Skip to Navigation Skip to Content

Ian Curtis Is Dead and Still Out of <i>Control</i>

Control
courtesy of Momentum Pictures

Notes from the body cast…


Greetings and salutations* film nerds and nerdettes … Guess who’s knocking at your computer door? It’s your boy, Poppa H, back from his Southwestern Sojourn and in the 7x7 virtual hizzy with nary a scratch on his expertly quaffed punk rock mugadelic. As for the rest of my lithe frame? … um, ten words: Evel Knievel Body Cast with a Custom Removable Codpiece. No shits … Oh, the escape from Mexico wasn’t pretty, (there were casualties) but at least now I know how many school buses I can Steve McQueen over on a stolen Yamaha 750 … almost four.

Control
courtesy of Momentum Pictures

Hoodie Rockers of the World … Unite and Take Over


But enough about the king, let’s talk about you.*  Today’s post is for all you suffering web browsers out there who are in real (body cast) pain, existential (Morrissey-like) pain–or like me, experiencing a horrific blend of both. Don’t you know good cinema can cure what ails you–or at least some of you? Say you’re a hoodie rockin', Urban Outfitter-loving, Gen Y-Po-Mo-Punk-Rockstress with a Karen O haircut who’s out every night at the show because you can’t get enough punktronica from “all the ragers” like Interpol, Daft Punk, LCD Soundsystem or She Wants Revenge. 

In the throws of your chronic sleep deprivation, ever wonder where this whole club culture began? No? Well you’re gonna know, so put down the Red Bull and stop sucking on that pacifier … I said stop sucking! First, let’s get this straight; I’m not reviewing the new Daft Punk movie (Electroma), that would be too easy. No, I’m talking old school young-uns so don’t lip me now, poppa gets enough of that at home. This is today’s punktronica history lesson 101 so pull out those earbuds and listen up.

Control
courtesy of Momentum Pictures

The Joy and Pain Division


If you wanna be an OG Punktronica Rebel for Halloween, then get your Spundae lovin’ ass on down to the Lumiere Theatre the week of October 26th to experience the “doom laden” joy and pain behind Joy Division–the OG’ist punktronica band of them all. MRF thinks you’ll discover a filmic gem called Control that tells the real story behind the immortality of Ian Curtis, the suicidal lead singer of the band that inspired a young MRF to maudlin rebellion in a state (Texas) where the Oak Ridge Boys were considered cutting edge …

Who the hell is Joy Division?? Don’t make me come off this page and slap you in front of your baby’s momma. You’ve heard of New Order, yes? So now you’re on the trolley.* Joy Division was New Order’s big bad beginning, their only two albums (Unknown Pleasures (1979) and Closer (1980) remain timeless fixtures in the pantheon of pop culture cool. The band’s legend is due to Curtis hanging himself (literally on the brink of stardom) the eve before the band’s first American tour in 1980. Total punk rock move … I’m so into it.

Now, if you think I’m dabbling in myth-making hyperbole, take a listen to how Joy Division continues to influence bands like Interpol right here, then talk to Joy Division’s drummer (Stephen Morris), as drummers never lie, “There's a myth about it, live fast, die young, leave a good looking corpse and all that … There's not many groups who do it but we thought it was a good gimmick, (though) I'm very surprised Ian went along with it …”

Control
courtesy of Momentum Pictures

Control


As for the movie, which one of you hoodie rockers can’t relate to a Hamlet-like teen protagonist who spends most of his time on pharmaceuticals and in the fetal position? Meet Ian Curtis, a lad who hangs in his bedroom pondering his existential fate with headphones full of Bowie. Other than cartons of chokes and his best friend’s girlfriend (Samantha Morton), he shuns family, school and obligation for his collection of music and folders of poems and lyrics.

When Ian and his future band mates find themselves attending the same landmark Sex Pistols show, shazam! The counterculture inspiration to start a Joy Division is born ... Now that you’re on the d-low, know Control belongs to young Sam Riley, who gives a brilliant Pete Doherty-meets-epileptic David Byrne performance that’s a gripping mosaic of the real Ian Curtis. Riley also captures the front man’s whirling-dervish dance moves to spasmodic perfection.

So if you dug on 24 Hour Party People, the 2002 biopic of Manchester music entrepreneur Tony Wilson, you’re gonna dig you some Control. And if you have no idea who any of these people are–even better! Go see Control and rent 24 Hour Party People then call me when you come down from your MDMA trip and get all the glitter out of your hair. Until next week, be bad, keep rocking planet Earth and get into trouble baby* -- MRF

Happenings Round Town
•    Lust, Caution (2007) Dir. Lee – Embarcadero
•    The Darjeeling Limited (2007) Dir. Anderson – Embarcadero
•    The King of California (2007) Dir. Cahill – Embarcadero
•    Control (2007) Dir. Corbijn – Lumiere (week of 10/26)
•    The Future is Unwritten: Joe Strummer (2007) Dir. Temple – Lumiere (week of 11/9)

Bergman Film Festival (Castro Theater)
•    10/16 – The Passion of Anna and Shame
•    10/17 – The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries

Tortured Artists DVD Picks to Click
•    24 Hour Party People (2002) Dir. Winterbottom – A Steve Coogan tour-de-force about Tony Wilson, the crazed ringleader of the Manchester post-punk music scene. Somewhat fictionalized but pure, riotous fun.
•    Amadeus (1984) Dir. Forman – Like Control, Amadeus dissects the conflicted life of a young artist confronted with meeting expectations of his public while pursuing the pleasures of his private life. Like Curtis, Mozart is portrayed as a renegade whose body fails him and his art.
•    Last Days (2005) Dir. Van Sant – Beautifully filmed, fairly surreal biopic on the last days of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain as he buckles under the weight of fame, addiction and Courtney Love’s fat ass.

Volume 35 Footnotes
•    “Greetings and salutations.” – Heathers (1991): Christian Slater doing his best Nicholson impersonation to a monacle-lovin’ Winona Ryder
•     “Enough about the king, let’s talk about you.” – True Romance (1993): Elvis loving Christian Slater marble mouths his way into Patty Arquette’s (as Alabama Worley’s) leopard-print hot pants.
•     “Now you’re on the trolley,” – The Simpsons (1999):  Carneys slang it up to the pigeon Homer’s dismay.
•     “Let’s get into trouble baby.” – Tapeheads (1988): Soul Train host Don Cornelius (as Hollywood Producer Mo Fuzz) to upstart filmmakers Tim Robbins and John Cusack.