I’ve watched all of Penelope Spheeris’ films time and time again. I love her early documentaries (The Decline of Western Civilization, of course), her sense of humour in films like Wayne’s World and her attention to music as seen in Suburbia. I love most of the things she does… besides Dudes. Now I have to say there is nothing wrong with this 1987 film, but it is unusual in a not-always-great way. I mostly watched this movie because I was dead-obsessed with Jon Cryer and The Vandals at that moment in time. This film combined both of those loves, but it was such a bizarre (and slightly boring) film that I never bothered to watch it again.
The soundtrack is pretty hit-and-miss. Highlights are, of course, “Urban Struggle” and an early version of Jane’s Addiction’s “Mountain Song”. But personally I was never into metal that much, and that’s what dominates this album. Bands like W.A.S.P. and Megadeth are fine enough, but I think I was a misled child believing that like many of Spheeris’ films, there would be a lot of early-80’s punk music. Though I never stopped to consider the fact that this movie was released in 87 – much too late for a soundtrack to be similar to Suburbia. I have to admit, I grabbed this soundtrack merely because I loved the cover and vaguely remembered watching the movie (of which I only could recall the opening scenes).
Yes, this was definitely an impulse buy. Sorry, Penelope, but I probably have only listened to this only twice in its entirety, mostly praying for the next bearable track to come along.
I’m always surprised about what shows up in the strangest of places. This album came from Oshkosh, where my best friends used to go to university. Oshkosh is pretty much a nondescript city filled with mostly students and chain restaurants. But there’s an antique mall there that’s fantastic (or it was, as it’s mostly shabby-chic business now). There is a stall I always made sure to check when I made the trip. For the most part the seller had the usual knick-knacks. But there was always plenty of surprising albums there to dig through. Of all places, this is where I found this soundtrack, and Fear’s The Record. Clearly someone was a big Lee Ving fan (the man makes an appearance in Dudes).
I grew up hating living in Northern Wisconsin, but clearly there were plenty of people around that I needed to meet. Only I suppose they were at least twenty years older than me if they were buying Fear records. Another pain of being born too late.
This isn’t my favourite sountrack ever, but it’s still something I’m glad of owning. Even though it’s not very unusual, it looks nice. Mostly because Jon Cryer looks pretty damn good in that cowboy outfit. Just saying.