Saturday, August 20, 2016

Sid and Nancy

Year 8, Day 233 - 8/20/16 - Movie #2,427

BEFORE: I finally have a road map to the end of the year - a list of another 73 films that will get me to Christmas, a fact which puts a bit of a chill in the air, even though it's 80 degrees outside.  Is the list perfect?  No, of course not.  But it works, and there are a few films I can remove if better opportunities arise.  Things are pretty quiet on the incoming movie front right now, which has enabled me to get the watchlist down to 112, and that's given me a great chance of getting it down to 100 before the end of 2016's regulation play.  But I have a feeling that as soon as the Olympics are over, cable TV's going to be programming new films, including at least one of the four films I need to complete said chain.  

Gary Oldman carries over from "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" to play Sid Vicious in a film about punk rock band The Sex Pistols.  Punk rockers are very different from chimpanzees and gorillas - one group is hairy, smelly, incoherent and tends to throw their feces around, and the other group, of course,  is a bunch of monkeys.  (Apologies to Craig Ferguson)   

FOLLOW-UP TO: "CBGB" (Movie #2,204), "24 Hour Party People" (Movie #2,328)

THE PLOT: Morbid biographical story of Sid Vicious, bassist with British punk group the Sex Pistols, and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen.

AFTER: This is a very difficult film to link to, so it's been bouncing around on my schedule for a couple of years, really I just want to complete the look at 80's punk rock that started with "CBGB" and then move on.  And when I come to a dead-end like this, it's a good time to segue into some documentaries, so I'm going to do just that.  

I don't really care about Sid Vicious, and the Sex Pistols to me are one of the three most overrated bands of all time (along with the Clash and the Ramones, there, I said it) and I hate to sound like an old man here, but punk rock is just a bunch of useless noise.  (From what I just read, it sounds like Gary Oldman didn't care much for it either, when he took the role.)   Just like country music, the whole genre could disappear overnight and I wouldn't miss it one bit.  So it's no surprise that the story of Sid's demise means almost nothing to me - I mean, I don't want any person to O.D., but in another sense, you reap what you sow and if all the money from your album sales go up your nose or into your veins, well, you get no sympathy from me.  It's called tough love, OK?  

The only moderately interesting thing about Sid Vicious was his cover of "My Way", a song that was trite and overplayed two days after it was first recorded, so it really needed to be taken down a peg with a punk version.  But even that's been overplayed now, it's funny for about 5 minutes while you're in college, and after that you realize it just shows how punk rockers never took anything seriously, even satire.  

The movie was very hard to follow, and not just because of the thick British accents.  It starts with the ending (police are called to the Chelsea Hotel) and then snaps back to the beginning of Sid & Nancy's relationship.  But that's all tainted, because we know how it ends, and it ain't pretty.  So why is there any attempt made to glorify it?  These were junkies, and scene after scene of them lying motionless while they're strung out sends the wrong message - and worse, it isn't narratively interesting at all.  

Courtney Love, meanwhile, rallied to be cast as Nancy Spungen, and though she was given a minor role instead, I can't decide if this fact is weirdly prophetic or just karmically ironic.  Funny, we weren't given any films that tried to glorify the similarly disastrous relationship she had with Kurt Cobain, I wonder why?  Because in the end, effed up is just effed up.  Comparisons to "Romeo and Juliet" are inaccurate, because there was so much more to Shakespeare's doomed romance, like coming from rival houses, than just watching two people circling the drain for two hours.  

And the ending really glamorizes the effects of an intentional fatal overdose, which is irresponsible and quite contemptible.  It was interesting to see the inside of the Chelsea Hotel, a NYC landmark I've walked by thousands of times, but that was about it. 

Also starring Chloe Webb (last seen in "Practical Magic"), David Hayman (last seen in "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit"), Andrew Schofield, Xander Berkeley (last seen in "Gattaca"), Debby Bishop, Perry Benson, Tony London, Courtney Love, Biff Yeager, with cameos from Coati Mundi (last seen in "25th Hour"), Miguel Sandoval (last seen in "The Crew"), Iggy Pop, Slash.

RATING: 3 out of 10 tour dates

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