Classic Film Review: Over the Edge

Full Title: Over the Edge
Director: Jonathan Kaplan
Year: 1979
Fun Fact: This was Kurt Cobain’s favorite film and served as inspiration for the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” music video.
Comments: This here is a molotov cocktail in your very hands for you youngsters out there. Yeah, I know y’all didn’t catch my little Jerry Rubin reference, but catch this a town filled with tired and uninspired teenagers abandoned by their wealthy parents, whom only care about making more money while their community is rotting from the inside. Edge is the dark version of Dazed and Confused (1993); kids in the 70s, apathetic, anarchic, and ready to Rock and Roll: having a good time is the top priority. I must say being a fan of youth oriented/teen/coming of age films, I really dug this work and while watching it I had a myriad of reactions. It really felt like I was watching some sort of archive footage from the 70s. In some ways the story seemed schizophrenic, meaning I could not tell if the movie was rooting for the kids or for the adults. There was this afternoon made for TV movie special feeling to it (which was actually kinda cool!) and simultaneously a Rock and Roll High School (1979) youth rebellion aesthetic to it as well. I have come to the conclusion that this ambiguous combination serves as a reminder that life in general is never black and white and this film does not need to shove a message down your throat to say something. Overall, I have very little to no gripes with this film; I thoroughly enjoyed it and I look forward to watching it again and again. It is not perfect, but honestly I don’t think I would like this film if it was. Ya dig?

P.S.
: Going back to Cobain, with the characters in this flick I could totally see a little Kurt in some of these kids- before you know it they will be at their first Minor Threat/Black Flag show!

Grade: A-

Classic Album Review: Beat Happening



Artist
: Beat Happening
Full Title: Beat Happening
Year: 1985
Label: K
Track List
1) Our Secret– 8/9
2) What’s Important– 9
3) Down At the Sea– 9
4) I Love You- 8
5) Fourteen- 8
6) Run Down the Stairs– 9
7) Bad Seeds (Live)- 5
8) In My Memory-8/9
9) Honey Pot- 8
10) The Fall- 7/8
11) Youth- 8
12) Don’t Mix the Colors- 8
13) Foggy Eyes- 8
14) Bad Seeds– 9
15) I Let Him Get to Me- 8
16) I Spy– 9
17) Run Down the Stairs– 9
18) Christmas- 7/8
19) Fourteen- 8
20) Let’s Kiss– 9
21) 1, 2, 3- 7
22) In Love With You Thing- 7/8
23) Look Around- 8
24) Untitled- Ungraded

Comments: This is the unflinching, incredible debut from the seminal “twee pop” group Beat Happening. You can call it twee, lo-fi, noise, etc. but ultimately it is Punk Rock- at its finest. In this record, BH, known for their amateur quality/attitude, are at their most primitive; the production is about as lo-fi as it gets before it becomes simply rubbish. On this LP, most songs are astonishingly decent pop tunes, with passion taking the front seat over musicianship. One can hear a lot of 60s surf rock influence as well as the outsider feel of The Shaggs and Half Japanese. Lyrically, most numbers are innocent in nature- “Down at the Sea,” ” Run Down the Stairs,” etc. There are also more than a fair share of love ballads- “Our Secret,” “I Love You,” “Honey Pot,” and the classic “Let’s Kiss.” Admittedly, not every track is good and some do suffer from the lack of “quality” recording and perhaps would have sounded better with a finer studio. My two favorite tracks are definitely “Bad Seeds” ( the guitar riff reminds me of the music in the James Bond Films; a very bad ass song!) and “I Spy.” All in all, this is a pretty nice debut from Beat Happening and it certainly is amongst the annals of “YOU CAN DO IT TOO!” records.

Grade: B+

“Bad Seeds” with clips from Over the Edge (1979)