Monday, November 27, 2006

bastards of $$$$$$$

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I had the chance to sit down and watch "Bastards of Young," a 70-odd minute documentary about the contemporary pop punk (read: emo) scene. If there was ever a movie that made me feel slightly old, then this would be it. "Bastards" almost exclusively follows bands that have somehow wound up on a major label: Thursday, Taking Back Sunday, the Starting Line, Midtown, Armor for Sleep, Jimmy Eat World, Something Corporate, blah blah. The bands that are interviewed and featured reads like a "Greatest Emo Bands from 2003" list on Amazon.
It begins its focus with New Jersey basement shows, guided by Geoff Rickley of Thursday, and ends at one of Thursday's huge theatre shows. Even the music writers involved in the film, Jonah Bayer of Alternative Press and Jessica Hopper, throw their two cents in of the importance of the eem, yet none of them disputes (at least in the footage that made the actual video) the stagnant nature of the genre. In fact, one of the best moments of the DVD is the extended interview with members of Fall Out Boy, in which they openly admit to ripping off Lifetime.
Yet Lifetime isn't even mentioned on the actual feature itself. No band that largely contributed to modern punk (mall, pop, emo, et. al) like The Replacements, Jawbreaker, the Promise Ring, the Get Up Kids, Cap'n Jazz or even Face to Face are given a mention. Rites of Spring, Embrace and Mineral are talked about, but not extensively; they are more like a footnote.
If this is meant to be a video companion to Andy Greenwald's excellent book, "Nothing Feels Good," it's pretty bad by comparison. Greenwald's book is researched well, as well as hitting all the right watermarks of the culture. "Bastards of Young" seems really hastily put together, not unlike some of the bands that exist today.

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