This DVD should serve posterity extremely well, if in no other capacity, as a handbook of the sins of post production. While the footage itself is rather keenly shot on cameras that are surprisingly dynamic and clear for the genre (hardcore music live footage), the film is edited together in such a way that it is an absolute test of one’s viewership serenity – lest one feel compelled to javelin a remote control through the cheap graphics and poor man’s compositing.
One need look no further than the title menu to be overwhelmed with hostility towards the post-production team. Here we see a pathetically low resolution, bastardized image of Rosie the Riveter redone as a “hardcore girl”. Poor taste as this art adaptation is, it pales in comparison to the oversight exerted when the menu selections were allowed to be named “Shall We Dance” (the play all option) “Choose Your Partner” (get it?—the chapter selection) and “The Last Waltz” (other features). Such cheeky nomenclature would be marginally stomach-able if it had anything whatsoever to do with the content rather than just “sounding real cool”.
This brings the review to film itself. Rather than feign humor and pithily dismiss the various instances of post-production peccadillo (does anyone need anymore sass from me?) I’ll just list them: picture-in-picture during live performance, picture-in-picture with hot pink drop shadows, division of the screen into upwards of five frames reducing the size of each to miniature, compulsive crash zooming, a hyperkinetic editing cadence that is nowhere near to being on the beat, surrender of the camera to asinine interviewees, awkward titles such as “crowd surf cam” . . . the list could continue ad nauseum. Furthermore, at one point the crew goes on set of a music video being filmed for Thumbscrew. This video is then displayed…and the performers are overlaid on each other with the edge glow filter…and there are shots of a solarized rose. Such is the emblem for the film as a whole: cut-rate visual effects splashed on stupid symbols.
I wish I could say that the DVD is salvaged by the capturing of live shows which absolutely improve the quality of life for the fan who owns their record. Alas this is not the case, not because the bands do not give their all (which they do), but because of the hollow bombast with which they do so and the relative homogeneity of the performances. A lesson in the genre: there are hardcore bands who wear studded belts and those that do not. This DVD features almost exclusively those of the former. Accompanying said belt is a consistent parade of jet black straightened hair, stage acrobatics, and histrionic self-apotheosization through outstretched arms and skyward gazing. While all of this can be interesting, after 10 bands with exact same maneuvers it all starts to feel scripted. Again, the DVD finds itself caught up in an emulation of an image rather than like-minded individuals expressing themselves in similar ways.
The DVD’s interviews do present the bands as much more down to earth than these stage antics would suggest. Most of the performers are somewhat self-deprecating, alluding often to their awkwardness or poor hygiene. The questions posed to the bands are often laughably slip-shod “What do you think of this album”—this and “What did you do for fun”—that. I suspect the performers themselves feel that the interviewer’s script is a flaccid one as they often laugh at his sophomoric “scene” posturing. However, these flimsy interrogatives do allow the bands to riff and talk about basically what they want. This exposes the truth that hardcore bands are less focused on looking sweet and ideology than they would like to let on by their jet black, pin-straight hair and raising their fists in the air drug free. The banner under which these individuals actually seem to gather is that of having fun as suggested by the consistent display of slapstick, inside jokes, and laughing put forth by the several bands featured. If for nothing else, this DVD serves as an acute reality check for the “scene”.
Is This Ain’t Your Mom’s Hardcore a seminal survey into the world of hardcore? No. Does this DVD chronicle any memorable performance? No. Does the title or just any about aspect of the atrocious post-production make any sense? Again, no. However, This Ain’t Your Mom’s Hardcore is a nice reminder that this music should be fun and is a direct result of bands having fun. The target audience of this film should really be adolescents with an invariable scowl beneath their eye-obscuring, black-dyed, ironed hair who believe this scene takes itself terribly seriously. On this level the film succeeds.