(Carlo Liconti, 1987)
This movie is 'about' a buncha young punks starting a band at the height of Beatlemania. As such, it should be an insufferable piece of sixties nostalgia. But in fact the band subplot is the worst thing about it, and almost an afterthought: the filmmakers certainly show minimal interest or skill at showing the internal dynamics of learning to play rock and roll, unmistakably dubbing their heroes with session-musician hacks playing a mere notch or two below their true level. Otherwise, the depiction of growing up Italian at Vaughan and St. Clair is as specific as it sounds, and totally disarming in its sense of distance and modesty. These things happen, then these other things happen, and the script is blessedly free of pat resolutions whether it's dealing with romance or violence or substance abuse or even, fleetingly, pedophilia. And the visual conception is full of surprising deadpan moments, from a waiting-room couch observed at Jarmusch-like middle distance to a pay phone conversation that actually seems to reference Taxi Driver. Not that this is an 'art' movie; just a made-to-order commercial project with a surprising understanding of how a movie is supposed to work, undermined by the jam scenes and, perhaps, by performances you mostly wish were just a little less functional.