Rivers Edge (1986)

51dxd662y9l

River’s Edge begins with Samson (Daniel Roebuck) sitting next to the lifeless body of his girlfriend, Jamie (Danyi Deats). He strangled her. Betraying no emotion, Samson later tells his friends, and brings them out to the edge of the river to show her corpse. Most of them are not moved. Hey, shit happens. But some of them, Matt (Keanu Reeves), Maggie (Roxana Zal) and Clarissa (Ione Skye) are hugely bothered by seeing their dead friend. They think the police should be notified.

rivers-edge-4

But others want to cover it up. Yea, it sucks that Jamie is dead, but John is their buddy, and they should protect him. This definitely comes into play when the group’s de facto leader, wild-eyed speed freak Layne (Crispin Glover) compels the group to keep the murder a secret, and thinks they should smuggle Samson out of the state before the cops figure out who did the horrible crime.

tumblr_o4f30qxqqf1uctr63o1_500

Matt, Maggie and Clarissa go along for a while. But tensions begin to escalate, and these three are confused on what they should do. Should they go along with Layne and the gang? Or should they tell the police what Samson did? And if they do, what will be the repercussions? Soon they find out that Matt’s younger brother Tim (Joshua John Miller) not only knows about the crime, but also knows one of the friends has gone behind everyone’s backs to report Samson to the police.

Meanwhile, Layne and Samson become more and more at loose ends, and they take refuge at the home of Feck (the late Dennis Hopper), a one-legged, dope dealing biker. Incidentally, Feck killed his own girlfriend years ago. Now he lives with an inflatable sex doll . Oddly enough, Feck acts as a mentor and counsel to Layne and Samson.

600full-rivers-edge-screenshot

River’s Edge does not end things tidily. Black and white morals have become hazy grays of ambivalence, nihilism and detachment. One teacher admonishes a student on how the values of his youth have been destroyed. Ah, yes. the old boomer telling the X-ers about the good old days. Even Feck thinks killing his girlfriend was okay because, hey, it was the ‘60s maaan.

Most chilling about River’s Edge, is it was based on a true story. Also chilling is how these kids assume they have no future so they numb their feelings with drugs and alcohol. The teens in River’s Edge are 180 degrees away from the lovable, wacky suburban cherubs of John Hughes films. In those films, a kid’s biggest problem is a Saturday detention or having your family forgeting your 16th birthday. In River’s Edge, life is a detention, and parents pretty much forget they have kids unless it’s to accuse one of them of stealing her marijuana.

Written by Neil Jiminez and directed by Tim Hunter, River’s Edge boasts of some incredibly honest and brutal performances. It’s unflinching in its portrayal of a generation that when it wasn’t ignored was maligned. As one character states, “You know it’s gonna be like this all day, man. Teachers lecturing us about what kind of monsters we are.” These kids know they are considered losers, so why not act accordingly? River’s Edge is not a comfortable movie to watch, especially if you’re a Generation X-er. “Hey, I was never like that,” you might want to shout at the screen. Yet, if you’re honest you might think, “But of course, some people were like that.” And that’s what makes River’s Edge such a potent of a film.

mv5bmwnknjq1yjutotc4os00n2rhltkynzmtn2mwzmq2mdm3ngqxxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymjuyndk2odc-_v1_

Advertisements

Guilty Pleasure Movies: Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979)

rock_27n27_roll_high_schoolposter
In 1979’s Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, Vince Lombardi High students love rock ‘n’ roll, but they don’t seem too interested in getting an education. The leader of these wayward students is Riff Randall played by PJ Soles (whatever happened to her?). Riff is a huge Ramones fan and would love for them to play at her school. Unfortunately, she has Principal Evelyn Togar (Mary Woronov) to deal with. Principal Togar hates rock music and vows to keep it out of the hallowed halls of Vince Lombardi High. After all, how can students concentrate on studying for finals when they’re too busy cranking up the Ramones to ear shattering decibels? Principal Togar recruits horrified parents to burn the offending records, which inspires Riff and the rest of the students take over the school. They are joined by the Ramones who are made honorary Vince Lombardi High students. Finally, the police are summoned and they demand the students evacuate the school, which leads to one hell of a finale. Hmm, my high school years certainly weren’t this explosive.

mv5bzjvim2q5n2qtzdbhys00zti0lwezmdmtm2q4mdnjztc3zjnjxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymjuyndk2odc-_v1_

rock-n-roll-high-school_0

Rock ‘n’ Roll High School is loads of fun and boasts a kick ass soundtrack. It’s the perfect guilty pleasure flick for anyone who has wanted to stick it to the man, or in this case, the principal. When you wanna rock, reading, writing and ‘rithmetic can wait.

To Die For (1995)

215px-to_die_for_imp

Based on a novel by Joyce Maynard, with a script by Buck Henry, and directed by Gus Van Zant, To Die For combines dark comedy, traditional drama and “mockumentary” interviews to very entertaining results.

00595110_

Nicole Kidman plays Suzanne Stone, a local cable weather girl with huge dreams of finding fame and fortune as the next Barbara Walters. What Suzanne lacks in talent and intelligence, she makes up for in manipulation and ruthlessness, and nothing, including her marriage, will get in her way.

The movie commences with Suzanne marrying Larry Moretto (Matt Dillon), the biggest catch in Little Hope, New Hampshire. It’s not certain why Suzanne falls for Larry other than she thinks his close Italian-American family has mob connections, which can help her achieve her goals. Larry is lovable, albeit a bit dim, and completely clueless to Suzanne’s calculating ways. All Larry wants to do is settle down in Little Hope, run the family restaurant and makes lots of babies with Suzanne.

maxresdefault1

Of course, Suzanne has different plans. Despite her lack of journalistic and television experience she’s able to charm a local cable TV manager in giving her a gofer job. She parlays this lowly position into a regular stint as a weather girl. It’s not long before she recruits some local teens in producing a subpar TV special called “Teens Speak Out.” Jimmy (Joaquin Phoenix), Russell (Casey Affleck) and Lydia (Alison Folland) are the hardly the type-A achievers you’d expect on a teen-oriented TV show. They’re inarticulate and not good students, but apparently being in awe of Suzanne is the only job requirement necessary.

todiefor

Larry gets a bit fed up with Suzanne’s ambitions and tells her it’s time to get busy with making babies. But Suzanne will have none of this. She tells her mother-in-law that being pregnant on TV is a career killer. Oh, if only Suzanne had waited a decade or so. Today, baby bumps and stupidly named off-spring are the “must have” for any celebrity. You can even become famous for simply having kids.

Suzanne realizes Larry, and his meddling family, is getting in her way of achieving TV success. There is only one thing she can do, recruit Jimmy, Russell and Lydia in bumping off her husband. Now having an affair with the devious, yet seductive Suzanne, Jimmy does the deadly deed. This local murder becomes national news making Suzanne the “star” she always desired and she revels in her tabloid notoriety. Not surprisingly, the hapless Jimmy is not so lucky.

hqdefault1

However, Larry’s family is very wise to Suzanne’s scheming ways and they make sure Suzanne gets her comeuppance. The mousy Lydia, who Suzanne disdained as “white trash,” tells her story in a television interview and becomes famous in her own right.

Every performance in To Die For is near perfection. Matt Dillon is very good as a man who’s happy to have the prettiest girl in town but really wants the homebound hausfrau. Illeana Douglas as Larry’s sister Janice is dryly sarcastic and figures out Suzanne’s BS early on in the game. Both Phoenix and Affleck show a great deal of promise early in their careers in their respective roles.

995tdf_illeana_douglas_001

But To Die For is truly Nicole Kidman’s film. With Kidman’s acting chops, Suzanne Stone is hugely self-absorbed but not very self-aware. Her calculation and cunning is as transparent as a plate of glass, but her telegenic beauty and media-savvy charm succeeds in drawing you closer. Despite ourselves, we want Suzanne Stone to be in front of the camera. Kidman won a very deserved Golden Globe for her portrayal of Suzanne Stone. She is simply a bewitching mix of evil and charisma, and Suzanne Stone is a person we recognize in everything from reality TV to national politics (ahem, or both).

980x

Both the film and the novel were inspired by Pamela Smart, a teacher and wannabe TV personality who convinced a young man to kill her husband. But instead of telling this story straight, the film takes a very satirical look at our obsession with celebrity, fame and notoriety. Merely entertaining when it was released over ten years ago, in our celebrity-entrenched culture, To Die For is a pointed take on a very interesting phenomenon, the desperate need for fame at any cost.

Guilty Pleasure Movies: Grease 2 (1982)

affiche-grease-2-5381

When we became “hopelessly devoted” to the movie Grease in the summer of 1978, little did we know we’d be revisiting Rydell High a few short years later. But Hollywood had different ideas. And in the summer of 1982 we got the sequel, Grease 2.

However, Sandy and Danny from the first film had long graduated. Olivia Newton-John (Sandy) was getting “Physical” and John Travolta (Danny) was in a bleak period of his career only to have a comeback with Pulp Fiction more than a decade later. Nope, Grease 2 featured a cast of unknowns (most of them stayed that way), and brand new shenanigans at Rydell.

As the school year of 1961 commences at Rydell High the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies still rule the school. Head Pink Lady, Stephanie Zinone (Michelle Pfeiffer) has just broken up with head T-Bird Johnny Nogerelli (Adriam Zmed). However, that doesn’t mean Stephanie’s loins don’t get all warm and toasty over a leather-clad, motorcycle-riding bad boy.

enhanced-buzz-17967-1376673937-11

 

 

 

 

 

maxresdefault

Enter Michael Carrington (Maxwell Carrington) who just happens to be Sandy from the first film’s cousin. I guess Rydell has a special student exchange program with Australia. From the moment Michael lays his peepers on Stephanie he is smitten. But Pink Ladies can only date T-Birds, and Michael is way too clean-cute a wholesome for a bad ass like Stephanie.

Stephanie gives Michael the cold shoulder and tells him her feelings in the song “Cool Rider.” Not one to be deterred, Michael develops an alter ego to his goody-goody persona, a mysterious man on a motorcycle with only a helmet and goggles to hide his true self. Stephanie falls hard for this biker stud, and soon she and “Other Michael” are an item. “Other Michael” is sexy and brooding, and he’s got a bitchin’ motorbike. But he’s also kind and respectful towards Stephanie, exactly what she wasn’t getting from dating a T-Bird.

image-w856

Stephanie soon finds out it’s Michael Carrington who is her dreamboat on a bike because how much of a disguise are a helmet and goggles anyway? Not surprisingly, Stephanie is in an age-old dilemma: stay true to her high school chums or be with her one, true love. Can she possibly have the best of both worlds? You have to watch to find out.

Grease 2 features songs that make the original’s look like Cole Porter’s. However, they are rather catchy. “Score Tonight” combines bowling with a teen’s burgeoning sexuality. And in “Reproduction” the kids pay homage to doing it with lyrics like “Reproduction (reproduction)/Put your pollen tube to work/Reproduction (reproduction)/Make my stamen go berserk.” Sex is also heavy on the students’ minds in a patriotic “Do It For Our Country.” But things aren’t so sex-drenched with songs like “Who’s That Guy?” and “(Love Will) Turn Back the Hands of Time.”

grease2-stills3

Besides featuring a cast of newbies, Grease 2 also featured stars including Eve Arden, Tab Hunter, Connie Stevens, Dody Goodman and Sid Caeser reprising their roles from the first Grease. As for the newbies, well, only Michelle Pfeiffer reached stardom. As for the rest? Well, I’m too lazy to look up their names on IMDB.com.

Grease 2 was a commercial and a critical flop, and didn’t quite live up to its predecessor’s glory. Besides in the summer of 1982 the monster blockbuster E.T. was taking over the cineplex, and another teen movie, Fast Times at Ridgemont High spoke more to the teens of the early 1980s than Grease 2.

Still Grease 2 had its cheesy charm. My sister and I saw it countless times once it hit cable TV. We knew it wasn’t cinematic art, but we enjoyed Grease 2 in all of its “so bad, it’s good” glory, and isn’t that what guilty pleasure movies are all about?

Caterina in the Big City (2005)

caterina_lg

Mix Mean Girls with a political satire that skewers both the left and the right, and what do you get? You get Caterina in the Big City, an Italian movie that is both a whip-smart comedy and poignant drama.

Caterina’s (winningly played by Alice Teghil) idyllic life is uprooted when her father gets a transfer from a small Italian seaside town where he’s a teacher to a bigger assignment in the capitol of Rome. Caterina’s father Giancarlo (Sergio Catellitto) has more on his mind than grading papers and passing out homework. Giancarlo sees himself as an intellectual and novelist, and believes being among the sophisticates of Rome will garner him the success he has always felt he’s deserved.

caterina1

Caterina’s family settles in a Rome apartment where her meek and under-appreciated mother (Margherita Buy) takes care of Giancarlo’s ailing aunt. As Giancarlo prepares for his ascent into the literary and intellectual world, Caterina tries to gain her footing at her new school and its confusing social mores. On the left are the alterna-chicks, the offspring of leftist radicals. On the right are the popular girls, the daughters of right wing movers and shakers. Both parties throw bitchy barbs at each other as Caterina sits at her desk wondering if she’ll ever make friends.

At first, Caterina befriends Margherita (Carolina Iaqueniello) whose parents are liberal activists. Before long Caterina is experimenting with drinking, smoking and attending street protests. Giancarlo hopes his daughter’s new friendship will help elevate his career. But Margherita’s parents reject him as a lightweight, and Giancarlo forbids Caterina from seeing Margherita and her other grungy pals. It’s just as well as these girls got Caterina drunk on cheap vodka and tried to give her a tattoo.

caterina-in-the-big-city

The class queen bees, helmed by Daniela (Federica Sbrenna), soon take Caterina under their fashion plate wings. Daniela is the daughter of an extreme right wing politician and a mother who is usually nursing a hangover. Hanging out with Daniela, Caterina is transformed from a wholesome girl to a sex pot, and is also introduced to shoplifting, night clubs, and flirting with men nearly twice her age. Initially, Caterina is enthralled with this glamorous life, but soon grows despondent, especially after one of Daniela’s cousins rejects her for being low class And when she sees Daniela’s family sing fascist songs at a wedding reception, Caterina realizes with friends like these who needs enemies?

061127011245_u08649nj3b

By the end, Caterina gains some much earned wisdom and maturity. The best person to be is oneself, and the real Caterina is a pretty awesome individual. Sadly, for her father, this lesson comes a little too late, and he deals with yet another rejection.

Directed by Paolo Virzi, Caterina in the Big City is brutal in its skewering of the excesses of both the left and right, but it’s also an affective coming of age story that truthfully conveys wanting to belong is something we never quite grow out of.

Caterina in the Big City is unrated and is in Italian with English subtitles.

American Teen (2008)

mv5bmtc2odc1odk5nl5bml5banbnxkftztcwnjq3mjg3mq-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_

Directed by award-winning film maker Nanette Burnstein (On the Ropes, The Kid Stays in the Picture) the documentary American Teen was filmed in Warsaw, Indiana over the course of the 2005-2006 school year. Warsaw appears to be the type of place that Hollywood loves to mythologize, the typical Midwestern town where the biggest event is the upcoming homecoming game and the rest of the world barely exists.

For an entire school year, Burnstein focused her camera lens on five Warsaw high school students during their senior year. All of them fall into familiar archetypes that you will recognize no matter how long ago you grabbed your diploma-the princess, the jock, the geek, the rebel and the heartthrob.

First we have Megan Krizmanich, the school’s queen bee. She’s pretty and popular, the daughter of a surgeon and student council president. She’s also a “mean girl” who even turns her venom on her own friends.

american-teen-megan-200x225
Jake Tusing is the kid no one notices in high school. He’s a band geek and addicted to video games. He’s also got a lethal case of acne and a mouth full of braces but that won’t deter him from finding a girlfriend.

032117

Colin Clemens is the star basketball player. Instead of being the stereotypical jerk athlete, Colin is nice all-around guy. But underneath his easygoing nature, is desperation. He needs a scholarship to pay for college.

124608

Hannah Bailey is the rebellious alternative girl. Hannah is artsy, creative and plays guitar in a band. Her biggest goal in life is to get out of Warsaw.

7563081_orig

Mitch Reinholt is the dreamboat. Like Colin, he’s a jock and runs with the cool crowd. He has a killer smile and on a superficial level seems to be just another vapid pretty boy, until he falls for Hannah.

2008-08-04-mitchreinholtsmile
During the school year, the kids have moments of pure joy, and moments of self-doubt. They have their triumphs and tribulations. All of this is captured by the unblinking eye of Burnstein’s camera.

Early in the school year, Hannah is dumped by her boyfriend. This causes her to go into a tailspin of intense depression. She misses so many days of school that graduation hangs in the balance. Megan’s bitchiness goes out of control. When she gets her hands on a friend’s compromising photo, she e-mails it to everyone at school. Her friend is deemed a skank and becomes the school pariah. Told by his dad that he needs to get a scholarship to afford college (or go in the Army), Colin becomes a selfish player on the court, and causes conflict with his team mates.

Jake awkwardly looks for a girlfriend, and finally finds one among the freshman girls. But she dumps him for the band’s studmuffin, and Jake goes through a cringe-worthy attempt to find a new girlfriend.

At one of her gigs, Mitch finds himself attracted to Hannah, and they start going out. However, later on he caves into peer pressure. After all, their separate castes should never even talk to each other, let alone date. So Mitch breaks up with Hannah via text message.

american_teen_01

Family also comes into play in American Teen. During the movie, we find out that Megan’s family suffered a horrible tragedy. She also feels a great deal of pressure to get into Notre Dame, the alma mater of most of her family, including her successful father. Colin’s father embarrasses his son by working as an Elvis impersonator part-time. It doesn’t take much to embarrass one’s kids, but being an Elvis impersonator really takes the cake.

But it’s Hannah’s parents who truly broke my heart. Her father is distant and her mother is a manic depressive. When Hannah tries to convince both of them the importance of going to San Francisco to study film, her parents tell her that she shouldn’t expect much out of life. When Hannah’s mother coldly says to her, “You’re not that special,” I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I can only imagine how Hannah felt.

During the film we see kids ignoring the teachers, hanging out with their friends, yawning during class, drinking too much, talking about sex, dancing at prom, and sending text messages. These kids pretty much do what a lot of us did in high school. Okay, some of us our too old to have sent text messages in high school. And interspersed throughout the film, are several animated segments that convey the dreams and desires of these kids.

At the end, we see Colin, Megan, Hannah, Jake and Mitch graduate and go on with their post-high school lives. We also learn what they are up in the two years since they graduated, but I’ll refrain on sharing this information.

For the most part, American Teen, is engrossing, suspenseful and affecting. I ended up caring about these kids, even Megan, who I wanted to smack most of the time. However, just because this is a documentary doesn’t mean that some parts didn’t seem staged. For instance, after she feels she is backstabbed by another student council member over the prom theme, Megan defaces his house with toilet paper and homophobic graffiti. Would she have done this without the prodding of the ever present cameras? I’m not sure. Then again, in a time where kids expose their crazy revelry on various social media and on YouTube, I shouldn’t be surprised to see a scene like this. And anyone familiar with reality TV shows know that what is supposed to be “real” can be as easily manipulated as any fictional TV show or movie.

In the end, American Teen gives us the old adage that the more things change the more they stay the same. Pretty much anyone who went to high school will be able to relate in some way to these kids and the cliques that define them.

nanette20burstein20american20teen201

American Teen’s Nanette Burnstein

Girls Rock (2007)

“Girls have got balls. They’re just a little higher up that’s all.” – Joan Jett

At Rock and Roll Camp for Girls in Portland, Oregon, girls between the ages of 8 and 18 get a week to form a band, learn to play an instrument, write a song and at the end of the week, perform in front of 700 people.

The documentary Girls Rock follows the young campers and their camp counselors, known as band managers, during an intense week. Not only do these girls learn how to rock, they also learn self-defense, anger management and how to cope with shaky self-esteem. The campers come from all races and backgrounds and embody every musical stripe.

Filmmakers Arne Johnson and Shane King focus their camera lens on four individual campers. Laura is a 15 year-old Korean adoptee who loves death metal and whose parents can’t quite figure her out. Amelia is an energetic spectacle-wearing eight-year-old who writes lyrics about her dog Pipi. Palace, a sweet-faced and tough-minded seven-year old is far wiser than her years (she’s the one looking fierce on the movie poster above). And then there is troubled Misty, who has struggled with meth addiction, gang violence and juvenile hall.

The film makers allow the girls to speak for themselves showing them as real girls with dreams and problems that often don’t get addressed as much as they should. A week at Rock and Roll Camp for Girls gives our young heroines a chance to be “100% exactly who they are.” Cool mentor rock chicks like Beth Ditto from The Gossip and Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein (who also emotes as several characters on the TV show Portlandia) offer sage advice to the campers. They remind the girls they can take up space, scream as loud as they want, make mistakes and triumph at the same time.

Intermingled with scenes from camp are some disturbing factoids. Girls are expected to “be sexy” themselves at very young ages, eating disorders are huge problems, and not surprisingly, girls are filled with feelings of self-doubt. Not to mention, riot grrrl third wave feminist rockers of the 1990s like Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth were soon over-shadowed by barely legal pop tarts like Britney Spears. Is it any wonder young girls think they have to be thong-wearing airheads to be accepted? When camper Laura casually mentions, “I just accept that I hate myself,” it breaks your heart.

The girls have a lot to work out both personally and musically during the short week at Rock and Roll Camp. But in a small segment in time these girls master their instruments and their songs. They figure out the mundane, like finally deciding on a band name and the more significant, like working as a team. But most importantly, they learn to believe in themselves and all they can accomplish.

Girls Rock culminates at the end when the girls finally perform in front of family, friends and fellow campers. I was absolutely delighted how much these girls achieved in just a week. They are truly an impressive bunch, and I found myself applauding and well as getting teary-eyed. Perhaps most of them won’t end up playing sold out shows at Madison Square Garden, but Rock and Roll Camp gives them lessons that will last a lifetime. Do girls rock? Yes, they certainly do. And Girls Rock is probably one of the most important “chick flicks” I have ever seen.

Sing Street (2015)

sing_street_posterIt’s 1985 in Dublin, Ireland and life isn’t going well for young Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo). His parents’ marriage is falling apart. His stoner older brother, Brendan, (Jack Raynor) has moved back home after dropping out of university, and his younger siblings are a pain the ass. Conor is also attending a repressive public school (private schools are called public schools in Ireland) where he is bullied by his classmates and one of his teachers seems to revile him.

However, there is one bright spot in Conor’s life, the beautiful and mysterious Raphina (Lucy Boynton), Raphina lives in group home and has dreams of becoming a model. Conor is smitten and decides to impress Raphina by telling her he’s in a band, and he needs a model to perform in his band’s videos.

515515_060

There is one glitch, though. Conor isn’t in a band, but if he wants to capture Raphina’s heart he better form one right away. And he gets onto this monumental task by recruiting several talented lads at his school to form a band, write some songs and make some videos inspired by the top pop talents of the mid-eighties. In true rock and roll fashion, Conor changes his name to more rock-friendly Cosmo and hones a more stylish look, which often entails whatever certain musicians and singers are wearing in his favorite videos (and looks most pop and rock fans who remember the 1980s all too well, sported themselves).

Top of the Pops hits, videos on MTV and winning Raphina’s heart are Conor’s main goals in life, as is escaping his dreary home and school life. It isn’t long before Conor’s parents announce their separation. And to make matters worse, Conor also has someone else vying for Raphina’s heart, an older man with a bitchin’ ride. How can Conor compete with that?

Well, with his band, of course. Conor is proving to be quite compelling behind the microphone, and is writing songs with witty lyrics and catchy hooks. His bandmates are going from strength to strength as musicians. Helping him along the way, is Conor’s older brother, Brendon, who mentors his baby brother through the power of music and his extensive vinyl LP collection.hqdefault

And then there is Raphina, the lovely Raphina, who adds just the right amount of female beauty and star quality to the band’s music. And though Raphina has a boyfriend with a bitchin’ car, she can’t help but warm up to Conor. Her cool girl veneer tapers off, and soon she feels comfortable to reveal more and more about herself and her less than ideal life at the group home, her parental history, and her fears of making it as a model, especially considering it hinges on leaving Dublin to London, more of a fashion mecca back in the day.

But despite all of these challenges, Conor and his band keep on reaching for rock and roll glory, which includes a talent show at his school, which thrills some people and leaves others, most notably Conor’s least favorite teacher, less than impressed.

Sing Street is a charmer of a film, one that rarely casts a false note in the expert film making hands of John Carney who directed 2007’s Once. The acting is exceptional, and everything from the mid-80s fashions to the look of 1985 Ireland rings true. Sure, at times, I questioned Conor’s almost genius way of crafting a proper pop lyric without breaking out in a sweat or facing any writer’s block, but at the same time I couldn’t help but tap my toes and bop in my seat every time these infectiously catchy songs were performed by the band or conveyed in the videos. And I must give a shout out to Jack Reynor who is a scene stealer as Conor’s older brother Brendon.

singstreet_clip_rockisarisk

In the end, Sing Street fills you with hope, happy rock and roll memories, and singing a happy tune. It is a movie elixir that brings you joy, which is much needed in our troubling times. I can’t recommend it enough.