Out on DVD today is Pirate Radio, staring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Bill Nighy. So, walk right by Woody Harrelson's Defendor, Lauren Holly's The Final Storm and unless you're just a die-hard fan, Robert Englund's Nightmare on Elm Street collection. If you've got kids (or fond childhood memories), you might want to pick up the Tom and Jerry collection that's just hit the shelves. But other than that, go straight to Pirate Radio.
It's the performances that set Pirate Radio apart from other "Stick It to the Man" comedies (more about that later). In the story it's literally sink or swim time for rock music in 1960s England when officials decide to ban what they have deemed unsuitable.
Of course, the ban makes young people all the more desperate to hear it and they turn to pirate radio broadcasts. Unable to transmit from any land based station, a motley group of DJs set sail for the sea. Their floating radio station, sitting somewhere in the North Atlantic Ocean, broadcasts music listeners are hungry for and rock and roll becomes a national craze. And really ticks off the officials trying to squash them.
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The government tries to block them at every turn but the musical malcontents are always a step ahead ... until the ship gets in trouble and sends out an SOS signal. [SPOILER] Officials refuse to send help, but a fleet of listeners rush out to rescue their musical heroes. [END SPOILER]
Now back to those performances. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson, January Jones and Gemma Arterton appear as the DJs, ship's captain and government officials, all of which turn in engaging, polished performances.
Those weren't the ones we were talking about. We're talking about Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, The Who, David Bowie, Cat Stevens, Smokey Robinson, The Beatles, and the extremely underrated (imho) Dusty Springfield. All of them in their prime, all of them producing music that would go on to change the face of pop. (Who wants to listen to Pat Boone when you've got Dusty Springfield around?)