Review of “Blank Generation” Re-Release

Blank Generation (MVD Visual 2010)
Review by Adam Perry

“What if you become successful?” a foxy French journalist asks Richard Hell’s self-based character Billy in the recently re-released cult-classic Blank Generation. “I’ll try something else,” he says before proceeding to alternately have sex with her and beat her up. Lester Bangs once called Hell the punk generation’s “stupid” Milton, darkly poetic but ultimately unsure of what he wanted to say or do, but Blank Generation paints the Kentucky-born anarchist’s legacy as much less profound. Better looking than Lou Reed and more talented and intelligent than his fellow 70’s bass guitar hero Sid Vicious, Hell somehow couldn’t get out of a movie so bad its most memorable line was Hell’s fictional manager earnestly telling him “everybody likes a winner.”

One awful scene consists of nothing but Billy and his girlfriend arguing in a Cadillac about whether to go to the beach until she throws him out onto the street and moody symphonic music plays. A new interview with Hell, and Blank Generation’s snippits of unruly Voidods rehearsals and gigs at CBGBs – with a pre-Marky Ramone Marc Bell on drums – are worth checking out, but the dialogue and acting are as painfully bad as they were in 1980. But wait, Andy Warhol – who we’re told is a “serious person” – makes an appearance at the end! In the immortal words of the Dead Milkmen: “blow it out your hairdo.”

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