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Watched the movie We Are the Best some time back.

I’ve found myself viewing all movies at home in the context of Netflix’s rating system. I rated this movie with 3 stars. This doesn’t quite do the film justice. I’m very glad I watched this movie, and probably would not have if it were a 3-star-on-Netflix-film. For pure entertainment value, though, I can’t justify the fourth star.

The story follows a pair of young teens in Sweden, who found their own punk rock band out of spite. They write a song “Hate the Sport,” with which they ultimately manage to start a minor riot. All very successfully punk rock.

What I’d say the film is really about is Sweden in 1982, particularly the welfare state and the poor. We can see the poverty in which these girls live and the State’s directed methods to provide for the poor. In particular, the lack of appeal of youth centers to disaffected young.

It’s also an interesting picture of punk rock in 1982. Sweden was hardly the center of any music scene, but can be seen as a microcosm of that time. This was the era of the “fanzine” and DYI. It was the end of the late-70s punk era, where the bands had become “big names.” The portrayal of the hierarchy of local bands reminds me of my own (non-punk) band aspirations of the time.

It also got me thinking of one aspect of that adolescent dream of Rock ‘n’ Roll fame – coming up with your band’s name. It’s certainly easier than coming up with your bands sound, or lyrics, or all the other necessary pieces of a successful musical venture. Somehow it seemed that all it would take was just the right band name, and all else could fall into place.

So what were some of mind?

Magma Rose – was actually a real band for me. Some acquaintances put it together for the purposes of a high school talent show.

Sex with Sheila – This was my go-to band name for the college years. An awesome name with a punk-rock feel that was not (nor still is) as far as I know already taken.

Manifest Destiny – My favorite pick from high school. I really didn’t think of it as having racist overtones. I guess I thought of it as more of a historical thing. Really. This one got snapped up not too long after, possibly because of its racist overtones.

Honorable Mention, The Four Skins. Another band invented for a high school talent show, although with almost no connection to myself. The members (heh) of the quartet were all on the swim team  and water polo team with me, and were (unlike myself) very competitive. They had shaved their heads for swimming championships at the end of the season, and so endeavored to slip their name past the gatekeepers. While at the time we all felt they were had so cleverly succeeded, it is highly unlikely that the teachers weren’t simply amused by the plausible deniability of the risqué moniker.

And just because it was so funny, another water polo teammate slipped the license plate “GONAD” past the DMV censors. Drove around with it until a sheriff’s deputy pulled him over and didn’t buy the explanation that “this is just what the DMV gave me.”

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