366 DAYS OF METAL: “Rapacious Engorement” (Revulsed)

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Movie Review: LOSERS TAKE ALL

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losers take all
Phase 4 Films
2011
NR

“We do suck in the grand scheme of things.”
“The grand scheme of things is Huey Lewis and the News. Which you guys aren’t, thank God.”
“She’s right. You’re not Huey Lewis or the News.”

  • Chosen by the man himself, the Kevin Smith Movie Club presents Losers Take All. The Fingers are a punk-pop band stumbling and staggering their way from girls to gigs. The band is faced with the unlikely opportunity of committing the ultimate rock n’ roll sin: selling out. However, they must choose between staying true to their indie roots and climbing into bed with mainstream, corporate rock.

Sometimes, I have to wonder if the people who write the blurbs on the back of DVD and Blu-ray covers describing the movie in a brief yet concise way as to pique the interest of potential viewers have even watched the movie they’re writing about. I say this as–having just viewed the indie comedy Losers Take All–I have to take issue with that blurb up there. It’s not very accurate. And since this is my review on my blog, and I’m not beholden to keeping things brief yet concise, allow me to rectify things.

The story of Losers Take All does involve a band called Fingers. I’ll give it that. However, since I’m such a pedantic music nerd, I would classify them more as a mid-80s post-punk alt rock band, than the “punk pop” used in the blurb. Bands like Hüsker Dü and The Replacements are referenced, and like those pioneers, The Fingers have their roots in punk, but feature a more diverse sound that goes beyond pigeonholing…

Aaaaand I’m going to reign myself in, here, before I get lost in a music-based rant that I can’t come back from. Moving along…

The second thing that gets me about that blurb is the part about “selling out”. It makes it sound like Losers Take All, like many other movies involving a band, has to fight against the Corporate Man and keep their integrity and crap. Great dramatic trope, there…except that it’s not really that kind of movie. This isn’t another one of those Band Gets Famous, Rises Through The Ranks, Seduced By The Dark Side Of The Music Industry, Implodes, then Re-discovering Their Roots movie. Losers Take All is actually better than that kind of movie.

See, this is a story about a band that was started in the mid-80s (the majority of the film is set in 1986, one of the halcyon years for music, both mainstream and independently speaking) by a couple of high school guys after getting beat up by jocks for listening to Black Flag too loudly. After rounding out their membership with a guitarist and a drummer from a local hair metal band (both of which are Van Halen enthusiasts, to contrast the more hardcore punk sensibilities of the other two), they play a constant stream of one-off shows at roller rinks and pizza joints, until they hook up with a down-on-his-luck manager/furniture salesman, who begins to get them gigs at bars and clubs. After gaining a bit of local notoriety, they record a demo that catches the eye of the owner of a legendary independent punk label, who finances the recording of their first EP, then they head out on the road for a rather adventurous yet disastrous string of shows. After screwing up their one big shot at national notoriety by missing a chance opening up for The Replacements and then getting their gear stolen due to their manager’s addiction to hard drugs, the band is on the verge of breaking up…until the Third Act Reprieve! where they kick ass doing what they do best.

Y’see, at no point in this narrative does the band get approached by a mainstream label exec. Losers Take All is more an underdog story, where the band pretty much remains ensconced in the underground scene, yet has a a heck of a time clawing and scraping to get to even that level of fame.

As a movie, Losers Take All is a rather amusing comedy with a very, very good soundtrack to accompany the wackiness. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it’s definitely a love letter to that time in the 80s where alternative music was authentic, before becoming pretentious mainstream crap in the 90s. I may be a bit biased, having grown up in that era, but whatever. It’s the children who are wrong. Overall, this is very much a movie worth searching out.

366 DAYS OF METAL: “You’re A Pagan” (One Bad Pig)

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Movie Review: GREEN ROOM

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green roomA24
2015
R

“It’s funny. You were so scary at night.”

Down on their luck punk rockers The Ain’t Rights are finishing up a long and unsuccessful tour, and are about to call it quits when they get an unexpected booking at an isolated, run-down club deep in the backwoods of Oregon. What seems merely to be a third-rate gig escalates into something much more sinister when they witness an act of violence backstage that they weren’t meant to see. Now trapped backstage, they must face off against the club’s depraved owner, Darcy Banker, a man who will do anything to protect the secrets of his nefarious enterprise. But while Darcy and his henchmen think the band will be easy to get rid of, The Ain’t Rights prove themselves much more cunning and capable than anyone expected, turning the tables on their unsuspecting captors and setting the stage for the ultimate life-or-death showdown.

I know, I know. I had the chance to see the movie Green Room during its blink-and-it’s-gone run time in the theaters. I kept hearing very, very good things about the movie, how it’s not only a tense independent thriller featuring great performances from the cast as well as a fantastic cinematography that really brought out the claustrophobic nature of the story, but I kept hearing from acquaintances in the underground punk scenes that the depiction of the hardcore punk aesthetic was quite legit. The thing was, I rarely want to go to the movies alone nowadays, and since most if not all of the Exalted Geeks I would go with aren’t into horror movies, I decided to wait until the VOD release.

My mistake. I admit that now. I should have worked past my anxiety to take in this flick on the big screen when I had the chance. Because, boy does Green Room pack a significant roundhouse kick to the midsection with a steel-toed boot.

So, here we have a story about a hardcore punk band, named the Ain’t Rights, trying to get by on their DIY ethos and playing some seriously righteous hardcore punk wherever they can. Before they decide to call it quits on the tour, they’re given a shot at an out-in-the-boonies bar for a decent payout for gas to get back home. Only, the bar has a rather narrow kind of clientèle–namely, skinhead Nazis. But, money is money, and they do the set anyway, and when they’re getting set to leave, they accidentally stumble upon a murder in the titular Green Room, and now they have to spend the rest of the night trying to survive getting snuffed by the bar’s owner and his army of skinheads to cover everything up. Things…don’t go well.

There are two things that make Green Room a fantastic horror thriller: 1) the depiction of the whole hardcore punk aesthetic, I’m told from acquaintances who adhere to that scene, is pretty authentic. I say “I’m told”, because I don’t claim to be part of or even an expert on the scene; while I read up and try to understand and have an appreciation for the scene and the music, I also hold no delusion as to claiming I’m part of it. The ones I know of who are have given their seal of approval, though. As long as they’re not really messing with Poser Boy here, I’m going to accept it. 2) This is a well-crafted and tight horror thriller that is claustrophobic, quick-paced and doesn’t take any easy way outs. There were a few times where I caught myself drawing my knees up to my chest and getting unnerved at the goings on I was witnessing. Add to this a fantastic performance from none other than Patrick Stewart as the head Skinhead, and you’ve got yourself a chilling time.

Really, don’t make the same mistake I did. If you haven’t watched Green Room, do yourself a favor and rectify that oversight. Highly recommended by your Uncle NecRo.

NECRO SHOCK RADIO -February 18, 2017

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February 18, 2017

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NECRO SHOCK RADIO – January 28, 2017

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January 28,2017

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NECRO SHOCK RADIO – January 21, 2017

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