The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Destroy All Movies

Written by: Andrea Janov, CC2K Music Editor

ImageThere has always been a desire to see movies with punk kids; maybe we wanted people to finally see our lifestyle; maybe it was our way of connecting to the larger community and not feeling so isolated in our tiny scene in our tiny town; or maybe it was an  to understand the history that came before us. Whatever it was, we would trade names and critiques and pass VHS tapes between us all, always hungry for more.

With this project that became, Destroy All Movies!!!, I can only infer a similar mindset. Destroy All Movies!!! is a 528 page tome of every movie that has ever caught a glimpse of a kid with a mohawk(which up to 1999 is over 1,000 movies). Organized alphabetically this book plods through movie after movie giving a short summary of the plot of each film with an ever so brief mention of the punk element.


After  the whole the book, it seems that the reader would have benefited more from a different organization, maybe have category separation instead of alphabetical. Categories such as “about punk”, “featuring a punk character”, “documentary”, “someone in the background has a mohawk” would create a clearer organization and indicate the significance each movie has to the punk culture. There are movies that I am still unclear why they are included, such as “Mallrats, whose summary contains, “A man in a red mohawk walks by in the background while Jeremy Lunden and Jason Lee talk about whether they’re going to stay for a game-show taping.” or Big, whose summary mentions Billy Idol [post-Gen X] being on television in a scene. These establish very loose rules  only relying on a specific superficial aspect of one punk subculture.


Another slightly distracting element was that each summary is very opinion heavy. Though I may have agreed with most of the opinions about the movies or the bands featured, I didn’t feel this was the intent of this book. It felt as if the authors didn’t want their readers to get the wrong idea about their taste in movies, instead of sticking to  a catalog of punks on film.


There is special attention given to classic “punk” movies such as Suburbia, Decline of Western Civilization, and Another State of Mind (among a few others). These movies go beyond the usual paragraph >synopsis and include page long write ups, summaries, and discussions, and interviews with various people who were associated with the films (such as producers, directors, band members, and actors). It is in these pages where the value of this book lies. 


Interviews with Ian MacKay, Shawn Stern, Penelope Spheeris, Keith Morris, Lee Ving, P.J. Soles, Richard Hell, and even Andrew Pece (who played Ethan the little kid in Suburbia) let the reader really delve into these movies that were hard enough to get out hands on in our small towns let alone, get insight into why it was made or how the actors (or punks) felt about making the movie. 


Destroy All Movies!!!is an extensive list of movies, amongst that giant list there are pages of exclusive insight into the culture that made these films and the kids who were moved by them. It is another piece of history for us punks who are in the midst of adulthood and are  striving for a proper documentation and representation of our world. At $35 this graphic heavy tome is a steal. Go check it out at Fantagraphic books.


Author: Andrea Janov, CC2K Music Editor

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