Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Film Review: PUMP UP THE VOLUME (1990, Allan Moyle)

Stars: 5 of 5.
Running Time: 102 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Christian Slater, Samantha Mathis, Scott Paulin, Ahmet Zappa, Seth Green, director Allan Moyle (TIMES SQUARE, XCHANGE).
Tag-lines: "Steal the Air."
Best one-liner: "Rise up in the cafeteria and stab them with your plastic forks."

"All my life I have been acutely aware of a contradiction in the very nature of my existence. For forty-five years I struggled to resolve this dilemma by writing plays and novels. The more I wrote, the more I realized mere words were not enough. So I found another form of expression." Those words were said by Yukio Mishima. And PUMP UP THE VOLUME is kind of like teen-movie Mishima. And that is awesome. This film completely embodies what I frequently refer to as 'the Slater factor.'

Samantha Mathis pines for more Slater Factor.

Slater is completely unhinged as his radio persona 'Happy Hard-on Harry,' but meek and afraid as his high-school geek persona, Mark Hunter.

Nerdy Slater undercover.

Radio Slater doesn't give a fuck.

And the film becomes about the blurring of these two personas and the line between thought and action. With a Fascist school and crypto-Nazi F.C.C. agents milling about, Slater has weight behind it when he says "it seems everywhere I look, someone's getting butt-surfed by the system."

Slater realizes The Slater Factor has spiraled out of control.

Slater delivers insane monologues, lectures lizards, humps empty wedding dresses, jerks off on the air, dances with a golf club, quaffs Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi, and says things like "Remember, my dear, I can smell a lie like a fart in a car" and "All the great themes have been used up, turned into theme parks."

Is this movie ridiculous? Certainly, yes. Is it corny? Yeah, that too. But there's something about its presentation of these themes of thought vs. action- which intellectuals have wrestled with since the dawn of knowledge- that shines true. Even kiddie-level Mishima is gonna hit close to home. Sometimes we need the pop culture version of our favorite intellectuals, and I'm glad that this film is out there. I hope that others continue to take up the mantle of riling up the youth. Talk hard. Five stars.

-Sean Gill


skeelo said...

"Samantha Mathis pines for more Slater Factor."

classic! hahah

man, i watched this movie so much when i was in junior high, "i'm a duh duh duh duh duh david deaver, and i really don't know anything, cuz i'm a guidance counselor..."

Sean Gill said...

Yeah, I was a bit late to the party that is this movie, but damn, they really don't incite the youth quite like this anymore!

Alice said...

I want to see this!

"Samamtha Mathis pines for more Slater factor."

My next door neighbor probably heard me snort at that one. (:

Tempest said...

I have only seen parts of this. I wanted to see it all before I add it to my collection, but I may not wait.

Sean Gill said...

I think it's safe to say that if you're a Slater fan, you will find a lot to like about PUMP UP THE VOLUME.