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I have been wanting to see this film since I first heard about it. I grew up listening to a lot of punk rock, so I was very interested to see what the artists interviewed and followed in The Other F Word had to say about parenting.
The documentary finds several veteran punk rockers and asks them questions about the hardships of touring with their quasi-famous punk bands while trying to raise kids at the same time. At first the film is pretty depressing. It depicts the punkers as absent fathers who are out doing shows which they do not really have very much passion for anymore. One of them admits that they might as well be blowing up balloon animals, implying that they are nothing more than cheap entertainment bought and sold by the same types of corporations that some of them set out to rebel against.
In one part of the movie, Lars Frederiksen of Rancid, takes his kid to the playground and clears the whole place out. He jokes on screen about how all you need to do to get the park to yourself is bring your punker dad and a camera. I can relate a little bit, as my own tattoos and facial piercings seem to intimidate some other parents before they talk to me.
In another part, Fat Mike of NOFX talks about how he cannot stand the boring stories that come from the parents of his daughter’s schoolmates. I can imagine with all that he has been through, it is tough to live up to his standards. He has had a tough life and been through some pretty rank scenarios from what I gather of his public persona. Seeing what less dramatic people spend their time doing must be a real let down.
Later in the film, some of them talk about how their own parents did a pretty poor job of bringing them up. At least these punkers are providing for their families. The whole economy of it all is not very well for them. The millionaire rockstars are all set and small bands get to stop playing at some point, but the guys in the middle end up having to do a lot of touring just to make ends meet.
At the end, there is hope for Jim Lindberg of Pennywise. He quits the band to spend more time with his family leaving the rest of the band obviously a little ticked at his decision.
I am glad I watched it. It was a real eye opening look at the hapless geezers who used to be my childhood idols. Usually when NOFX comes anywhere near, I am eager to get a ticket to the show. Now that I have seen how enthusiastic they are about their obligation to the fans, I am not sure I will want to go. I will probably pony up the 30 bucks or so anyway, because god forbid Fat Mike’s daughter might have to go to a less pristine school with even more boring schoolmate’s parents.
If you are interested, the film is still playing in a couple of theaters but is otherwise available exclusively through iTunes.