By Sarah Haueisen
“The Other F Word” is a humorous and touching film about middle-aged punk rockers juggling their dual identities as rebellious performers and as fathers. The documentary follows its subjects, including Mark Hoppus (Blink 182), Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Tim McIlrath (Rise Against), Fat Mike (NOFX), and Ron Reyes of the notoriously violent Black Flag as they muddle through the art of balancing tours and the “stick it to the man” punk lifestyle with marriage and children.
The rockers draw on their own childhood experiences, with fathers who either abused or abandoned them, as an explanation for their rebellion and, in turn, for their drive to be good fathers. The film focuses on Pennywise lead singer Jim Lindberg, who is grappling with missing his daughters’ childhoods as he tries to provide for them by touring with his band. Lindberg’s anguish is apparent when his little girl tells him that she doesn’t want him to go; he struggles with the choice between his band and his family throughout the film. Many of the rockers have to teach their children not to use the profane language that they use in every song, and they certainly cannot encourage the sort of behavior they condone with their fans.
Their love for their children shines through at every moment, not to mention how amusing it is to see a hardcore punk rocker like Fat Mike in a zebra bathrobe carrying his daughter downstairs to eat breakfast or Mark Hoppus admitting to purchasing the “clean” version of his own CD so his child could safely listen. All agree that although they love the punk lifestyle, family comes first. The lifestyles seem alternative, but in the end these rockers are just like any men wading through the murky waters of fatherhood. A very compelling look into the everyday life of aging punk rockers, “The Other F Word” is a great movie for radicals and complacent sentimentalists alike.
Sarah is a contributing writer. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.