Movie: Green Room ,  Director/Writer: Jeremy Saulnier, Distributer by: A24

Starring: Patrick Stewart, Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkay, Mark Webber, Macon Blair

Since I first saw the trailer for Green Room I wanted to see it.  From the gripping imagery, the violence, to seeing Sir Patrick Stewart as a skinhead it caught my attention and I had to see it.  Also I should give a honorable mention for the trailer using the cover of Credence Clearwater Revival’s Bad Moon Rising by July Talk.  It’s all I could talk about for the months leading up to it’s release.  I watched countless interviews with the cast and director.  Read article after article. I found out that director Jeremy Saulnier grew up in the DC hardcore punk scene in the late 80’s and early 90s.  He wore Agnostic Front and Gut Instinct t-shirts in his interviews.  He hired his childhood friends to do the music for this film (and has done so for all 3 of his featured films: Murder Party, and Blue Ruin) a pair of brothers who grew up playing in bands, Brooke and Will Blair who are also brothers with one of the movies cast member, Macon Blair.  But those are not the only people involved in this movie with connections to the punk scene. The late great Anton Yelchin (who passed away tragically only weeks after the movie was released) also has played in punk bands, and even went to say that to prepare for the film he listened to a lot of Circle Jerks.  I thought, finally, Hollywood is going to get “punk” right for once.  Over the years there has been a slew of films that have tried to take a crack at bring the punk scene on screen.  Some miserablely failed, others did alright, but nothing this promising.

So finally, on opening night my former band mate Tony Youth, Paul from Dissolve, Brian from Times Nine, and I went to go see the movie.  We all played in bands and grew up going to shows, so for us it brought two worlds together: film and punk.  I remember walking out and not feeling disappointed in the slightest. We stood there for a while after the film and discussed our favorite scenes, and how awesome it was.  I don’t want to give anything away because for those of you who haven’t seen it, I want you to watch it and feel how surprised I was on how good this film was. It lived up to my expectations and then some.  But just don’t take my word for it, I asked some friends of mine from the punk and hardcore scene on how they felt about the film.  Like me they also love film, so here are a few quick questions on how they felt about Green Room. 

The three questions I asked: Q1: What was your overall opinion on the movie green room? Q2: How did you feel about the portrayal about the punk/hardcore scene in the movie, especially compared to other films ?  Q3: As a musician have you ever played shows that when you got there felt “questionable”?

Mike Moak singer/Guitarist of After The Fall (Albany, NY)  A1:  I think it was a great movie, very well done. I already LOVED blue ruin and I though Murder Party was kinda cool, so I had huge expectations for Green Room and it did not let me down. I believe it’s an important and relevant situation with counter culture that is portrayed, just as other movies like Suburbia, another state of mind, or even romper stomper may show an ugly and violent side but it’s important to be aware of them none the less. Green Room could’ve taken place anywhere in the world over the last 30 years (minus the smart phone / cell phone) addition I think it was a spot on representation of what happens on a larger scale outside of the larger cities. A2:  It was rad, a couple corny things but very little… Can you name a good “punk” movie motion picture from the last two decades? I can’t… Maybe I’m forgetting one… But this was a more situation oriented movie, the band and the punk element was actually a very small part of the movie that didn’t get corny or portrayed in a Hollywood manner… It literally felt like late 80’s early 90’s films from our youth. A3:Yea, not quite the same as green room… But in my experience with punk and hardcore I’ve seen so much ignorance, violence and death come from things like Heroin addiction, gang mentality like FSU or DMS, racist skins, red neck, intolerant/homophobic/mysogynistic behavior is hard to always escape in this world. Gotta always fight the good fight and be a good person.

Sean Mesler singer of Drowning Room/ Red Devil Suit (Wappingers Falls/Newburgh, NY) A1.I enjoyed it. I felt it was a neat spin on the siege sub-genre. It was tense and unpredictable. I have no real complaints about the film other than I wanted Darcy (Patrick Stewart) to get worse than he did. A2.Very little hardcore from what I remember and I don’t really go to shows like the one in the film so I can’t speak to its accuracy but it felt authentic enough for the purposes of the film. I didn’t roll my eyes or anything. I did like that they made the band play Nazi Punks, Fuck Off in a room full of Nazis. Probably not something I would have done. A3.Not like in Green Room. The closest was a couple of times the promoter didn’t do their job so we played for the other bands. One time it was with Every Time I Die in Nashville. Can you believe that? No one was at the show except for the other bands. But nah, nothing where I’ve ever felt uneasy about being there. That’s kind of part and parcel. You will play a ton of sketchy places in a band. Regardless of genre.

Paul Thorstenson singer of Dissolve/Devil May Care (Poughkeepsie, NY) A1. Green room is a movie where character development and exposition means very little. It was basically a terrible event that happened to some ordinary people and it was violent, gross and then it just ended. A2. It reminded me more of the way punk/hardcore shows were in the late ’80s, not so much how they are now. I’m sure that there are still areas of the country that have strong nazi skinhead populations but I’ve never seen it. In NY, nazi guys were beaten up and chased down the street by dudes with 2X4s until they never came back again. A3. DMC (devil may care) played a tiny little town in West Virginia that was pretty scary in a backwoods, “they were never heard from again” kind of way. The show ended up being good, though, and we were invited to a house party afterwards by a woman with visible cum stains on her pants and had fun with the strange local people who thought that we were really weird.

Dino Proserpio the host of the Video Vortex a monthly rare video screening based on the hallowed VHS format at the Yonkers, NY Alamo Draft House. A1. I liked it. Took a few cinematic chances and reasonable amount of fiction but gripping and interesting, well acted A2. better than most: as an ex-skin you expect a total hatchet job. I mean parts were very accurate and parts were quite a stretch, but the biggest liberty was probably with the nazis and who CARES if that’s not entirely true to life. But it was a cinematic take on it and it’s NOT a movie about punk nor skinhead so that was fine. Lousy use of German was a bit dodgy…. A3. slightly so, again as an ex-skin, but I stayed away from that deliberately. Ran into a few nazis/far right guys here and there but it was the 90s and it was nearly a non-issue. Today who knows?

Brian Christie Guitarist of Annulment (Long Island, NY) A1. Solid movie. Although lacking a bit in character development and it struggles with its pacing in the beginning, it was a tense movie throughout. A2. The accuracy of the portrayal of the punk/hardcore scene in the movie is dependent on different areas scenes. Places like LI there is such a divide in the traditional punk and more modern hardcore scene that the plausibility of a band with an aesthetic like them calling themselves hardcore would rarely touch a cover like Dead Kennedys, but there are places where those two genres are still very much the same. A3. Any show in New York that wasn’t downstate (as well as a handful of shows in the Burroughs) for me felt really questionable. Probably not for the same reasons as in the movies, but there have been times when it’s hard to read the patrons and promoters throughout the night and are hoping to make it out without getting jumped. Add Connecticut to that list too.