“The Only Time I Feel Alright is By Your Side,”

Guys, I know it seems like Star Wars is my favorite thing ever, but really it’s 1960’s rock and roll…if it’s even fair to compare movies and music at all (which it’s really not, but just go with it). While Star Wars/A New Hope, Return of the Jedi, and now The Force Awakens are definitely in my top 10 favorite movies ever, I have to tell you what movie has the definitive number one spot in my heart: Pirate Radio.

In case you’re unfamiliar with Pirate Radio, or The Boat That Rocked as it is known overseas, let me educate you. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. It has all it all; goofy humor, an adorable young British man, chronicles of friendship and even family relationships, all set on top of a magnificent celebration of the British Invasion.

I am obsessed with 1960’s music. The Beatles have always been one of my favorite bands ever since I was a little girl. One of my first memories ever is my parents holding open the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album sleeve as if reading a picture book out loud to me, teaching me which band member was which. As the years went on, I realized how much I also loved the Rolling Stones. Of course I grew up with their music, but I didn’t appreciate them like I had always appreciated the Beatles until maybe middle school. And last but certainly not least, the past couple of years I’ve delved deeper into The Who and fallen madly in love with them, and there’s no turning back. In between all of this I of course have also appreciated bands like the Kinks (whom I reference in this blog title; All Day and All of the Night just might be my all time favorite ever), the Yardbirds, the Turtles, the Zombies, the Association, Dave Clark Five, and several other artists that may have only had one big hit or two but I love them just the same.

Not only does Pirate Radio have a majestic soundtrack that echoes my iPod, but I also love that culture…the clothes, the dancing….almost everything except for the lack of social justice…anyway! The women they show dancing in this movie are perfection, or perhaps I just say that because that’s how I dance; trying to emulate the stylistic moves of young Beatles-loving, twisting little ladies. Actually, scratch that. The men dance wonderfully in this too, and that’s something that’s tragically absent in today’s general society. In fact, men were so much lovelier back then, not afraid to dance, to hug their best friends, to kiss their fellow men on the cheek whether they loved them romantically or platonically. (If you’ve seen it, just think how when Gavin comes back aboard and Simon runs to hug him sweetly from behind, and when Gavin sees Dave they do that adorable cheek trade. Just so darling. And how Simon nervously holds onto Young Carl’s hand just minutes before his own wedding ceremony is to begin.)

Aside from the perfect music, the beautiful people, the goofiness, the most important thing about Pirate Radio to me is how these people live for music. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, God rest his beautiful soul, perfectly exemplifies how I feel about music, (or rather his character The Count/Carl does) from the beginning while the Kinks’ All Day and All of the Night is playing and he is singing along emanating pure bliss, to when he faces death when their wonderful but illegal radio ship is being hunted down by the government but says this beautiful thing:

“…all over the world, young men and young women will always dream dreams and put those dreams into song. Nothing important dies tonight, just a few ugly guys on a crappy ship. The only sadness tonight is that, in future years, there’ll be so many fantastic songs that it will not be our privilege to play. But, believe you me, they will still be written, they still be sung and they will be the wonder of the world.”

Things like Pirate Radio reassure me that I’m not alone in finding the absolute beauty and necessity in music. It’s just so beautiful, guys. There’s even this adorable blink-and-you-might-miss-it visual reference to the famous “The Kids Are Alright” image of my darling Who wrapped up in the Union Jack. Also…in the credits, not to give anything away, but they show records over the years and all of a sudden Duran Duran’s Rio album pops up. My favorite album by my favorite band…my non-60’s love mixed in there with a movie about my favorite 60’s things: perfection. Also there is this brief moment where it shows a teenage girl kissing her radio, and I did that all the time with my Crosley radio in high school whenever one of my favorite songs came on, before I broke the knob on it…

Since this is my number one favorite movie, I do think about it often, but I was just watching it and glowing with extra joy yesterday. There’s a scene, although it may be brief, during Christmas time and it plays two of my favorite Christmas songs!! One of them being Little Saint Nick by the Beach Boys, and the other…crap. I always forget her name, but it’s that epic Christmas song that’s also in the beginning of Gremlins. It’s my own personal tradition to watch it the week of Christmas. I do watch it several other times a year otherwise, but I like giving myself that tiny excuse.

If you’ve never seen it and you like any of the following things, even just one, you need to see it:

  • 1960’s music
  • 1960’s clothes
  • 1960’s dancing
  • British people
  • Beautiful people
  • Romance
  • Friendship
  • Mystery
  • Drama
  • Danger
  • Epic Rescue
  • Music in general
  • Happiness
  • Silly humor
  • History
  • Family ties
  • Hippies
  • Boats
  • Unrequited love
  • Radios
  • Movies
  • Bliss
  • Perfection
  • Sexy people
  • Not so sexy people
  • Not American accents
  • One American accent
  • Games
  • Pirates
  • Drinking
  • Cigarettes
  • Vinyl
  • Christmas
  • Easter
  • Watching people who can’t swim struggle in the ocean
  • Woodpeckers
  • Books
  • Bunkbeds
  • Roommates
  • Nearly freezing to death deep at sea
  • Tiny boats
  • Just freaking awesome fans
Okay….so basically, just watch it.
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