If rock and roll has a rebellious attraction for the young, punk rock has an even edgier, more destructive appeal.  But what happens when the young punk rockers reach middle age and/or start having kids and raising families?  The Other F Word, a documentary by Andrea Blaugrund, explores what happens when the counterculture meets the traditional life -- and a lot more.

The Other F Word consists of interviews with current and former American punk rock band members (plus Tony Hawk) who are now raising little kids and/or teenagers.  The most time is given to Jim Lindberg, lead singer of Pennywise, who wants to be a family man while his international tour stretches from days to weeks to months.  Lots of band members, from Black Flag to Rise Against, Everclear and Blind-182, discuss the challenges and joys that come when fatherhood meets punk.

Instead of just cute family families, this documentary explores the background and changes in the punk world.  There's a brief history (and appeal) of the punk scene in L.A. in the 1970s.  We learn about the financial challenges as music shifts from cds and stores to online dowloads and free music on websites.  In addition to the joy of anarchy many band people love, there's the acknowledgment of the dangers and high mortality of the lifestyle.  And plenty recognize and struggle with avoiding being absent parents like their dads -- while going on long, grueling tours to provide for their family.
I was impressed with the wide range of The Other F Word.  Instead of focusing on kids and dads with massive amounts of tattoos, this documentary really gives a good look what it's like when the (literal) young punks grow up and have to be responsible members of society.  There's humor (as when one band member's tour kit includes hair dye, hand sanitizer, and antacid), sadness, fun, energy, and a nice inside look at the counter-culture folks becoming the mainstream.  I only like some punk music, but I was pretty impressed with The Other F Word.  (DVD extras include commentaries, plus some acoustic versions of the songs in the movie.)

Overall grade: A-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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