Thursday, October 15, 2009

Adventureland returns me to the rock of the 80s

I watched Adventureland last night. The director's previous work, Superbad, was a bawdy comedy. This one is a much more low key story of awkward young love at a theme park, peppered with comedic sets by the likes of Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig. It is certainly worth your time.

The movie is set in 1987. The most notable nod to the 80s is the heavy use of 80s tunes. The theme park workers are tormented by Rock Me Amadeus, but find solace in the Replacements, and for some reason Lou Reed. I guess liking Lou Reed = arty outsider status. They could have used something more contemporaneous like Big Black, although that would connote vaguely dangerous outsider status. My vote would be for the use of the Dead Milkmen, specifically Punk Rock Girl. That one has young rebel couple all over it.

Mostly though, I just don't get Lou Reed. Not even Black Francis proclaiming his love can convince me to like Reed or his over-rated band the Velvet Underground. I do like the chorus to Satellite of Love, a little, but for the most part I could never listen to another song.

Fortunately all this Lou Reed cluttering my head is easily dispatched. A visit to the 120 Minutes Archive can clear away the most unforgettable of bad songs. 120 minutes (one of college roomates inexplicably pronounced it one twenty minutes) was a late night MTV show about "altnerative music." Back in late 80s high school days, I drank lots of coke to stay up late and watch. The best/worst part was hoping they would finally play the band you liked.

You might not get the exact song, but you could got plenty of good ones. Here is a Ramones hosted show with Interesting Drug, Dominion (one of my earliest band lady crushes was on the woman in this vid - wow I forgot they shot the video at Petra), and Never Say Never. Of course you had to suffer through Concrete Blonde. There is always a price.

There is always the middle path. The bands that aren't great, but also aren't gratingly terrible. The rock wizards at Clear Channel have apparently decided to revive Billy Squier, who is now nearly unavoidable on the classic rock station. He reminds a bit of what Foreigner might sound like, if they had ever decided to stop being shitty. The one song that I think is not so bad is My Kind of Lover. The lyrics, though, give me pause. He sings to his love "you give me something way beyond revenue." Is he a pimp?


CG said...

All hail 120 Minutes! One of the only ways this small-town girl found out about cool music. I also really liked Adventureland -- particularly Martin Starr as the lead's odd best friend who smokes a pipe and loves Russian Lit.

Tripp said...

Yeah, 120 was a critical source of information even in the cosmopolitan metropolis of Norfolk, VA.

It was a good movie, wasn't it? I also liked Martin Starr, but I thought the two leads did a great job.