Pump Up The Volume

With a certain amount of wishful thinking, Allan Moyle’s Pump Up The Volume may be seen as something of a call to arms. The film bravely takes on the 1960s, setting the film at Hubert Humphrey High School (where Mark, played by Slater, attends), revisiting the anarchy, momentum, and freedom of that time, all within a deceptively quaint teen film framework. Pump Up The Volume is angsty as fuck, using Lenny Bruce and Leonard Cohen as its spiritual godfathers, and it is set in the late ’80s and early ’90s, in high middle class Arizona, fresh off a Reaganized veneer on societal woes. There’s not much to look at visually, but it’s difficult to not find its shoot for the stars, smash the state sentiment moving. Whether the film has any lasting impact is another matter: lots of bad hair, Diet Coke, and really, really trite scenes of co-opting hip hop. Its message is fresh as ever, though the power of radio is now in satellites and on the web. Regardless, it’s good fun. When was the last time Hollywood was brave enough to make something this adult?


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