Kim and I watched The Other F Word by Andrea Blaugrund Nevins last night. In fact, we both watched the trailer and rushed home and paid to watch it streaming instead of waiting for a copy to be available from the library.
I considered writing this as a review over at my personal blog, The Bleeding Tree, especially since Kim hasn't taken an opportunity to say anything here yet. but so little of what I want to say is really as much about reviewing it as much as discussing what I wanted from it and what I got. I suppose that could be a valid review, except it's as a non-conformist/patent that I'm specifically coming to this.
First of all, as a viewer, I enjoyed it a lot. Seeing Flea wax poetic about how fatherhood has improved his life. Art Alexakis of Everclear comparing his role as a father to his own fathers failings. Duane Peters of U.S. Bombs discussing the death of his son, Chess. These are great bits of human drama that are wonderful that Nevins was able to have captured, and I was even weepier than I would have been before becoming a father myself.
I think somewhere I wanted another movie out of it, and maybe that's another example of what I'm working to start here.
The movie focuses on Jim Lindberg of Pennywise, becaue his book Punk Rock Dad was the inspiration for the movie itself, but he's one of the most boring of the dad's frankly. Perhaps because his conflicts seem much less derived from being a punk rocker and much more from being the lead singer of a rock band of a specific spot on the success ladder.
I was much more interested in Fat Mike of NOFX and Lars Frederiksen of Rancid. They seemed like guys who were struggling with the real questions of what punk rock meant to them and how it affected their role as a parent in a deeper way than the concern over how their lyrics might sound to other members of the PTA.
I don't mean to sound dismissive of Lindberg. His struggle as the lead singer of a moderate size rock act and where he wants to go with his future in that and how it affects his ability to spend the quality time with his kids is obviously important to him and is actually a compelling story in itself.
On the other hand, everyone was a kid who thought the rules were unfair and for most of us, some form of music and the community and expression of that was how we moved from childhood petulance to forming our own new adult opinions. For those of us who developed complex views that reinforce the beliefs we had as children that the rules were for crap and the ways they were enforced were even worse, we come to a crossroads with being a parent.
It's fucking easy to say "You did a shit job!"
It's much harder to figure out how to do a good job, or at least a better job.
I'm interested in how they, and others, deal with that. Obviously raising a dick is not kind of solution, and that's what the in-laws and whatever other outside messengers are constantly reinforcing will happen if you don't repeat the same lessons as everyone that came before... the systems that thankfully managed to, of course, raise only saints, so why would we ever attempt to do better, right?
What does that involve?
How do you raise a kid to be the best, happiest most fulfilled version possible of themselves? How do you avoid the mistakes of the past? And how were the mistakes of the past defined by the needs of the past? How many of those needs are now obsolete?
There's a lot of questions for those of us who want to fight our way into the world of the future. Maybe the future is here and we need to decide what we really want made of it and our children are our opportunity.
Suffice it to say, that's a subject that I have a lot more to say about in upcoming posts.
For now, I'll just say I wish Nevins had found more of it for the movie. I think that's what the trailer more or less promises, which suggests that it was what seemed the most interesting hook.
She wrote an article, What Punk Taught Me as a Parent, that I feel like says more about those most basic questions than the movie does. Perhaps there's a sequel in there somewhere. Hell, maybe it's sitting right in the outtakes. What do I know?