Sunday, May 3, 2009

Rock Movies I Love: Pink Floyd The Wall

Before I came to the realization that Pink Floyd The Wall was one of the most awesome rock movies of all time, I had a very different reaction to it: I thought that if I watched it I would go insane. Yeah it sounds silly and I can laugh about it now, but that movie made me fear for my mental safety. Afterall, the movie, about a rock star who has a mental breakdown, is based on original Pink Floyd frontman Syd Barrett who had a well-documented mental breakdown. This fact, coupled with Gerald Scarfe's animation - especially the movie poster - was too much for me to take. Whenever the commerical for the movie appeared, I quickly changed the channel or ran from the room. I couldn't risk the possibility of a full mental collapse at age 10. Let's fastforward to my high school years when armed with my Blockbuster video card (Remember those?) and a full tank of teenage bravuada, I decided to temp the fates and rented the movie. I brought it home, took a deep breath and pushed play. Upon my initial viewing of the movie, I came away with a few things: 1) Bob Geldof is an amazing actor. (Yep, that's "Sir Bobby Gandolf," as comedian Russell Brand affectionately calls him, lead singer of Boomtown Rats and organizer of Band-Aid/Live-Aid/Live 8.) He says almost no words the entire movie but with a single glance brilliantly expresses alienation, vulnerability and madness. I'd go so far as to say his performance puts him on the level of Daniel Day-Lewis, Denzel Washington or Sean Penn. He's that good. 2) "How can you have your pudding if you don't eat your meat?" This includes eating all of your meat - grissle included - as the sequence leading to "Another Brick In The Wall (Part 3)" brilliantly and disturbingly illustrates. 3) Director Alan Parker kicks ass! Parker, the man behind three of my favorite movies (Bugsy Malone, Fame and Angel Heart), had some gigantic balls to even consider making a cinematic version of The Wall. Yet, he manages to do it - even throwing an army of skinheads and a Nuremberg-like rock rally in the mix. Parker gets my eternal kudos for his daring and vision. With each and every viewing of the movie, I appreciate the genius that went into making it. Today, and every day after, I watch Pink Floyd The Wall not only without fear but with love. My sanity reasonably intact.

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