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Pump Up The Volume (1990)

posted Dec 18, 2013, 10:39 AM by Vu Nguyen
Pump Up The Volume (1990)
New Line Cinema

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I’m a sucker for the sports documentary. From “the thrill of victory” to the “agony of defeat” and all nuances in-between, I find it all fascinating. However, I have a special affection for the “Field Of Broken Dreams” .…

One of the best music teen angst film is Pump Up The Volume. The film was released in 1990, written and directed by Allan Moyle and starring Christian Slater and Samantha Mathis.

If you've never seen it, it is about Mark Hunter, who just moved to Phoenix, Arizona. He's a little anti-social, and expressed himself through a personality called Happy Harry Hard-On via a small FM pirate radio station that broadcasts from the basement of his parents' house. His station is popular with his high school and, of course, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) eventually stepped in and try to stop the pirate broadcast.

As the movie's theme song, "Everybody Knows" by Leonard Cohen plays over the opening credit, you get a glimpse of Hunter's "underground" bands on cassette tapes: The Jesus and Mary Chain, Camper Van Beethoven, Primal Scream, Soundgarden, Ice-T, Bad Brains, Concrete Blonde, Henry Rollins, and The Pixies (see image below).

Pump Up the Volume Soundtrack
MCA Records
The official soundtrack, released by MCA Records on August 14, 1990, features Concrete Blonde's version of "Everybody Knows", not the Leonard Cohen original. This is possible due to costs and licensing issues. For example, the movie Trainspotting wanted to use Blondie's "Atomic", but it was so expensive to license that the movie producer spent a fraction of that cost and had Sleeper record a cover of that song (that information was given on the audio commentary of the Trainspotting laser disc.) Instead, if you watch the movie, the Concrete Blonde's version does appear on Hunter's final broadcast.

Pump Up The Volume's soundtrack still holds up, as does the film. Although, I do find it hard to believe that some of the actors that appeared in Pump Up The Volume are teenagers, despite the fact that Slater previously appeared as a teenager in Heathers.

If you enjoyed Pump Up The Volume, other films, from this era, worth checking out: Say Anything... (1989), Dazed And Confused (1993), Singles (1992), Empire Records (1995), and, of course, Trainspotting (1996).

Pump Up the Volume: Soundgarden, Camper Van Beethoven, Pixies, and Henry Rollins
© 1990 New Line Cinema