Hard Core Logo – 1996 – Writer: Noel S Baker (based on book by Micheal Turner) – Director: Bruce McDonald
I heard about this movie many times in the past couple years, and finally it came in the mail through my Zip.ca account this month. Wikipedia had a quote that said this is one of the top 5 Canadian films ever made, and now I understand why. It’s gritty, it’s realistic, it’s punk, it’s very Canadian, and it’s powerful.
I’ve only seen a handful of mockumentaries, but each and every one that I have seen blows me away. I just can’t seem to wrap my head around the concept. I mean, Hollywood movies are scripted, storyboarded, and shot to perfection. Documentaries are created from mass amounts of footage being compiled and edited into a story. But mockumentaries?? They create an authentic world like any documentary would actually portray, but they tell a fictional story. For me, the effect is spectacular, and this movie hits the nail on the head.
This style of narration can hardly be narrative driven, since documentaries are usually a very passive medium of storytelling. Instead we follow the band on their tour around western Canada. Somehow around the messy array of concert footage, scattered interviews, and snippets of scenes, Hard Core Logo draws a very complete and polished picture of what this band is, and who each of the members are in detail. In the post-interview scene of the Calgary show, we have a dialogue between Billy and a young journalist. Joe intrudes on the conversation and eventually scares off the journalist. This series of events happens almost exclusively through the scripted lines, but really helps establish who these people are (Joe and Billy) by giving us a real life example of how they interact with the outside world (the journalist) as well as themselves.
Another scene that establishes strong character is when the bass player Johnny loses his prescription bottle full of schizophrenia medication. He’s searching around the hotel room for them, dumping bags everywhere, and outside, Billy throws something into the distance. There is so much that happens narratively in this scene, and yet the only words are a brief conversation between Johnny and the cameraman about what he is looking for. I don’t think it was even revealed that Johnny was schizophrenic at this point, but his actions and desperation for the pills is enough for us to get a clue.
In terms of endings, I think this movie had the strongest one of all 6 of my movie reviews. I won’t give it away just in case some of you reading this havent seen the movie (although I’m sure I’ve given away a ton of spoilers already), but basically the ending is a perfect example of the strength mockumentaries have over both purely fictional hollywood-style films, and documentary films. The world it creates is so real, yet the events that happen are as rich and unexpected as any fictional piece of writing. Honestly, I don’t know why there aren’t more mockumentaries like this out there. Next on my list: Spinal Tap.