Hard Core Logo (1996) dir. Bruce McDonald
Starring: Hugh Dillon, Callum Keith Rennie
One of Canada’s best films, “Hard Core Logo,” is also one of the quintessential rock films. Set up as a mockumentary, the film could easily have played as a straight drama and been just as compelling.
Hard Core Logo is the name of a fictional punk band from the early 80’s – contemporaries of the Ramones (in fact, Joey Ramone even makes an appearance). They are aged and past their prime, but Joe Dick (Hugh Dillon) the lead singer and self-proclaimed band leader reunites the band together for a reunion tour.
The introduction to the band and its members are typical in-your-face hardcore punk style. They all have great punk monikers like Joe Dick, Billy Tallent (Callum Keith Rennie), John Oxenburger (John Pyper-Ferguson) and Pipefitter (Bernie Coulson). NOTE: The real band “Billy Talent” took their name from this film, and removed an “L”. It’s the shear willpower of their charismatic leader that brings them back together. The oil and water of the band are Joe and Billy. Billy has an offer from a bigger band named Jenifur to play with them after the tour. Each personality is as strong as the other, as Joe explains, “Billy wants models and limos, I’ll settle for hookers and cabs”. Its great line and sums up the two characters perfectly.
On the road, as we expect, we’re exposed to a host of crazy tour-bus punk antics. There’s no covering the Canadianness here, the band travels across the Rockies and Prairies – Vancouver to Edmonton to Regina and Winnipeg. It’s a bumpy ride. After some groupies steal the band’s money, Dick takes the blame and the downfall starts. Dick and the band eventually meet their idol Bucky Haight (a very good Julian Ritchings) who turns out to be a precious asshole. Billy continues to be a thorn in Joe’s side (ie. like the Mick Jones/Joe Strummer battles) as his threats to leave the band for Jenifur continue. Billy has more going for him than Joe. Joe’s life is the band, and the band is not a band without Billy. The math is easy - Joe’s situation is dire and it depresses him. In their final concert, Billy and Joe have a physical fight on stage, which breaks up the band permanently.
At the final moments in the film, we’re put into Joe’s shoes and we’re allowed to see his pain and utter dejection at the state of his life. He’s like a wounded bird, unable to fly, heartbroken and crippled without Billy. The final shot is a shocker – but wouldn’t it be hardcore with a happy ending, would it? Enjoy.
Buy it here: Hard Core Logo