Many radio stations are awarding points to their listeners for doing certain things, like listening online, or clicking on articles. I saw the promotion to win these passes, along with Q and A with their resident film critic, "The Regular Guy". So of course I put all my points towards this contest. And I won, perhaps because most XRT listeners would rather win concert passes or T-shirts. I, however, am a movie freak and would have loved to meet The Regular Guy. Turns out, The Regular Guy isn’t real; he’s just the voice character of one of the DJs. So, I didn’t meet him, I just got to watch one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time.
Pirate Radio takes place in England in the 1960’s, when radio stations were prohibited from playing rock and roll. Several stations began broadcasting their rock from boats out at sea. The practice was not illegal at the time, but parliament wanted to put an end to it. This is the story of one of those ships, Radio Rock. A young boy named Carl is sent to live on the boat with his godfather Quentin. His mother apparently had enough of his antics. The plot follows his observations on the ship, but it’s not all about Carl. Quentin, played by Bill Nighy, manages the radio station. Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays The Count, a wild DJ from America. The previews make it seem like PSH is the main character, but we actually get to know several other DJs very well. All the DJs are played by funny men; Nick Frost, Rhys Ifans, and pretty much every other English actor you’ve seen in a movie. Even Kenneth Branagh is in it. I think the only one missing here is Simon Pegg. These DJs live on the boat and are forced to interact with each other every minute of the day. With not much else to do, they talk and play games. The characters are so off-the-wall crazy, throwing them into one small room breeds hilarious dialogue and sure-to-be classic scenes. The humor is pretty silly, similar to Shaun of the Dead. Certain scenes were so silly they actually reminded me of old Beatles movies and even Monty Python. Even the clothes the DJ’s wear are crazy. The costumes are vibrant and colorful and really take you back to that era.
Pirate Radio was written and directed by Richard Curtis, the man responsible for Love Actually - another favorite of mine. One great thing about Love Actually is the great music. A lot of thought went into the soundtrack. Pirate Radio is no different; this movie is all about the music so it had to be good. There is one classic song after another and they are all timed intelligently to the pace of the film. We hear The Who, The Stones, The Kinks, Hendrix - the list goes on and on. This movie is filled with so many classic tunes, they will probably need to release the soundtrack as a boxed set.
The entire movie is hilarious and so much fun, but I have to say my favorite part was the ending. It will completely take you off guard. There are no twists or anything like that, but the end is totally unexpected and perfectly filmed. You would almost think someone else took over directing. I won’t say any more than that. But, again, the music is perfect and even features one of my all-time-favorite songs. It’s not the most widely-known classic rock song, but if you do know it, you will surely be moved as I was.
I loved Pirate Radio - it’s definitely a must see. Every single minute is hilarious. I don’t remember a joke that I didn’t scream out in laughter for. And I have to recommend seeing the movie in theaters while you can. Even your living room surround sound will not do the amazing soundtrack justice.
Thanks much to XRT and the Lake Theater in Oak Park. I really enjoyed your free refills on popcorn and soda!