I love movies about radio. Here are some classics to give to your friends for the holidays.
Pirate Radio (2009). The fictionalized story of Radio Caroline, “the boat that rocked” the British Isles from offshore in the 1960s. Fabulous performances by Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Bill Nighy. My favorite Nighy line from the film: “Carl? – Yes. My favourite godson. – Have we met before? – I don’t think so. No. There was a lost decade, so I always have to check.”
Pump Up the Volume. The 1999 film about a teenage unlicensed operator (Christian Slater) who pretty much takes over Arizona with his wild and crazy monologues.
Do the Right Thing (1989). Spike Lee’s classic about a black Brooklyn neighborhood facing gentrification. Radio plays a crucial role in this very relevant movie, with stellar performances by Samuel L. Jackson as community radio deejay “Mr. Senor Love Daddy” and Bill Nunn as “Radio Raheem.”
The Fisher King (1991). Jeff Bridges plays a down on his luck talk radio host who rescues himself by helping a homeless man (Robin Williams).
Good Morning Vietnam (1987). Robin William plays an outrageous host for US Armed Services Radio: “Hello, campers,” he declares. “Remember, Monday is malaria day. That’s right. Time to take that big orange pill and get ready for the Ho Chi Minh two-step.”
Talk Radio (1988). Based on “Talked to Death: The Life and Murder of Alan Berg,” a talk radio host discovers that his nasty, abrasive tone is very contagious.
Born in Flames (1983). Radio plays a crucial role in this lively futuristic movie about two feminist insurgencies who present their grievances on pirate radio stations.
Private Parts (1997). The life and works of that great, great man: Howard Stern.
Dead Air (2009). Talk radio host meets The Zombies.
Talk to Me (2007). The career of legendary Washington, D.C. radio host Ralph Waldo (“Petey”) Greene, whose on air summary of Berry Gordy is worth the price of admission: “Mr. Gordy’s a very important man, and he’s done a great deal. And I love the way he takes the little brothers and sisters, broke-down runaways, the downtrodden from the projects, and he gets them off the streets. Then he puts a few dollars in their pockets, teaches them how to talk and how to walk, then sends them right back out there to bring him a whole lot of money. So I’m sorry if in any way I made him out to be a pimp.”
I’m sure I’ve left lots of movies out. Please put your faves in the comments section.
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