Tuesday, August 3, 2010

RATE IT! Worried About the Boy

It's an odd feeling when the songs, fashions, celebs and movies of your youth are now considered nostalgia. For some time now, the 1980s have been creeping back in all their poppy glory! Thankfully, the misguided overuse of neon and shoulder pads didn't hitch a ride back into this decade.

In May of this year, England's BBC2 broadcast an '80s themed programming block over the course of a month. As the centerpiece of this flashback was a bio-pic examining the teen years of Culture Club's lead singer, Boy George. "Worried About the Boy" focuses on George's pre-fame days making the scene at the Blitz Club, the infamous New Romantic hangout in London. Boy George served as a consultant on the TV movie. Along with Culture Club drummer and former lover, Jon Moss, he helped convey a genuine feel for the times by lending the actors old outfits to don in key scenes. Talk about authenticity! 

The flick hasn't yet seen the light of day on TV screens here in North America, so I jumped at the chance to order the PAL DVD from Amazon.uk as soon as it was available. Impatient, much?

As a kid of the '80s, I'm a tough critic when it comes to revisiting the era, but I found 'Worried About the Boy' really entertaining and true to the times. Starring newcomer Douglas Booth as George, and Gavin & Stacey's Mathew Horne as Jon Moss, 'WATB' gives viewers a peek into George's quest for love, attention and fame - as well as his eventual spiral into druggy despair. The performances are realistic and heartfelt, while the make up & fashions were spot on. It was a treat to spot George's contemporaries, all the early Blitz era scenesters: Steve Strange, Spandau Ballet, Marilyn, Bow Wow Wow, Malcolm McLaren, and Kirk Brandon through out the story. I found myself rambling off names and then magically, they pretty much all appeared - spare Adam Ant and Marc Almond - the attention to detail was incredible.

The only negative of this production ~ the lack of bona fide music in the movie's soundtrack. I picked out only one Siouxsie, and two Culture Club songs. Apparently when 'WATB' aired on television in the UK, the soundtrack did feature tracks from Visage, OMD, Bowie, the Human League, and Soft Cell. Obviously, the DVD release didn't nab music clearance for DVD usage of these songs. Shame, really. While the replacement techno beds aren't bad, they are a tad cheesy -- one song sounded like a total mash-up of several Duran Duran recordings in one go (My Own Way married to Rio blended with Planet Earth, for instance). 

This complaint aside, 'Worried About the Boy' is a worthwhile trip down memory lane for pop culture (and Culture Club!) fans of all ages. I'm still mesmerized by Douglas Booth's makeup. Hopefully, BBC America & BBC Canada will pick up the rights for the movie's broadcast on this side of the pond - and if not, the PAL DVD is worth the purchase for those with a multi-region player, and an appetite for all things '80s. 

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