Film Review: Punk’s Not Dead

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sex-pistols-280x200.jpgThere are three confusing things about Susan Dynner‘s new fun-to-watch documentary Punk’s Not Dead: the beginning, the middle, and the end. Here’s why: Candid, funny, and insightful interview clips with the likes of Joe Strummer, Johnny Rotten, and Johnny Ramone, are great, but why, when punk is thriving, keeping on, and having fun, start off a documentary called “Punk’s Not Dead” with three ’70s rockers, two of whom have passed away?

The middle of the film gives an accurate, entertaining, informed, and spot-on portrayal of the punk scenes that developed, thrived, hocked loogies on people, flipped people off, and destroyed amplifiers through the 80s, and then gained mainstream acceptance in the 90s.

Alas, the ending: A rushed montage/collage of young punk-ish bands from all over the world who, I’m guessing, submitted rough video clips of their bands playing, but don’t really get much screen time or real interviews.

Soooo, why is a film called “Punk’s Not Dead” centered on its expansion into mainstream blandness available for purchase at Hot Topic? I mean, it’s always interesting to hear folks like Fugazi’s Ian Mackaye talk about starting his own label, or the Circle Jerks’ Keith Morris make fun of suburban mall culture, but haven’t we seen that a few times before? Lord knows punk culture, as fascinating as it is, has hardly gone undocumented.

This film, as solid as it is, doesn’t get us inside today’s dive bars, Elks Lodges, and warehouses throughout the U.S. and abroad to feel, hear, and (whoa!) smell those fiery, new local music scenes.

Now there’s a documentary I’d love to see.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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