movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PLOT SUMMARY: A period comedy about an illegal radio station in the North Sea in the 1960s.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Corporations deliver radio more reliably than music-lovers.

PEOPLE: Starring Michael Hadley, Nick Frost (Ed from Shaun of The Dead, Mike Watt from Spaced, Hot Fuzz–funny guy), Philip Seymour Hoffman as The Count (the American DJ) (he’s also in The Invention Of Lying, Red Dragon, Punch-Drunk Love, Magnolia, The Big Lebowski, Boogie Nights, Twister), Bill Nighy as the main boss leader (he’s also in Astro Boy, is Viktor from the Underworld movies, Davy Jones from Pirates Of The Caribbean, Hot Fuzz, Slartibartfast from Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Philip from Shaun Of The Dead). Gavin, who reminds me of Jared Larouche of Chemlab, is played by Rhys Ifans (Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, The Informers, Hannibal Rising), Jack Davenport as Mike Twatt (Norrington from Pirates Of The Caribbean). The ASSHOLE of a British official — the one who caused all this to happen — is played by Kenneth Branagh (Prof. Gilderoy Lockhart in the Harry Potter movies, How To Kill Your Neighbor’s Dog). Eleanor – the 17 hour bride – was played by January Jones, who was in Full Frontal and American Pie 3 (American Wedding), and apparently is in Mad Men. A few people in this were in the British sitcom The I.T. Crowd.

Marianne is played by Talulah Riley, who was in both St. Trinian’s remake movies. Gemma Arterton from St. Trinian’s 1-2 and Clash Of The Titans (what, does she only do remakes?) was in this too. Katherine Parkinson was in the St. Trinian’s movies too. At least one of these characters probably played the visiting lesbian; I can’t tell these hot girls apart.

QUIRKS: Loosely based on Radio Caroline, a popular pirate radio ship with a similar history and style

VISUALS: Shiply shippiness.

SOUNDTRACK: It’s about pirate radio, so of course the soundtrack is HUUUUUGE.

MORALS: Uh, there was a moral? Other than “freedom rules!”, and “you can’t fight city hall”, this movie wasn’t really full of a lot of morals.

POLITICS: Fuck the government! They criminalize behavior simply because they don’t like it! Pirate radio wasn’t really hurting anyone! It’s a victimless crime! If you go into international waters, you should be able to do what the fuck you want! Half of Britain listened to pirate radio back then, because the official radio wasn’t giving people what they want. WE WANT THE AIRWAVES.

And oh, by the way, this is what extended territorial waters from 3 miles to 12 miles. Not wanting radio in those 9 miles. The government wanting to control people who are free. It has nothing to do with a reasonable distance from the country; 3 miles was fine from the British inception until 1967. Fuck unnecessary government control.

Of course, there are international laws too. And yeah, it’s not about people being able to use the airwaves. We must have order, of course. Order, defined by someone else.

Also note that in reality, the guy who shut the station down was a leftwing Labour government Postmaster General, not a rightwing reactionary. It says something about politics and the liberal mindset: You have to depict assholes as rightwing, or people don’t get it. In fact, leftwing leaders take away plenty of freedom too. False dichotomy politics are what trick us all.

Pictures of real life Radio Caroline ship after Maritime Broadcasting Offenses act: HERE.

GOOD STUFF: Plenty of drugs, and, for a boat full of men, plenty of sex too (women visited).

BAD STUFF: Very long – the British release is 2 hrs, 15 minutes. Honestly, it felt like it was a rushed edit. I bet there’s a 4-hour workprint out there somewhere.

Also, you could call the end very sappy.

CONCLUSION: A pretty fun pirate-radio-on-a-ship party/comedy movie, with a sappy dramatic ending. Governments hate freedom, and this movie loosely documents a ton of real events related to the criminalization of pirate radio. You can draw a lot of direct parallels between the way corporations and countries fight Bittorrent and P2P software today, to the way they fought pirate radio in the past. You do something without government oversight, you are free. Governments hate free people.

Clint: Netflix: 3.8/5 stars. IMDB: 7.4/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 7.5/10, Netflix: 3.5/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.6/5 stars).

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re going to watch this, MAKE SURE TO WATCH THE BRITISH RELEASE. Yeah it’s longer. It’s realer, too.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Can’t really think of any! That’s a good sign.


Simon: I believe the technical term is a *fuckload* of boats!

The Count: Not mine, sir. I’m an American citizen and I don’t give a hootenanny God damn about your nitpicking limey laws. I intend to broadcast from this ship 24 hours a day until the day I die. And then for a couple days after that.

Gavin Cavanagh: Here’s a rather long record. I hope I’m here at the end of it.

Gavin Cavanagh: Are you doing something dirty? Are you doing something your parents don’t know about? Are you breaking the law? Are you breaking the rules?

The Count: You know, a few months ago, I made a terrible mistake. I realized something, and instead of crushing the thought the moment it came I… I let it hang on, and now I know it to be true. And I’m afraid it’s stuck in my head forever. These are the best days of our lives. It’s a terrible thing to know, but I know it.

Mood: annoyed
Music: Atari Teenage Riot – Riot Machine