Monday, November 5

Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten
(2007, Julien Temple)

I got to see a screening of this documentary a few weeks ago, during the CMJ festival. Originally this wasn't the movie I intended to go see, but due to other factors it was the one I ended up seeing.

As you can gather from the title, this film was about Joe Strummer of The Clash. Julien Temple, the director also did a documentary about the Sex Pistols called The Filth and the Fury, but you might know him better as the director of that cinematic masterpiece, Earth Girls are Easy. I never listened to The Clash growing up or knew much about them. My knowledge of them began and stopped at their Rock the Casbah video. It wasn't until about a couple years ago that I ended up acquiring some Clash records(yes I still call them records although they were really mp3s) and getting into them. So seeing this movie was pretty interesting, in that I learned more about them(specifically Joe Strummer), how they formed and their music. You learn how Joe Strummer(not his real name of course) acquired that name, due to the fact of how he played his guitar. The thing that interested me the most was that Joe was originally a hippy of sorts and started out playing more of a Rock-A-Billy/Folk type of music and you can see that influence in some of The Clash's recordings.

Now like I said, the movie was good in the fact that it provided me with a bit more knowledge about Joe Strummer and The Clash, yet this movie had its faults and to me they are some major faults. The one that was the most glaring was that there are numerous interviews with people who knew Joe throughout his life, but not once are you given any information as to who they are or their connection to Joe Strummer. The movie watching experience would have been more enjoyable if their names appeared on the screen at least once, as they were being interviewed. The other problem was the length of the documentary, although it was only around 2 hrs long which is normal for movie nowadays, the pacing of the movie made it feel even longer. Towards the end of it I was getting really antsy and was just thinking to myself when is this going to end. The first way that this issue could be remedied would be to get rid of a few of the interviews that just didn't make sense or felt so out of place in this movie. The director freaking interviewed Martin Scorsese, John Cusack, Bono(with his corny sunglasses) and Johnny Depp who was still in character as Captain Jack Sparrow. These interviews just served no purpose, they didn't drive the movie forward or add anything relevant to it that wasn't already provided by the other interviewees. So with that said my advice to you if you want to see this documentary, is to wait till it comes out on DVD so you can watch it in chunks and skip past those interviews.

The one thing that stuck with me from the movie was Joe Strummer's definition of a punk rocker. He said a punk rocker is just a hippie with zippers. That's just classic.

Coincidentally or not, later that night as I was waiting for a subway, a kid probably no older than 15 comes strolling down the subway platform dressed in text book British punk rocker uniform of the late 1970's. You could of taken a picture of him and put it next to punk rock in the dictionary it was almost too good to be true. He had a 2 foot high mohawk sticking straight up, a Romanes style leather jacket with lots of zippers and tight black jeans on. I'm also sure if I would of gotten a closer look he would of either had a safety pin through his nose or ear and a bunch of extra ones on his jeans or jacket. Ahhh the youth of today.

Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten official site
Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten @ imdb

Related Posts: CMJ Music Marathon NYC, Photographing Michael Diamond, Brad @ Highline Ballroom, NYC
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nursemyra said...

yeah the whole johnny depp in character thing was just weird.

and if I see bono pop up anywhere else this year I'm gonna..... #%^&*

msquared said...

yeah I agree with everything you just said.

nursemyra said...

I went to see the new tarantino film tonight - and rather liked it! maybe because I'm a kiwi / aussie. zoe rules.

msquared said...

haven't had a chance to see it yet.