I started to post on an entirely different subject today, but I ran across some information, half way through last night, that forced me to trash the entire thing. So, I am going to wing it, but about a film that I’ve seen at least 10 times so I know it well. And the subject matter is most interesting, which is why it’s one of those movies that I see at least once a year, the subject; “freedom of speech”…Most people when they first see it just think of it as a teenage “angst” film. It is not. One of Christian Slaters first starring roles and the screen debut of Samantha Mathis makes for a very unique look at the power of WORDS. Driven by one of the best movie sound tracks to come out of the 1980’s, Slater plays a pirate radio DJ………his listening audience is only a couple of miles in it’s reach, so Slater doesn’t really think any one is listening to him on his short wave radio set. He is new in town and he begins venting on the air about what’s happening in his High School. There is a strange number of students on probation or being expelled, and yet the school boasts the highest SAT scores for kids in the entire state. The movie opens with one of the koolest songs ever and Slater talks about himself as “HAPPY HARRY HARD ON” and much sexual tension and frustration, and awkwardness that he feels at being in this corrupt school with no real hero’s to look up to. Well, needless to say, some of the kids in the school catch onto the show and sends it spiraling out of control. The soundtrack always adding to the ride as you go along. “Harry” begins receiving mail from his listeners, one of which turns out to be Samantha Mathis who is one of many trying to figure out who this rebel DJ really is. During the course of responding to one of his fan letters, he reads the words “I think I’m going to kill myself, what should I do?”……he does a fine job of talking to the kid on the phone while on the air. The next day they get the news that the kid has indeed shot himself in the head. All the while, this killer sound track keeps pushing the film forward. Harry is distraught because during his conversation with the kid (which was brilliant by the way) he never actually says “Don’t Do IT”…….well this stirs up the adult community and unites all the kids because they all heard him talking to the kid on the air and no one blames him, accept the adults of course!
The reason I love this movie so much is because the power of WORDS is so prevalent in this film. Kids begin using his words to graffiti the school and raise questions about the illegal goings on of the administration of the school. Words take over the entire film and come to a head when the FCC (Federal Communications Committee) gets involved and threatens to arrest the DJ for his involvement in the death of the suicide kid. Some of the scenes in this movie of slater talking on the air are beyond mesmerizing, the writers provide him with such brilliant dialogue that it becomes more than a movie, it becomes a movement, a worthy cause, the kind of cause that everyone can appreciates and most would fight to defend. So when the critics said that this movie was just another teen angst movie….they were doing their usual bang up job of being completely wrong….this movie still makes money to this day. It’s one of those films that gets better every time you see it. And THE SOUNDTRACK is magic…..the whole thing is an amazing experience, and well worth the 2 hour investment of your time. The movie literally ROCKS!!!
I am Dartanion2 and that’s the way I see it…………..cheers………….t xx
Alice Lawson said:
I just read about suicide in the entries last night and so glad you shared on this film ! It is a very caring way to point out there are those who try to help severely bullied and depressed young people try to convince them not to commit suicide . We can not always win though and that is because of the minds power to still override efforts to direct it in a positive way back to trusting life again. Bullying is so horrible in its consequences because words can hold power to destroy a persons heart and damage their soul and leads to despondency. That sets up the stage for suicide strongly in some very vulnerable hurting people.
Thank you for sharing something very powerful and relevant. You care so much and write on any subject so clearly. You were born to write 🙂 You are a dear heart and true talent and great friend to have ! Love you and hope that you have more comments and a good response on this one too. I have to shorten and correct my profile entries they are too long and confusing with poor sentence structure and many typos and run on. I was tired and my iPad was blocking off so much and so often i had to do it over and over ….I just tried too hard and it shows . Hope I can improve my writing here and that my iPad stops malfunctioning and my typos lessen too. The magnificent imaginary decoder ring to my rescue ! Lol 🙂
Hi Kate, thanks for commenting my friend……I think your writing is coming along great…It’s hard to write when your computer keeps messing up on you. ….also I think you’re right…teenage suicide is a problem that’s been going on a long time……tony xx
Curtis Longstreet said:
Few movies have been made about radio DJ Tony but they’ve all been really good. Remember Play Misty For Me? Good old Clint Eastwood…great subject for a movie. Why do I feel like I’ve seen this movie? I like I Christian Slater, thought he would’ve had a bigger career, the kid had a fantastic persona, but I guess he never got the right movie to propel him to superstardom.
I listen to a fair bit of sports talk radio and respect the ability these guys have to hold an audience for 3 hours or more; projecting a personality with just the use of a voice is not easy. Larry King I’ve been told was the best. Another guy is George O. could never remember his last name, but his show is all about space aliens and emember when shock radio was in vogue…how can we forget Howard Stern?
If I remember correctly this movie stirred up controversy when it came out, now you got me wanting to see…will check for it sounds like a good one
Yeah C, you’re exactly right, Play Misty For Me Was Great……..and as soon as the his show hit the air Howard Stern (on DC 101 I believe) would have thousands captivated…..especially people in their cars……..lazy days…….I remember them well……..this movie though is way more than just a DJ movie……the expression “Talk Hard” was coined in this film……it is good on so many levels……the reason I love is so much is because it’s timeless…….the sound track is Wicked Good from the very first scene the music has you……awesome flick……..enjoy it my brother……tony xx
Reblogged this on Metaphysics and the Movies according to Dartanion2 and commented:
If you like Christian Slater you’ll love this movie……..I Love it for a number of reasons………most of which are explained in this post………Freedom Of Speech………powerful stuff for a low budget teen flick………..but it’s oh so much more………….enjoy guys…………smiles………T xx