Monday, September 27, 2010
JEFF'S HALL OF FAME #5 - PUMP UP THE VOLUME (1990)
Cast: Christian Slater, Samantha Mathis, Ellen Greene, Annie Ross, Seth Green, Cheryl Pollak, Billy Morrisette,
Written & Directed By: Allan Moyle
Director Of Photography: Walt Lloyd
Editor: Larry Bock, Janice Hampton
This is a movie very much of it's time period but it's a message movie it's themes are universal even with some fascism thrown in. This is a movie where by some stroke of luck everything came together all the ingredients combined to make the best package. Casting, direction, soundtrack, writing. It is certainly the best movie allan moyle had ever made (I have a hunch it will be the best he is ever going to make though he tried years later with empire records which some liked and even has a cult following)
Christian slater was never better Then in this movie. Samantha Mathis making her debut in this film. What the hell happened to her. She was excellent, sexy, trashy, intelligent, dangerous, rebellious, funny the ultimate artsy/punk rock fantasy girl.
Describing the plot it sounds like the teenage wolfman jack story, a shy student starts a underground radio show. That strikes a chord with teenagers about the alienation they feel and the unfir practices at the local high school as the adults, school faculty and the fcc not only try to find out his identity but also shut him down. But that is only the basics. This film is so much more. Like a rebel punk john Hughes story with an ambiguous but positive ending.
They certainly don't make them like these anymore. Even though it tries to be a message movie. My Favorite part is when those close to him find out that it is him who is the mysterious DJ the look on there faces says it all. It's the kind of look I've been hunting for my whole life when it comes to myself and my art. Awe, Shock, surprise, proudness, and amazement.
With the internet and all this modern technology making it near impossible to be anonymous. it would be impossible to make this film now. Which is partially why it is one of a kind. It reminds you of a bygone era. it’s message which is universal would be harder to convey these days.
Director Allan Moyle never again regained the status or showed the talent that was on display in this film. He directed a few MTV original TV movies until he made a Mini-comeback with the box office bomb Successful cult film EMPIRE RECORDS that became a beloved teen film for another generation but didn’t affect me at all watching it.
The grade and praise I give this film is more then it probably deserves. But I grade it not only on it’s smarts but on a emotional level. It means a lot to me and sort of helped me to define myself in my teenage years. Which makes sense since the film is about finding your personal voice in the world. Even my father upon watching it Said the lead character reminded him of me. So I always felt The film and it’s story was personal to me. It was the first film I could identify with a character. I wlaked with my head down looking at the ground for most of my teenage years until I discovered acting classes which gave me a confidence that was new to me. I always had a hard time talking to girls always being attracted to the so-called weird girls. Having a opinion and things to say but always afraid to say them digging myself deeper into not being cool and looked on as a loser. Eventually I decided who cares I’d rather be myself and at least can be proud that I stood by my convictions then just going along like a sheep.
The film has a universal message of rebellion against what is not right. Not just rebellion for nothing.
There are powerful scenes throughout the film down to the end. In which the teens see their hero who they have built up and fantasized. Who is a virtual spokesman for them is just a kid just like them. Also a kid who most of them passed by dozens of times but never noticed. They see how much power he has as a single voice. They see that if they wanted to they could do it too if they wanted. This meek guy means so much when he comes alive. Teaching you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.
The Film also has a eclectic soundtrack that introduced me to many artists. Some known some underground. The Pixies, Aaron Neville, Leonard Cohen. They helped define the situations and emotions running around throughout the film.