I know little about punk rock as a genre or social movement, but that made documentary “The Other F Word” that much more compelling.
It follows some of punk rock’s front-men — Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jim Lindberg of Pennywise and much more — and documents the growing pains from very public nihilism to fatherhood.
“Punk rock was supposed to be about no responsibility, no rules,” says Lindberg. “How did we go from rebelling against our own parents to becoming parents ourselves?” And that’s the heart of this documentary.
Filmmaker Andrea Blaugrund Nevins presents the origin of punk, and rockers Art Alexakis (Everclear) and Jack Grisham (T.S.O.L) say what drew them in was their own disjointed relationships with their fathers.
Nevins juxtaposes footage of rockers in mosh pits with them as adults, pushing their children on swing sets. She even touches on the question, how do other parents react to punk rocker dads.
My favorite answer was from Lars Frederiksen of Rancid. After questioning whether he should’ve had his forehead tattooed, he says “Hopefully, I can instill in my son that you respect people on merit, not on the way they look.”
I loved seeing aging rockers Lindberg and Tony Adolescent of The Adolescents get into character for their fans. One’s sucking on an inhaler, the other’s dyeing his hair and covering a receding hairline with a baseball hat. Fat Mike, from NOFX, says he drinks everyday while on tour to help him play the part.
“The Other F Word” also looks at the philosophical crises these punk revolutionaries face with the changes in the music industry, maintaining an artistic integrity and providing for their kids. While this film doesn’t offer an answer, it does shed light on the choices they’ve made, which is family comes first.
It was funny and intriguing throughout, save for a couple of minor hang-ups.
The big reveal is way obvious — even if you don’t follow music news. (No spoilers.) And viewers are introduced to former Black Flag frontman Ron Reyes and his kids while they’re buying his album at a record store (eesh).
Those criticisms aside, “The Other F Word” shows such inspiring and insightful perspectives from punk fathers that I teared up more than once. It’s a hopeful look at how men from rough backgrounds aren’t exempt from the changes that come with parenthood — and also how those backgrounds can provide more motivation to be a good father.
It’s worth a watch.
IndieWatch is a weekly review of independent film and documentaries.
“The Other F Word” (2011)
Starring: Tony Adolescent, Jim Lindberg, Flea, Tony Hawk.
Writer/Director: Andrea Blaugrund Nevins.
Available: Amazon Prime, Netflix Instant.