Rock ‘n’ Roll Movie Review: Blank Generation

Since I already reviewed Richard Hell’s “I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp,” my friend Susie and I formed a mini-book club dedicated to the subject. So we got together last night, drank tequila mixed with tangerine juice, and gossiped about everywhere Richard and his Little Richard has been, and Susie had a brilliant idea — let’s see if the movie “Blank Generation” is streaming!

Sure enough, it streaming on Amazon, so we started watching, even though Hell talks shit about the movie in his book. He writes that the movie all looked good on paper — the director, Ulli Lommel, had ties to Fassbinder, and the leading lady was the French bombshell Carole Bouquet. And the Voidoids would perform in it! What would go wrong?

Actually, a lot could go wrong. “Blank Generation” is just a fantasy of how navel-gazing filmmakers think rock musicians and journalists should act. Oh, and the journalist (played by Bouquet) is named “Nada,” which is perhaps the most pretentious name I’ve ever heard, and I have a fairly high level for pretension after living in close proximity to Hollywood types for years.

Here’s the breakdown:

Main Plot: Richard Hell sings in a studio and doesn’t like being a rock star. My friend and I agreed that he looks hot, though. Nada films Richard Hell (probably the most wobbly, lazy depiction of camera use ever) and fights with him about going to the beach, which may be a pretense to steal his car. Bouquet’s German boyfriend, played by the director, shows up. He has a five-head. Nada sleeps with him anyway. She decides to go back to Europe with the five-head, but only because Hell drives off from the airport before she can get in his car.

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B-Plots: Nada interviews a football player, which seems to be a misguided commentary on American culture. Some dude hogs the phone at a party. Andy Warhol shows up, looking fierce but doing very little.

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Music: This is what really matters, right? We should have fast-forwarded to the music scenes because the Voidoids are fantastic. Everyone in the band managed to show up, and they sound superb. We both wondered what would have happened if the Voidoids had the chance to make some more records.

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So, do not waste your time with “Blank Generation.” Buy the record, or watch this clip from the film, and you’ll get your Voidoid fix.

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