Documentary Movie Review: 1991: The Year Punk Broke (1992) #atozchallenge

Welcome to Panorama of the Mountains! My name is Liam and I enjoy watching documentary movies.  This month I will be reviewing 26 documentaries from A-to-Z!

I guess I’m fudging things again by using a letter from the subtitle for Y but I really wanted to watch this one and there weren’t many good options for Y.  You could just say I’m being punk rock!

Documentaries starting with the letter Documentaries starting with the letter Y that I have previously reviewed include: 

Title: 1991: The Year Punk Broke
Release Date:  24 December 1992
Director: Dave Markey
Production Company: We Got Power Productions | Sonic Life

This concert/tour film follows Sonic Youth along with Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr., Babes in Toyland, Gumball and The Ramones as they tour festivals in Ireland, England, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands in the end of August of 1991.  This occured as the same time as the hard line coup against Gorbachev in the U.S.S.R and more personally right when I started my first year in college.  While I was never a big fan of Sonic Youth (nor did I dislike them), they were at the vanguard of what was called “college rock” at the time and soon would be “alternative rock,” so this film is a time capsule of an exciting period in my life.

There’s a homemade feel to the documentary that seems appropriate to an ethos that was against “selling out.” The concert footage is quite good and I like the disorienting effect of editing together performances of the same songs from different shows.  The montages of the artists and their colleagues goofing off around Europe are also entertaining.  There is however an element of cringe to how people behave that reminds me how stupid we were back then.  Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth is particularly insufferable.  On the other hand, while Sonic Youth may seem to  represent the voice of my generation, while researching this movie I learned that mindblowing fact that the members of the band were born in the 1950s.  They’re all Baby Boomers who are closer in age to my parents than they are to me! I guess they’re literally Sonic Youthful!

Rating: ***1/2

3 thoughts on “Documentary Movie Review: 1991: The Year Punk Broke (1992) #atozchallenge

  1. Living in Seattle, I was at the heart of the ‘Grunge’ movement. I’m a little older so was out of college but I saw bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden in tiny – rather suffocating – rooms and around town hanging out or eating Thai food (actually Thai was Screaming Trees :) ). The Ramones are one of my favorite concert memories. I was in college then and my friends took up a collection in the cafeteria to send me to the ‘Too Tough to Die’ tour at The Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver. So loud!! And So fun!! Thanks for bringing back such great memories. I get the why of bending the ‘Y’.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I had the crazy fun of being in Vancouver, BC in college for the New Wave/Indie Punk boom in the early ’80’s and Seattle for Grunge in the early ’90s. Then I took a left and got really into Reggae music all on my own. There was a pretty good scene for that here in Seattle area too. You might say my taste is eclectic.

        Liked by 1 person

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