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  Directed by
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  Specs
  • Full Frame
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
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  Extras
  • 6 Teaser trailer
  • 12 Cast/crew biographies - Featured Bands
  • 8 Interviews - Featured Bands
Eargasm
Madman Entertainment/AV Channel . R4 . COLOR . 48 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

If I am running a little late and the 6:20 to Collingwood is about to leave the platform, I sometimes have to run and jump aboard the train as the doors are about to close. That is about as extreme as life gets for me. Therefore the notion of jumping over a bus on a skateboard or riding a bicycle up and down the side of a swimming pool seems about as perplexing to me as it is does dangerous. Don’t get me wrong, I could watch these guys risk life and limb for hours, but if I am to do that, it is very important to me that they occasionally fall and hurt themselves. That may sound callous, but let’s face it - you wouldn’t watch Funniest Home Videos if you didn’t think that kid was going to fall off that swing, right? Exactly.

What we have with Eargasm then, is a modest forty-eight minutes of extreme sports highlights accompanied by the frantic sounds of the new breed of punk band that provides this radical new subculture with its fuel. The term ‘punk’ really is applied generously, as a lot of these acts were simply metal bands before they decided to hitch their wagons to the extreme sports juggernaut. Included in the footage are examples of motocross, skateboarding, BMX, surfing, snowboarding and wavepool (that’s right, wavepool – but forget about the one you’re accustomed to because last time I checked, the wavepool at the 'Wet n’ Wild' Theme Park doesn’t pick you up and dump you on your head).

The footage is undeniably spectacular and the steel nerve of the athletes is to be admired but, unless you are a fan of the sports in question, Eargasm may not contain enough serious injury to the competitors to keep the casual viewer glued to the set. Conversely, any film that shows a human called Dave ‘The Bullet’ Smith being shot out of a cannon will get two thumbs up from me every time.

The real grunt of Eargasm (and the feature more likely to deliver on the arrogant promise of the film’s title) comes from the high-octane performances of the featured bands. Each act is well represented with live concert footage (much of which was seemingly shot during the Vans Warped Tour) cut with images of extreme athletes doing what they do best and the fans doing what they do best, which is jumping up and down and shoving each other (think Big Day Out crossed with American History X).

Punk stalwarts like Bad Religion, NOFX and Suicidal Tendencies tear up the screen and show enough menace to scare even the most liberal minded of parents while current darlings, Pennywise, demonstrate their clout with a frenzied performance to a crowd of seventy-six thousand. Looming largest of all, and not even listed on the case, are the legendary Dead Kennedys who helped pave the way for all of these guys and whose magnificent Police Truck plays only over the closing credits and on the disc’s menu screen.

A bit of respect, punks...

Track Listing:
Bad Religion – American Jesus
Good Riddance – America Flies First Class
Strung Out – Too Close To See
NOFX – Don’t Call Me White
Snapcase – Bleeding Orange
Lagwagon – Train
Guttermouth – 1, 2, 3…Slam
Unwritten Law – Teenage Suicide
Suicidal Tendencies – Pledge Your Allegiance
Face To Face – 1000x
Pennywise – Bro Hymn

  Video
  Audio
  Extras
Contract

Eargasm was shot entirely on 16mm so, as you might expect, the picture quality is less than wonderful although it somehow suits the subject matter. Even though the problems are likely inherent in the source material, the fact remains that the colour saturation is poor and often appears unnatural. Definition is also found lacking and in some sections, particularly the concert footage shot at night where we are at the mercy of stage lighting, the darker sections are blurred and a little soft. There are a number of film and video artefacts (including a real clunker during the Good Riddance set) but for better or worse, there are so many that the viewer soon becomes accustomed to them to the point where it ceases to matter. Overall, I’m afraid this transfer aint too wicked, dude. Eargasm comes in a ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

Eargasm is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 and as far as audio quality goes, is quite good. There is a lack of crowd noise on some of the live performances and coupled with some terrible syncing issues, it sounds as though some of the audio may have been added post edit. Still, in the interest of good audio quality, that seems a small price to pay. As you might expect from a stereo soundtrack, the surround speakers don’t see any action at all but considering the raw nature of many of the bands it makes little difference.

Eargasm contains a reasonable number of extras, some of more value than others:

Band Interviews – There are eight band interviews in all, each of which are often amusing in a Beavis and Butthead kind of way and at the very least offer some insight into each of the bands in question. They are: Bad Religion (11:14), NOFX (3:41), Good Riddance (3:18), Unwritten Law (4:44), Snapcase (1:35), Lagwagon (3:45), Strung Out (3:38) and Guttermouth (2:21). Worthy of particular mention is the interview with Erik Sandin of NOFX as he walks around the yard in his underwear picking up dog turds with a shovel and the interview with Strung Out (or should that be ‘Bombed Out’) on their sofa. It’s all very highbrow entertainment.

Band Biographies – Each of the bands featured on the disc are represented here and each biography contains a brief history of the band, the names of each band member as well as a discography. Although the print is a little small, the biographies are generally informative and offer background knowledge on those bands you may not be familiar with.

TrailersEargasm has a sequel called…Eargasm 2 (1:10) and it features possibly the tackiest and most brainless tagline of all time: ‘Cumming in your ear in 2002’. Enough said. A spectacular trailer for Good Times (4:22) featuring Carey Hart (not Corey Sunglasses at Night Hart) is also included and contains some pretty damn impressive motocross stunts.

Madman Propaganda – Features trailers for Spriggan (1:17), Grass (1:38), Tackle Happy (2:46) and the Madman big gun, Akira (1:15).

Though perhaps not an extra in its own right, one welcome addition worthy of mention is the excellent ‘random track’ option. All music discs should have this and yet they rarely do. Nice one, Eargasm.

So there you have it. For those into the scene, Eargasm is probably going to push all of the right buttons despite its diminutive size, but for those hoping for a slick one-time affair, this release is a little clumsy.

I must admit, I don’t really know what an ‘eargasm’ is but I quite fancied that I might like to have one. I felt my ears twitch a couple of times during the program but I couldn’t tell if that was from musical stimulation or if they were just faking it so I would turn it off and go to sleep.


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  •   And I quote...
    "Why, you little punks..."
    - Peter O'Connor
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          Sony DVP-725
    • TV:
          Sony WEGA 80cm
    • Receiver:
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