Monday, February 10, 2014

02/10: Pirate Radio -or- The Boat That Rocked

It's been more than a week since Philip Seymour Hoffman died. Since then there have been several tributes by fans, his old co-workers, critics, etc. But then you also have those who questioned why a seemingly satisfied man was doing heroin and what should be done to prevent any more of those kinds of deaths. I first saw Hoffman in my all-time favorite movie, Almost Famous, when it came out and to this day I still love the way he portrayed the late Lester Bangs (who also died of a drug-related death).

Another rock and roll movie he was in came about 8 years later with the British movie The Boat That Rocked, or as released in the United States, Pirate Radio. Whatever you want to call it, it chronicled and showed us a side of young people having fun on the radio playing rock music in a sort-of legal way. Little is known today by the younger generations about Britain's strict views and laws against rock music from the 60s, despite of several big bands coming from there. America dove into the British Invasion, led by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, and what happened there should have happened at home. Instead, British authorities did not want it played on the radio while on their soil. So, the rebellious disc jockeys took to the waters while the public listened in.

While all of the story is said to be true, you witness not just the British government trying to chime in, but the personal stories and drama of all the radio crew members aboard. But to me, what its all about is the love of music. Its simply people doing what they love by playing music over the airwaves, which is what I do in real life (besides this blog). Hoffman does another great performance, this time as 'The Count', arguably the most popular of them all. He even convinces the crew to rebel against the government by staying on the air, and challenging them (like Americans do). The Count was the only American on board while all the others were from the UK.

It's a crime that this is one of Hoffman's lesser-known movies, possibly due to the fact that this was mostly a British movie that was not meant to be exposed here in America. I borrowed this from my library last year, and now I want to watch it again. This time, paying more attention to Hoffman's presence and enjoying this great 60's rock soundtrack. You won't be let down by the music selection as long as you're a 60's fan.

My rating: 8 out of 10

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