Who doesn’t love a punk? Who doesn’t love movies? Hence, who wouldn’t love a punk movie made by punks, starring punks with an all-star punk soundtrack? It just could work. In fact, some of my favorite films are punk films. “Repo Man”, “Sid and Nancy”, “The Great Rock-N-Roll Swindle” to name but a few.
Joe Escalante (bassist for The Vandals) stars as Dirk (oddly enough the bassist for a punk band) who finds himself in the midst of a hellish chain of events. After whoring his band’s song to a sub-par television show about roller-blading cops and cheating on his artist girlfriend he finds himself in his boxer shorts in the middle of the desert on the run from hit men, cop killers and an impregnated junkie alien. A bad day by any standards. (Think “Repo Man” meets “North by Northwest”in the desert…but not exactly.)
There is a story behind the story. “That Darn Punk” was made for just over $20,000 by Kung Fu Films. Shot on 16mm and released exclusively on home video the film boasts one of the best punk soundtracks you are ever likely to stumble upon. Bands such as The Vandals, Rancid, Bouncing Souls, Pennywise and A.F.I. (the list goes on) lend songs to the soundtrack. That said, it would be very easy to rely on the punk clout of the soundtrack and use it as an excuse to produce a shitty film.
This is, however, not the case. “That Darn Punk” is a lot of fun and Escalante is quite likeable in the lead. Chock full of extremely quirky characters, great music and what could only be described as f****d-up situations, the film is a must for any punk fan. Kung Fu Films is currently working on their second film “Selwyn’s Nuts”, starring Warren Fitzgerald (also of The Vandals) and directed and shot by Joe Escalante. There is a trailer for the film on the video for “That Darn Punk” and it looks like it could be funny as hell.
So here’s to more punks in the movies… No, not the ones who kick your seat and talk and throw popcorn, but the entertaining ones with the spikes and the guitars. You know what I mean.