Heewack! Ain’t nothing like punk-rock indie films to make my day. This one is a scenester flick from Portland, our friendly and hip west-coast companion city.
It’s the story of a fictional all-girl band, The Paper Dolls, trying to make it big – you’ve heard it before so there’s no need to synopsize! It flits comfortably between the earnest love story about new rocker Kali (Nicole Barrett)’s pursuit of her childhood crush, now a punk icon, and random raunchy gutter trash about sex without condoms and leftover-booze blender drinks.
Rising Vancouver hip-hop dynamo Kinnie Starr plays a lesbian slut in this film, coming off like Jay of Jay-and-Silent-Bob fame with her pointy toque and where-the-hell accent. Zoe Poledouris rocks as a hardcore band hag, the only one of the Dolls intent on making money (and the best actress in the bunch), despite the fact that she’s also the dirtiest of them all.
One thing that separates undie from indie is bad acting. Bring it on! There are some stinky performances here, and stinky moments in the script. Great! If it don’t stink it ain’t punk rock. I’d rather dig the tunes and remember deadpan deliveries.
And I must say that nothing more embarrassingly illustrates the conflict between big-budget cinema and underground film than punk-rock extras. Spiky-haired, studded-jacket but cleancut folks stand around in the background, nodding silently while their mohawked friends move their lips convincingly and hold their beer with label hidden. Oh well, you gotta get b/g action somehow.
But the kick comes from moments like the above-mentioned blender spree: a haggard old rockhound named Alcoholly (Jennifer Shepard) goes around the morning after a harsh party, moving bodies out of the way to collect half-finished drinks. Discarding cigs and garbage from the murkier bottles and glasses, she pours it all into one big blender and mixes it up. “I thought we were out of booze,” says Kinnie, before downing it. Heewack, I said.
Shot on digital without making a big fuss about it, DAOWTD shows what DIY is all about; the story is local but universal, takes chances with the puritans waiting out there to quash any film they get their gatekeeper paws on, but also serves a broad audience by keeping the story center-stage.
And I suppose I’m obligated to mention Lemmy’s cameo as a guy living in the closet. Well, okay. It was funny.