This movie was so important to me at the time it came out that it was the basis of an entire relationship with my friend Hannah (we're still BFFs). It was also the first time I heard Black Flag, so it has a lot to answer for.
Don't fail me, Christian Slater!
1. Harry opens this movie by advising his listeners to “Eat your cereal with a fork”. Congratulations, Harry. Your version of rebellion is basically based on not drinking milk.
2. I bet there are kids who watch this now and go “Dude. Why doesn’t he just do a Podcast?”, “Why is everyone talking on landlines?”, “What’s with all the handwritten letters?”
3. How have I never slept with a guy who shouts “Take cover, Arizona!” during sex? You’ve let me down, mens.
4. We’ve got another Indiana Jones glasses situation here. Harry doesn’t need glasses at home to deal with all his radio equipment, but he DOES wear them in school. Superman has a lot to fucking answer for.
5. All of the cool kids in this movie smoke cigarettes. What do kids do to their bodies now when they’re trying to rebel? … Hmmm… WAIT! Finger tattoos! Got it.
6. Harry thinks it’s “too bad” that the ‘bigger than a baby’s arm’ story about a young girl being forced to watch her brother masturbating every night isn’t true. “To me, the real truth is always a bigger turn on.” Always, Harry? Really? You’d rather a young woman get molested by her brother? Cool deal, bro.
7. Nora calls herself the “Eat Me, Beat Me Lady”. Domestic Violence is COOL YOU GUYS!
8. Nora’s poem ends: “Jam me, jack me, push me, pull me, talk hard” and it’s supposed to be crazy and a really deep moment. BWAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAAA!!!!
9. Paige – the fancy, popular girl – shouldn’t dance in public on her lunch break if she’s just going to nervously, half-ass sidestep. Sit down, Yale douche.
10. This is all making me miss stripey tights terribly.
11. Harry puts on sunglasses and behaves extremely suspiciously when he’s picking up his mail at the Post Office. Yeah, you’re fucking invisible dude…
12. Kids do a variety of dumb shit while listening to this radio show (Nora and Paige talk to their tiny pastel-colored boomboxes more than they should), but nothing is dumber than putting your stereo in the middle of your driveway and riding around it slowly on a BMX, with a friend. Who directed that fucking scene?
13. “Being young is sometimes less fun than being dead.”
Not gonna make a wisecrack about that. Just making a note because it’s the best line in the whole movie.
14. Where does one acquire – and store - an eight-foot, lightweight, professionally made penis? Asking for a friend.
15. Hey news journalist Shep Shepherd, is this REALLY the biggest story in town?
Hey cop guy, is this REALLY a job for the Feds? NO. The answer to both of these questions is NO. This plot point DEFINITELY won’t make sense to people who have grown up with the internet.
16. It is astonishing to me how much better this version of "Wave of Mutilation" by Pixies is, than the one that’s on Doolittle.
17. A Sonic Youth song just ended music in the alcove. Now Paige can’t dance shittily on her lunch break anymore. I’ve always liked you, Sonic Youth.
18. Wait. The punk rock guy got expelled for “dress code”? My money’s on the fact that it’s related to his marriage to double denim.
19. School meeting kicks off. A variety of concerned white people stand up say things like “I know kids. They just want to be happy.” Only black dude in the room stands up and says “Look. I work with teenage gangs in the city. I say we should go after this guy.” First of all, what the hell do those two things have to do with each other? Secondly: The first brown face we’ve seen in this entire movie and he works with gangs. Jesus Christ, you fucking racists.
20. This Paige chick is having a full blown nervous breakdown and not one person asks if she's okay. In fact, Nora gives her a really awkward double-thumbs-up for it. Nice.
21. Harry burns letters/ evidence on the family barbeque. Nora wanders into the back yard COMPLETELY UNINVITED (did you scale a fence, bitch??), then she yells at him for not being able to talk to her. Nora's a dick.
22. Harry’s parents are now listening to his radio show, directly above him and NOT RECOGNIZING HIS VOICE. Do they think Jack Nicholson started a pirate radio show? There’s only two people on Earth with this voice, jackasses.
23. Nora said goodbye, like, 10 minutes ago and now she’s lingering around in the backyard wearing a Walkman. She didn’t even pop her head in through the patio doors three minutes ago when it looked like Harry was about to get busted. SELFISH.
24. Nora just got tits-out half-naked, COMPLETELY UNPROMPTED. Nora, girl. You can’t just go flinging your massive sweater at the lawn the first time a guy tells you “you’re so different”. At least kiss him first or something. Also, you’re outside. Also, Harry’s parents were JUST THERE. Get it together, woman.
25. Punk rock guy gets punched by a teacher. Twice. First time an American High School has ever resembled the Convent that I went to!
26. Nora’s locker is outside. This seems deeply impractical, weather-wise.
27. Harry’s put his glasses on even though he’s about to do a show. This is a symbolic representation that he and his alter-ego have finally merged and become one thanks to that chick who threw her sweater at the lawn. Glasses are SUPER MEANINGFUL.
28. Why do all the kids in this school think it’s subversive to growl at people?
29. Oh. It’s the broken harmonizer scene. “I need that to disguise my voice!”
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHA. This shit was hilarious the first time around…
30. I'd love to find out how badly this Federal arrest fucked up the rest of Harry and Nora's lives. Sequel please!