November 1, 2011

The Other F Word (2011)

BEFORE BECOMING A FATHER, you have your own set of priorities, ideologies, and views of the world. But when children enter your life, you have to make a seismic shift in how you live. And let’s be honest: It’s hard for the average man to stop being so selfish and start giving all his focus, love, and attention to the new child in his life.

But what if you weren’t the average man before fatherhood? What if you were a hardcore punk rocker with no responsibilities, complete disrespect of authority, and lived life day to day on your terms? How hard is it to go from barely caring about your own well-being to being unconditionally protective of a life you created?

Featuring interviews with dozens of punk rock’s leading men, including Jim Lindberg (Pennywise), Mark Hoppus (Blink 182), Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Tim McIlrath (Rise Against), Tony Adolescent (The Adolescents), and Lars Frederiksen (Rancid), The Other F Word documents what happens when society’s ultimate anti-authoritarians become its ultimate authorities: dads.


The dads in director Andrea Blaugrund Nevins’ The Other F Word largely fall into one group – the dad who successfully balances parenthood and punk – yet there are a couple of examples at far ends of the spectrum: Ron “Chavo” Reyes, former lead singer of Black Flag (one the most violent and influential U.S. punk bands), is now the most domesticated, while Fat Mike of NOFX is the most resistant in terms of giving up the punk lifestyle (now in his forties, he still gets completely sloshed before every show).

It’s intriguing to see how becoming a dad makes these punkers think deeply about their own fathers, the majority of whom were pretty poor role models. The examples of bad childhoods described by Nevins’ subjects in strung-together segments are depressing – at times heartbreaking – but they also serve as testaments to how hard, and how successfully, these guys have worked to be better fathers than their own.

Not only do the traumas of their childhoods still affect these punk dads (Everclear’s Art Alexakis is amazingly frank about his many abuses), but tragedies involving their own children haunt them as well (the toughest to watch: Tony Adolescent describing holding his stillborn daughter and U.S. Bombs’ Duane Peters discussing his son’s death in a violent car crash).

While the dads in The Other F Word may have varying methods of parenthood, discipline, and responsibility, not one of their children is neglected – in fact, they appear to be loved very much. We also see never see any of the dads openly struggling to be a responsible grown-up or the father they never had. In other words, there’s no sustainable tension or conflict surrounding the subjects or the subject matter – and that’s the film’s one notable flaw. Obviously, no one wants to see a child mistreated, abused, or abandoned; but in a warped way, it’s almost a detriment to the film that none of Nevins’ subjects is a failure as a father.

Can the sins of the father be avoided by the sons? Judging from the subjects of The Other F Word, the answer is yes. And to a certain extent, it hurts the film – ultimately making it interesting to watch, but not compelling.

Is it suitable for your kids?
Despite being about fatherhood and parenting, The Other F Word features many trademarks of the punk lifestyle: loads of profanities (sometimes in front of the young children), inappropriate sayings on clothing and gear, and alcohol consumption (with a few of the punk dads appearing drunk onstage).

Will your FilmMother want to watch it?
Possibly/probably. If she has an interest in (or history with) the punk lifestyle, she may want to see how these guys are making the adjustment from punk to papa.

Hey! You shouldn’t start a sentence with a preposition…
uh, but in your case, I’ll make an exception.

The Other F Word
* Director: Andrea Blaugrund Nevins
* Screenwriter: Andrea Blaugrund Nevins
* Stars: Jim Lindberg, Mark Hoppus, Flea, Tim McIlrath, Tony Adolescent, Lars Frederiksen, Tony Hawk
* MPAA Rating: N/A

Rent The Other F Word from Netflix >>


Kathy B. said...

Always interested in nurture vs. nature. I'll make it point to watch this. Thanks.

Budd said...

that sounds interesting. I couldn't imagine them doing this with professional wrestlers. You would get a lot more varied results.

Surfer Jay said...

Yeah this looks intriguing. But I gotta be frank, frank. Even given that I truly love documentaries, I don't really want to see this.

I grew up in the same area as pennywise, and have seen them play live on the beach in Hermosa several times, not to mention that them and NoFx were practically our national anthems in High School.
I love those bands. I can't quite rock out to them as I did, but nonetheless I love em.

But I just really don't want to see them pretending to be responsible fathers. I have serious doubts that they are good role models for any adolescents, particularly their own kids. It can be very easy for a film maker to portray a person in a certain light. of course I haven't seen the doc so I can't say how this one is. But these guys stand for violance and aggresion and living intoxicated. That is their brand, their product.

Let's leave punk rockers to be punks. I don't want to know that they have families. I just want to know that when I turn on their tunes, It will make me feel like getting loaded or punching someone in the face. That's what they're good for, that's what they're best at....nothing else.

FilmFather said...


Interesting take, one that I bet a lot of punk fans share. I will say that Pennywise's Jim Lindberg really did seem to have his family's best interests at heart, which leads him to make a major decision regarding his involvement in the band.

The two least impressive people in the film were NOFX's Fat Mike (who seemed to be parenting his daughter because he has to, not because he wants to) and Pennywise guitarist Fletcher Dragge, trying to remain rebellious by shouting nonsensical profanities from the stage at age 45 while sporting a beer belly. News flash, Fletcher: Many music genres are a young person's business, but punk especially so. Pack it in.


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