'The Other F Word' is one of the best documentaries I have viewed in some time. Punk Rock and Parenting are in my top 10 of discussion topics so the only way this thing could improve itself itself the subject matter were to also touch on food, AFL, the supremacy of dogs, coffee, modern masculine identity in a post-feminist culture, God, the art of comedy and tips for enhanced tomato growing.
The premise of the film is thus "What happens when a generation's ultimate anti-authoritarians -- punk rockers-- become society's ultimate authorities -- Dad's?" I wont tell you exactly. That would be the films job, but I did enjoy it...did I mention that yet?
It made its debut at SXSW last year was well received. What I thought would be a funny insight into the challenges of parenting, was actually a slightly deeper look at how ideals change over time,with the complexities of life. Sure you may have had to consider whether the Ford Capri was the best choice for a family car, but as you're "that type of Guy", you'll be damned if the guys at the badminton facility see you turning up to Saturday's tournament in some sports wagon. You have a lifestyle to maintain! The decision was made in the 1990's and you will see it through! It is timeless, just like those suede boat shoes you wear. Your child will understand your ways, surely. Daddy is just a bit different. He's a Badminton-er and that is the way it will always be! Well, this film is talking about that. Except rather than agonising over whether the car fits in with the shuttle cock set, it's reflections on should Dad have got a face tatt, and similar dilemmas.
We follow Jim from Pennywise, a band that has been fueling the 'gnarly, shrelking sessions' of skaters/sufers/snowboarders/and other s-something-board-somtheing-ers from Jan Juc to San Dieago for nearly 20 punkin' years. Their's is a frenetic, tight, distorted sound fulled by semi-sociopolitico-up-yours! angst. 17 year old me loved it! We find Jim in an interesting place. The band is 20 years old, whilst most punks shouldn't live this long, making them somewhat of a specimen. Not quite the Mick Jagger of Pop Punk, Jimbo is a hair dying, hard touring family man trying to pay the bills. The wrong side of 40 sees him and his Pennywise bandmates hanging on to what was- or never will be.
The movie explores the role fatherhood has in changing the world views of some of the most uniquely minded citizens of society. It is an insightful, challenging and at times sad discussion of Dad-ing from such figures as Mark Hoppus (Blink182) Flea (Red Hot Chilli Peppers) Tony Hawk (Skateboard stuff) and Fat Mike (NOFX). It highlights the struggle to maintain pre-child identity, but also the need to let go of past lifestyles. Children can be a great thing if you let them, but then so can hanging over the pit at 11.43 at night, swearing like a sailor while your friends strangle their instruments. The moral of this story is; if your partner/wife/girlfriend wants to start a Punk band, you'd better adopt out the kids....and vice versa.
See it if you're thinking of selling out to Parenthood.