If you have ever thought to yourself “Flea from Red Hot Chili Pepper (or Needles from Back to the Future, as he will always be to me) will never make me cry” I challenge you to watch the Other F Word and maintain that stance. Don’t believe me? Go to 1:40 on the trailer.
I’ve wanted to see this movie for a while now for obvious reasons. It was everything that I hoped it would be. Equal parts funny and emotional, its what you want in a documentary. The basis for the film was Jim Lindberg’s book Punk Rock Dad, which I finished reading last month. Punk Rock Dad is a memoir rationalizing Jim’s transformation from Punk rocker to dad. There were moments while reading the book on the L that I burst out laughing and realized the whole train was staring at me. There were others where I tried masking tears. The Other F Word captures this spirit and raises the stakes by showing not just Jim Lindberg’s story, but those of several other punks that have made the same metamorphosis, including Lars Frederiksen of Rancid, Fat Mike of NOFX, and the king of the skaters, Tony Hawk.
The documentary does a good job of also serving as a history lesson of American Punk Rock, mostly of the California variety. It informs you of the rots of the subculture, how Hermosa Beach is the home of huge military manufacturers and suppliers and also the home of a huge surf community. These two opposing factors collided in the late seventies when punk broke. California punk has always fascinated me as a Chicago boy. It’s a total different beast. Here in the Midwest, the culture was built around hard work and labor and middle class boredom. California punk is built on the foundation of a surf and skate culture. Different foundations yes, but a mutual politic.
Though peppered with lots of anecdotes from other punk dads, the main “plot” follows Jim Lindberg on tour with Pennywise. A tour that lasts two thirds of the year and the strain that puts on him, his wife, and three daughters. The climax ends up being his decision to leave the band to be able to spend time with his family for a change.
Overall I loved this movie and truthfully there was little doubt that I would. I will say that its flaws lie in the middle of the film where it begins relying heavily in the history of the scene. While watching it felt like this segment went on for longer than necessary and I found myself wishing that they would go back to the fatherhood stuff. Afterwards though, its apparent that this backstory is absolutely necessary to truly understand the philosophical dilemma that is present in the mods of these dads. A dilemma that I myself struggle with as apparent that grew up in a similar culture. I cannot wait to buy a copy of this for my collection as it was incredibly hard to return the copy to the library.
Side note: most of the dads featured in the Other F Word are in bands that are going to be playing Riot Fest this year in Chicago. I wanted to go before watching this, now I am absolutely dying to go.
No recommended track list this time, just watch the movie and enjoy the soundtrack.