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American Hardcore

Posted at 12:15 PM on October 19, 2006 by Euan Kerr (3 Comments)

Stephen Blush and Paul Rachman made "American Hardcore" a bit like a punk album.

It's an amalgam of a ton of stuff, all very short.

Rachman says they did 120 interviews for the film, and 99 made it into the final cut. (The soundtrack just relased on Rhino features 26 songs. It's total running time is 37 minutes.)

These two guys are fans. Blush booked punk shows in Washington DC. Rachman lived in Boston where a room-mate booked shows, and he was soon out filming and taping whatever he could.

Yet they don't pull their punches as they show the good and the bad of the hardcore punk scene. There is a frenetic chaos to the film which captures the excitement and anarchy of the time. But they don't back away from the egotism and dysfunction which was rife in some bands.

Blush said when he wrote the book which formed the basis for the film, he assumed it would only be of interest to 40 year olds who had been involved in the scene. He says he was pleased and surprised when a lot of younger folk got into the book and now the film because they recognize what he calls the purity of the punk aesthetic.

"American Hardcore" is very watchable, despite the reality that it's basically a series of stories about local scenes dotted around the country. It's also interesting to see how some of the people involved are now doing. Time is a wicked thing. It really is.


Comments (3)

I saw this movie last Saturday, and I absolutely loved it. I am too young to have been involved in that scene, but I am a big fan of some of the bands discussed (especially minor threat). I thought it was in a way that really fit the style of music and life style. I think it could be interesting for those who don't even like hardcore, if for nothing else, it is a view into a culture unfamilliar to some.

Posted by Jimmy Z | October 24, 2006 11:24 AM


I'm glad you liked it. One of the challenges a movie like this always faces is getting to a broader audience. I would be really intersted in hearing from someone who just came upon this film with no interest in the music beforehand.


A while back I sat through "Festival Express" which is about a wild concert tour, by train of all things, across Canada which involved Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, the Band, and a bunch of others. It's a hoot, even if you aren't into the music.

Posted by Euan Kerr | October 24, 2006 1:14 PM


I think it would be enjoyed by those who weren't a fan of the music beforehand, especially those who are interested in sociology (which I can't say is my area of expertise). The film really explains the motives behind the music and for the lifestyle of an active subculture/counter-culture. How could that not be interesting to the sociology crowd?

Posted by Jimmy Z | October 24, 2006 3:50 PM


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