Pirate Radio - the movie

I hardly ever see a movie in its opening weekend but I needed something light to balance the horrifying depression that comes from watching The Hurt Locker. That it’s a good movie is irrelevant to watching so many lives destroyed on-screen.

No lives are harmed in the making of Pirate Radio. It’s a frothy trifle reminding those old enough that a moment existed when pop music and pop radio were the most important things in teenage lives. That the music was so insanely great and catchy and upbeat that it triggered and spread happiness like an audio virus was a gift that’s never been repeated.

Somewhere underneath the musical soundtrack is a movie. Richard Curtis tried to replicate Love, Actually, the greatest of all modern romantic comedies, with lots of love but no relationships. That knocks all the dramatic stuffings out of the plot until nothing is left but a series of bits featuring a cast of about a million, all of whom are wonderful in underwritten roles. Kenneth Branagh shines plays the stuffy British minister devoted to shutting down the pirate radio stations and clearly had as much fun as the rest of cast put together chewing the scenery with evil inflections. Bill Nighy plays a sober version of his rock n roll charmer from Love, Actually. Bunches of UK actor types Americans have seen here and there show why they are much better known in the home country. Nearly unrecognizable January Jones and Emma Thompson have cameo roles. Women are almost invisible in this boy’s club, but their casual cruelty is knowing while the boys are cruel simply because they can’t think past their skins.

The movie is delightful (even when the comedy bits don’t work) all the up until the dreadful ending (see spoiler). And of course the soundtrack is addictive. Has been addictive for 40 years and will continue to be so. I’m sorry all you young’uns got the short end of the musical stick and can never know what top 40 radio could be like. If you were there, you have to see this movie. I’m sure few will get to it in the 30 seconds it’ll play in theaters but it’ll be better on a DVD with lots of extras and you’ll see the 30 minutes that were cut from the British version.

The ship that is broadcasting the pirate station sinks. The evil minister refuses to send official help. But every private ship in Britain, filled with panting fans, manages to show up in the middle of the North Sea on a perfect sunny day simultaneously - rowboats get there at the same time as power boats - to save the djs. Apparently they let every member of the crew drown since not one of them is shown emerging or getting saved. WTF?

I’ve seen the British version “The Boat that Rocked” and loved it.

I saw this tonight, knowing nothing about it beyond what was in the trailer. It was a pretty good ride, but fairly incoherent. It felt like it had been attacked by a group of rabid weasels posing as editors. So of course, when I got home, I looked it up on Wikipedia and found that that’s pretty much what happened:

It was fun, but there were a lot of “WTF?” moments:

What was the back story with Gavin? Why did he leave? Why was he enough to get the sponsors back? Was the minister’s daughter supposed to have some sort of connection with Twatt over the Christmas dinner? Maybe they could work together to sabotage the minister’s plans… well, never mind, guess that’s not going anywhere. And, oh yeah, don’t you need a crew to run a boat like that? Oh, there they are! Oh, wait, they’re dead. but the DJs are okay! Yay! Like I said, edited by rabid weasels.

I agree with the criticisms above - it was trite and predictable in parts and too disjointed overall - but I still loved it. The “chicken” scene between the Count and Gavin and Dr. Dave’s poo story were highlights for me.

I look forward to seeing the complete version on DVD once it’s available.

I think the way the film is being marketed in the US is hilarious. The voice-over narration says something like, “In the 1960s the British government banned rock music from the radio, until an American DJ and a band of misfits took their protest to the streets.” Cue shot of the main characters walking down the road, when one walks right into a light pole.

This is so misleading. First, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character is an important one, but hardly the lead, and much of the film takes places on a boat. (Hence the pun in the British title.)

Anyhow, I was looking forward to this, and already saw the British version. Does anyone know if the Region 1 DVD is going to be the edited American version, or the longer British one?

I am confused. I saw this movie about 6 months ago. I remember seeing it advertised before then. It was the one you are all talking about, with Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and the whole chicken scene. Was it released and earlier, did ok and re-released into theaters?

This is the Richard Curtis film that was released in the UK as “The Boat That Rocked”. It was recut for the US market and is being released now as “Pirate Radio” in the US.

I saw it this weekend (at an “artsy” cinema) and liked it. I’m just slightly too young to have enjoyed the music when it was “Top 40,” but I listen to a lot of “oldies” and really enjoyed the soundtrack. As long as you’re not looking for a serious story, and just want a fun romp it’s a BLAST.

I think the reason it’s marketed with Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the “star” is to attract mainstream Americans who would otherwise overlook a film with a chiefly British cast.

Misleading in part because the aforementioned light pole scene wasn’t in the version I saw. Can anyone confirm whether it was in the version shown in the UK and not just one of those scenes added exclusively to the trailer?