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Boiling Point

New movie traces the history of hardcore punk.


In American Hardcore, a documentary about 1980s punk rock that opens today, an audience member grabs at Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins while he's onstage. Within seconds, Rollins and the fan are pummeling each other, as Rollins' bandmates provide the hundred-miles-a-minute soundtrack behind them. The scene pretty much sums up hardcore's testosterone-fueled appeal to suburban white males. "The music had such an incredible impact on my life," says Steven Blush, whose 2001 book of the same title inspired the movie. "It really changed my life. My whole ethical code came from that scene: Do things for yourself, and do things because they feel right, not for the money."

American Hardcore features new interviews with many of the scene's luminaries, including Rollins, Ian MacKaye, and others. It's also packed with plenty of vintage live clips of DIY bands like Bad Brains, Black Flag, and Minor Threat. "This was music that didn't sound like music," says director Paul Rachman, who, like Blush, is a longtime hardcore fan. "When I first heard it, it hit me in the stomach."
Fri., Nov. 10

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