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April 13, 2010

Quadrophenia - Classic Film Pick

Quadrophenia_ver1 The 1979 coming-of-age film that launched 40,000 Mods was based on the second rock opera from the Who behind their hugely successful album and film "Tommy." Its title is an abstraction of the terms "quadraphonic" and "schizophrenia" in reference to the conflicting facets of its lead character, a young Mod named Jimmy Cooper (wonderfully played by Phil Daniels). Growing up in working class London, circa 1965, the nattily dressed Jimmy works in the mail room of an advertising agency when he isn't making the Mod scene on his mirror-covered Lambretta scooter. Fueled by a steady doses of speed, Jimmy romantically pursues Steph (Leslie Ash), a fickle Mod girl who attends the same parties where R&B music is widely appreciated. Jimmy's encounters with Kevin (Ray Winstone), his childhood-friend-turned-rocker-rival, expose the hypocrisy in Jimmy's ineffective attempts at setting himself apart as an individual with a mind of his own. A weekend trip to Brighton Beach with his Mod pals ends in ruin after a riotous public brawl with leather-jacketed Rockers costs Jimmy an expensive court date alongside his Mod idol Ace Face (played by Sting). "Quadrophenia"(directed by Franc Roddam) is a glorious representational story of male teen angst that transcends its British locations and great music with a sense of the confused romantic notions that young men the world over carry with them. There are sublime moments of teenage victory, as when Jimmy makes love to Steph in an alleyway while police chase his friends and rivals, or when Jimmy tells off his boss before quitting his job. It's a vibrant musically-driven story about the harsh realities of breaking out of personal mental traps that compound the social pit falls that surround us all.       


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