not a first generation copy. But like punk rock itself, the movie found a way into the hands and minds of those who wanted it. It is now thankfully alive and well on a DVD. In case you're unfamiliar with it, it's the story of a youthful group of girls who start a punk band and end up on tour with a couple other musical groups. It's a neat story of empowerment and the role that punk has to inspire in not only it's music, but it's aesthetic as well. Something as simple as a haircut be as influential as much as the music itself. In Lukas Moodysson's new film WE ARE THE BEST! we get to see the origins of a punk group formed by three 13-year old girls in Stockholm circa 1982 (the same year FABULOUS STAINS was supposed to come out btw). The Girls (Bobo, Klara and Hedvig)
goof around and work out their first tune (an opus called "Hate the Sport"- which is exactly what it sounds like) while getting to know each other and another couple punk boys.
Something I've always been drawn to with regards to the punk way of going about things is this sense of making the best of each situation you find yourself, having fun and sometimes being adventurous and trying new stuff that might scare you a little bit. These girls are a joy to spend time with as they have this vivacious energy about them and are supportive of each other and not mean spirited (for the most part). I find that so much of the model of coming of age films and comedies these days have this tendency towards reveling a bit in showing ugliness in what I guess is an attempt to ground the stories in some sort of reality. Because I am so used to that sort of thing, I often found myself slightly on edge when watching this film as I was kind of waiting for the proverbial 'other shoe' to drop. I was waiting for some dramatic device to come along and fuck up this neat thing that the girls had going on. While there's a little drama here and there, the whole film has a leisurely documentary-ish style that makes it surprisingly engaging to watch. After hanging out with these girls, I wanted to introduce my daughter to them (she's only 5 at the moment, but I think they'd get along). This is a wonderfully observed little story that doesn't try to be too ambitious or overly complicated with it's plotting. It's really a simple straight forward story, well-told and well acted (especially by the three girls who are all naturals in front of the camera). It is certainly a bit shaggy around the edges, but nothing could be more apt for a movie of this kind. Like an old Ramones album found at a local rummage sale, I know this movie will only grow in my esteem each time I see it. I predict my daughter will be a big fan at some point too.
WE ARE THE BEST is currently being rolled out to theaters slowly so check availability and showtimes via their official site: