Hard Core Logo [1996]

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Music
Hard Core Logo is often compared to This Is Spinal Tap--and for marketing purposes, that makes sense: both are pretend documentaries about rock bands (a self-important heavy metal crew in Spinal Tap, a self-destructing punk mob in Hard Core Logo). But though Hard Core Logo can be cuttingly funny, it's not really a comedy; it's a piercing examination of friendship and betrayal, success and self-hatred, and everything that fueled punk rock. Lead singer Joe Dick (Hugh Dillon) uses false pretenses to convince guitarist Billy Tallent (Callum Keith Rennie) to reform Hard Core Logo for a reunion tour across Canada, followed by a film crew (featuring director Bruce McDonald, whose other films include Roadkill and Highway 61, as himself). Tallent agrees, but only because he expects to be joining a much more successful rock group very shortly and sees this as a favor to Dick. As they travel from town to town, their relationship unravels, as does the psyche of bass player John Oxenberger (John Pyper-Ferguson). The performances are astonishingly genuine; even the oafish drummer Pipefitter (Bernie Coulson) becomes three-dimensional. By the end, you'll believe in them so much as people that the band's disintegration is truly wrenching. A remarkable film, both comic and sad. --Bret Fetzer

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