Bomb City Review
There was a movie that came out in 2017 that completely flew under my radar. That's not too uncommon with movies lately, but what surprised me is the subject matter of the movie. The movie is about the murder of punk rocker Brian Deneke. The murder of Brian Deneke is a subject that I knew about because I spent my teenage years in a small town called Amarillo, TX (Texas' asshole if you listen to Joe R. Lansdale). Every kid in town knew the story of Brian, so it felt like familiar territory for me.
I would first off like to say that I think Jameson Brooks and Sheldon Chick did try to be respectful to Brian Deneke and his family. I'm sure they had the best of intentions, I just feel the movie fell flat.
One thing I would have liked from this movie is character development. I didn't feel attached to any of the characters. Say what you will about Lords of Chaos (another film about music in which the protagonist dies), I did at least find the character of Euronymous to be someone I didn't mind following through the film. I had always heard the Brian was a pretty nice kid and pretty charismatic, but I just didn't get any of that here. The only thing I feel like I would know about Brian from this film is he had a green mohawk and liked to skateboard.
Another problem I had is the film seemed to lack focus. It wasn't sure if it wanted to be a courtroom drama, an exploration of punk in Amarillo, an exploration of events that lead to Deneke's death, a film that wanted to comment about the community of Amarillo, or a commentary about police. I've dealt with APD on numerous occasions. They're definitely assholes, but not to the extent as portrayed in the film. For example, I had gotten off stage in the middle of summer and walked outside the club to cool off. Two cops came over asking if we saw some dude because they forgot to give his license back. I said no, but they obviously didn't hear me and then accused me of being on drugs. They took me aside from everyone and gave me a sobriety test, which I passed. They STILL accused me of being on drugs. By the way, I was completely sober. This is just one of MANY incidents that happened to me with APD. They never put a gun in my girlfriend's mouth or got all creepy with her. I guess what I'm trying to say is the film just seemed unsure what it wanted.
A smaller issue I had is that the actor playing Brian seemed too old. Brian was 19 and the dude playing him is closer to 29. It's a small gripe but it did take me out of the experience. Also, I was not a fan of how the ending makes it out that Brian was the idea man behind Dynamite Museum, he wasn't. That was Stanley Marsh 3. I never knew ANYONE in Amarillo who went "the Brian Deneke signs," they were called "those weird Stanley Marsh signs."
On the subject of Stanley Marsh 3, this is a character I would have loved to see in the film, mainly because he was a pretty important character in Brian's life (big enough they have pictures of Brian with him in the end credits). He was also TOTALLY BONKERS. I recall my buddy telling me that he had a green chair that you were only allowed to sit in if you were wearing the green suit. An important character who is also just completely out there? Sounds like my idea of a good time.
Why was he left out of the film? Maybe the real life accusations against Stanley are why his character was cut. Oh yeah, that...um...Stanley allegedly liked young men. That could definitely be a reason as to why his character was cut.
I did like some of the cinematography, the continuous shot of the parking lot was pretty nice. I would have liked a different camera though. When I think punk, I think dirty and a RED is just too clean. Shooting on film like Joe Begos, could definitely make the film dirtier. Also, tell JJ Abrams to go home and take his lens flares with him.
I did like the jocks. They were a pretty accurate depiction what Amarillo jocks are like (just with less N-bombs, or maybe that was just MY high school). I also like how they call it Bomb City because of the nuclear warhead manufacturer there. I never heard it called that and thought it was pretty clever.
I wish the climax of the film ended at POHI. POHI is like the communal watering hole in Amarillo. Basically everyone would meet up there on a Friday night. A fight at POHI would definitely have made a better climax than a jock throwing one of the signs through the window and one of the punks getting the crap beaten out of him. Heck, it didn't even have to be POHI, it could have been Waffle House or something. Basically whichever diner establishment would be cool with these guys shooting their movie in.
Just as a side note, POHI is what my group of friends called IHOP.
Overall, it was meh. I would have probably rated it lower if I didn't know who Brian was. As I mentioned, the way he's portrayed in the film is rather bland. I wish he was more fleshed out. If he was, perhaps I would have enjoyed the experience more.
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