Pump Up The Volume review by The Grim Ringler
Pump Up The Volume
It occurs to me that this really is a lame DVD. Lame in that it came out before there were special editions out for every movie that hit the market and when special features on a DVD meant that hey, hey, hey, you get the trailer AND filmographies. As if there are a lot of cats out there just salivating for a really good filmography. Yeah baby, thats what gets me hot! I wont complain too loudly though because when I got into movies hardcore laserdisc was where it was at, and I actually have a player myself, and a lot of those movies didnt even bother to include a widescreen version, so far be it from me to throw my little whine stones at a company that willingly gives you a widescreen version of the film. But it is a bit disappointing to look back at all the neat movies that were released bare-bones onto DVD and now well have to re-buy them if they decide the movies warrant an extra or two. Drat!
Pump Up The Volumewas, when it came out, perhaps the last of the really well regarded teen movies of that era. It came after the Breakfast Club and Say Anythingera but it was still sorta in that vibe, yet it was so much more. Essentially Christian Slater is a loner and a loser at a new high school with around fourteen hundred students and an all but evil administration, and by day he is no one, just another face in a very large crowd, But at night he becomes Happy Harry Hardon, a pirate radio DJ screaming into the empty night for all to hear. But Mark Slater never expects anyone to hear, not really, and is just doing it to fill the lonely hours, but suddenly he is a phenomenon, people hearing him or hearing about him and then becoming fans riveted by his every word. And Mark loves it. He is finally being heard. And what had begun as an alternative radio station, something that played the music no one else would play think Soundgarden before they were cross-over hits slowly becomes his pulpit from which he preaches the gospel of the disenfranchised. And they listen. And they write him. And the more they listen the stronger he and his words get, until he is saying what no one will say that the system is broken, that the children are broken, the families are broken, and that the very world is broken and someone needs to fix it. And the more he says, the more people listen, and the more they begin to believe, and the more the school administration and the police begin to fear Mark. They fear his message, and worse, they fear the change that he is inciting, the revolution. And they need to stop him.
Its funny because the more I think about it, this is sort of a last-gasp punk movie. The kid, Mark, is far from a punker but his ideals, his message, and his means are completely punk, the way the music was when it first began. And its in the music that the movie gains its strength. Music that gives Mark his power, gives him his voice, gives him his message. And thats one of the many things I love about this film that it sees music not as something to be exploited or programmed, but as something to gain knowledge and strength from. Its the voice thats in our hearts and heads that we can never give breath to. And I love the message, because believe in it or not, at least the movie is saying SOMETHING! How many movies even bother with that anymore? Or that actually make a movie that the message can support? Most come off as preaching or worse, as boring.
The movie is acted and directed well, though Slater goes a bit over-the-top at times, as do some of the adults (they REALLY want you to see them as evil), but nothing sells or damns the movie more than the message behind it all and the music used to convey it.
So I offer unto you Pump Up The Volume, a flawed and far from perfect movie to be true, but a sincere and honest movie that wears its heart on its flannel sleeve. Few movies have gotten me to really want to change the world like this movie has, and any time art, of any sort, can do that, its something pretty special.
8 out of 10 Jackasses