On Thursday, April 19th at 730pm, in UCSB’s Isla Vista Theater 2, KCSB will screen two works: Allan Moyle’s cult pirate-radio film, Pump Up the Volume (1990), plus the recently-released local short The Last Broadcast, directed by KCSB alumnus Jason Hallows.
Pump Up the Volume (Allan Moyle, 1990, USA: 105 minutes)
In Pump Up the Volume, Christian Slater plays Mark, an intelligent but shy teenager in suburban Arizona who secretly sets up shop as a provocative pirate-radio host (a cementing of Slater’s trademark Jack Nicholsonesque-delivery). Inspired by Lenny Bruce’s infamous book, How to Talk Dirty and Influence People, Mark’s illegal and illicit broadcasts as “DJ Happy Harry Hard-On” blend defiant, frank, and even indecent monologues with an eclectic mix of punk, grunge, hip hop, and alternative-rock music. He eventually becomes a hero to his high-school peers while inciting the wrath of local officials.
Songs in the film are performed by The Descendents, Soundgarden, Leonard Cohen, Cowboy Junkies, Sonic Youth, Beastie Boys, and many more, the soundtrack album proving to be even more popular than the feature was during its initial release.
Brushing up against a number of the cliches of youth-rebellion movies, Pump Up the Volume nevertheless transcends moments of teen-angst corniness to hold up over twenty years later as a funny and entertaining “guilty pleasure” (filmcritic.com) and arguably one of the “best high school movies ever” (USA Today). Samantha Mathis plays Mark’s gothy love interest, Nora.
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This latest edition of “Popped Culture” will kick off with the local short The Last Broadcast, an official entry in the 2012 Santa Barbara International Film Festival that depicts a radio DJ who at first confronts the loss of his girlfriend, but next impending global apocalypse. Created by two KCSB alumni, director Jason Hallows and cinematographer Aron Ives, the Transitory Zenith production eerily defamiliarizes a studio setting familiar to KCSB programmers and radio stations much like it.
Join KCSB on Thursday, April 19th, IV Theater 2, for two radio-themed movies, a pre-screening live DJ set (host TBA), trivia, raffle tickets, and more. With screenings every other Thursday through May 31st, the entire “Popped Culture” calendar, can be accessed by clicking here.