Pump Up the Volume is a 1990 film written and directed by Allan Moyle about a high school kid with his own pirate radio station. Christian Slater stars as Mark Hunter, a shy kid by day and a vigilante DJ by night. Mark is a loner and a loser at school, but each night he transforms into Happy Harry Hard-on and voices his complaints about his school and community. His opinions get him loyal followers and his show gets increasingly popular. He’s too controversial so the parents, faculty, and the FCC decide to shut him down, but not before he exposes the corrupt principal and encourages his followers to “talk hard.” Really. “Talk hard” is one of the taglines of the film. It’s even on the poster.
I used to watch this movie on TV as a kid. I finally got around to seeing the actual movie, uncut and without commercials, and it’s much better. Happy Harry Hard-on swears excessively, talks about cock rings, and pretends to masturbate on the air. Plus you get to see boobies. Remember that terrible Super Mario Bros. movie? Remember Princess Daisy in that? You get to see her boobs. And they pop up unexpectedly too. That’s the best kind of boob scene: when you’re not expecting anything and then BAM! Boobs.
Pump Up the Volume is about a teenager questioning the world and demanding answers. That’s why it’s still relevant to this day. Only now people have Facebook, YouTube, and a million other ways to make their voices heard on the Internet. They don’t need to hijack radio waves and piss off the FCC. 20 years ago teenagers had no voice. The Internet gave them one. Now they can’t shut up about Justin Beiber.
Critically Rated at 11/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young