Monday, April 26, 2010

Reviewing Pirate Radio: Somewhere There's a Movie Reviewer Who Owes Me Two Hours

Yes, I'm lookin' at you Joe Morgenstern.

This movie has a glorious soundtrack of classic rock and roll.

This movie has top notch actors, all giving their best.

Too bad they forgot to throw in a plot or character development beyond something a first grader might provide. (The mean old man doesn't like music or fun. He's mad at the happy people who like music.)

There are a few amusing scenes and the ambiance works but that is hardly enough to justify the movie.

Wait, did I mention that it was a failed movie in the U.K. that was renamed and marketed in the U.S. with a lie? It is not based on fact, although if they had based it on Radio Luxembourg (on a boat) then they might have a leg to stand on. I did find it amusing that the original pirate radio stations on boats were angling for credibility so they might be able to operate on land and sell advertising. Just about opposite from the point made in the movie.

Also, it would have been nice since this is about rock and roll in 1966 if they had actually only had the DJs play songs from that time period and not later. This drove Tom crazy.

It was especially painful to see Kenneth Branaugh stuck with playing the one-note up-tight British government official. It made me want to send him a donation. Surely poverty was the only reason he took such a thankless part.

I am not opposed to sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll in a movie depending on the context, but please believe me when I say that what is seen in this movie is about as gratuitous and pointless as it gets.

Not worth your time. Buy the sound track and dance with some friends. It is time better spent.

1 comment:

  1. The film is very loosely based on fact. Between 1964 and 1968 we did have a number of stations broadcasting from ships and forts outside of territorial waters, in order to circumvent legislation, which permitted only the BBC to broadcast to the UK. (There were no commercial stations, but we were able to listen to Radio Luxembourg, which broadcast pop music in the evenings from studios in Luxembourg.) The fictitious Radio Rock is an amalgamation of the ship-based stations, the most popular of which were Radio London and Radio Caroline. Caroline was first on the air, but Radio London sailed in from Miami at the end of 1964, bringing the US Top Forty format and jingles, which very quickly cornered the listener market. By 1966 (which is when the film is supposed set) most of the stations were Top Forty-based. It's a tremendous pity the film-makers couldn't stick to the music of that year for their soundtrack.

    Those of us who love the offshore stations were very disappointed with 'Offshore Radio', as were most of the former DJs. The real story is yet to be told and it's much more interesting.

    We are developing a musical stage show that tells the offshore radio story. We offered it to Universal pictures for the film's premieres in North America, thinking it would be good to interest the press in the facts.

    Universal did not want to know.