Fucked Up’s Jukebox

Fucked Up

Photo by David Waldman

If you’re going to name your band Fucked Up, you can’t mess around. You’ve got to really bring it or else what’s the point? Luckily, Canadian punks Fucked Up do really live up to their name. Their live shows are a sight to behold, with theatrical stage antics spilling out to the audience, often accompanied by blood and nudity. Despite this, the band won the prestigious Canadian Polaris Prize, showing that you can have a naughty word in your band name and still be taken seriously. A collection of their many hard-to-find 7” and 12” tracks are being brought together on a double CD and LP to be released on 25 January on Matador Records. More information on the Matador website and Fucked Up’s blog. Frontman Damian Abraham, aka ‘Pink Eyes’, gives us his 10 favourite films. LUCY HURST

1- The Phantom of the Paradise (1974)
Hands down my favourite film of all time. Directed brilliantly by Brian De Palma who is someone I have always felt is underrated as a director. It is a tale that is one part Faust and one part Phantom of the Opera but set against a glam rock backdrop. The music was written by one of the film’s stars, Paul Williams, and it is one of the great, unheralded soundtracks of all time. I first saw this film as a child late one night on TV and for years thought I must have imagined it. It wasn’t until about 12 years ago that I found out it was indeed a real film.

2- Style Wars (1983)
I love documentaries but for the most part I find they don’t stand up to repeated viewing. That said, I have watched this one at least 30 times. It is basically an overview of graffiti in New York in the early 80s but it is so much more than that. A perfect time capsule of a youth culture in its infancy that in no way belittles its subjects but at the same time really never canonises them either. What is left is an honest portrait of the people that made this culture, which ended up sweeping the world. A graffiti writer named Cap (who is featured rather prominently) is the greatest cinematic villain of all time. For the longest time this film was nearly impossible to find. I can remember having to go to the Toronto Reference library to watch a 16mm print version because it was the only way to see it. Nowadays you can order it on the internet and just watch it in the comfort of your own home… oh the modern world.

3- 24 Hour Party People (2002)
There is a great quote about the difficultly of making a film about an artist and I guess that the same must apply to musicians as well. The ‘rock and roll film’ is a very finicky beast. Normally they wind up terrible (Almost Famous), occasionally they wind up all right (Sid And Nancy) but on rare occasions they wind up amazing. This is one such occasion. In this post-modern take on the origins of post-punk, Michael Winterbottom employs direct address, archival footage and ‘found footage’ to make a film worthy of the story it is telling.

4- Casino (1995)
For most people, the obvious Scorsese gangster film is Goodfellas. While I love Goodfellas, I think his masterpiece is Casino. More measured and at the same time far more fully realised than any of his other films.

5- Garbage Pail Kids (1987)
When this movie came out, my brother and I made my parents drive way to the outskirts of Toronto to the only place that was playing it. At that young age I couldn’t understand why a movie that I was dying to see was only playing in such a remote place. All these years later, armed with the wisdom of the mitigating 25 years or so, I can understand a little bit more why this might not be for everyone. It is a spin of the popular trading card series (yes, you read that right). It centres around a boy of about 15 who is inexplicably bullied by a guy well into his 30s. The teen stumbles across magic garbage that contains a bunch of gross kids (the Garbage Pail Kids) who come to his aid. The bully’s girlfriend, who is in her late 20s, falls in love with the teen (yes, you read that right), and it just keeps getting weirder. It has everything you could want from a film: musical numbers, puppets, genocide, general insanity, etc.

6- Across 110th Street (1972)
This is constantly lumped as a blaxplotation film, which I think does it a disservice. Sure, it has many of the hallmarks of the genre: made in the 70s, an incredible soul soundtrack, a focus on inner city urban life and of course black central characters, but to pigeonhole it like that ignores the fact that this is a film that offers a far greater social commentary than something like Shaft. It serves as a critique of the racism of the police, the treatment of veterans, the death of the inner city and the general failure of the American Dream. It was directed by the amazing Berry Shear, who was predominantly a television director, and almost all of his films could be on this list.

7- Rambo IV (2008)
This is perhaps the purest action film ever made. The plot is secondary to the action. The only character development given to the bad guys is making the leader a paedophile. Trying to analyse this film any further would be a disservice to the beauty of its simplicity. I had no interest in seeing this when it came out and I am kicking myself that I missed my chance to see it in the cinema.

8- Deathwish II (1982)
It is such a rare occurrence that a sequel is better than the original. Aliens? Godfather II? Those are debatable, but the superiority of Deathwish II is not. Deathwish II is pure pathos. In the first film, Charles Bronson’s character becomes a vigilante, but in this one he becomes a god of vengeance. The later sequels have ventured further and further into the realm of impossibility, but this one manages to walk the thin line between plausible and implausible.

9- Shogun Assassin (1980)
Most people’s exposure to this film comes from the use of samples from its dialogue on the Gza’s classic ‘Liquid Sword’ album but the film is a masterpiece in its own right. It was made by re-editing two of the Japanese Lone Wolf and Cub films into a single movie with English dubbed over the top. This is the only film that I think is improved by dubbing, thanks in large part to the amazing voice talents of the actor who plays the main character’s son. He serves as the film’s narrator and captures the bleakness of the story perfectly. I love revenge films and this is one of the best.

10- Various
The final spot I will use to give some honourable mentions as I can’t decide which film to put in the spot: Wild in the Streets (1968), Star Wars (1977), The Warriors (1979), Seven Samurai (1954), Touch of Evil (1958), Django (1966), Oldboy (2003), Blue Spring (2001), Goodbye Uncle Tom (1971), Comic Book Confidential (1988), Crumb (1994), Vinyl (1965), The Decline of Western Civilization (1981), Gummo (1997).