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Thread: Sid and Nancy

  1. #1
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    Well, probably not. But if “Sid and Nancy" was to the real Richie and Spungen what "Citizen Kane" was to Hearst and Davies, well, then there IS no comparison. At least the former had a murder and was in colour. I just hope that doesn't make 'rosebud' comparable to, say, 'Linda' the dominatrix. You could say it's me own generation's "Citizen Kane".

    Seriously, though, as soon as I saw it the first week it was released on video in 1987, it instantly catapulted to my #1 favourite movie. While others, though, have vied for my top spot, namely "Trainspotting" & "Lock Stock", along with my all-time favourite American film, another unusual love story, Hal Ashby's "Harold & Maude", “Sid and Nancy" has firmly remained there for seventeen years.

    What is it, one may ask, and occasionally does, I find so appealing about a movie based on the true story of two punk rockers' descent into the sheer hell of drug addiction? It's an easy and not so easy question to answer. Easy because Alex Cox's direction (in my humble opinion) is damn-near flawless; visually, it is mesmerizing; directed from his script (with then-girlfriend Abbe Wool), it's dialogue takes on a poetic aspect, like any well-written movie should. Not so easy, I suppose, because it takes some self-reflection to get to the root of it's long lasting appeal in my eyes. But I'll spare anyone who might be reading this all the gory details on that subject.

    When “Sid and Nancy" was released I heard or knew nothing about it. It proved to be ever so popular at me local vid shop, where I first saw its poster, that silhouetted view of Sid and Nancy in an trash-riddled New York City alley, kissing against a skip. I was working at me local shop in 1987. Even prior to the year up to that point that I was employed there, I had seen more than my fair share of movies, but I had never seen anything like S&N. It was raw, rebellious, almost documentary-like, in it's seeming capture of the "fictionalized" true account of Sex Pistol bassist, Sid Vicious and his drug-addled love affair with American groupie, Nancy Spungen. A few have come close, but to this very day, I still have not seen anything like it.



    A self-proclaimed Anglophile since seeing â�‚��“Oliver!â�‚�? when I was a wee nipper, up until that point, my favourite movies, amoung me sentimental childhood ones, were those of the Monty Python gang and â�‚��“Harold & Maude. What made this film different from any other film I had seen up until then was that it was not layed out in typical Hollywood fashion. It seemed disjointed, not in a negative way, but in the sense that everything wasn't explained in that cookie-cutter fashion Hollywood is so famous, and rightfully so, for churning out. It's one of those films that repeated viewings are essential. Even after fifteen years mates of mine were still enlightening me to lines I couldnâ�‚��„�t quite catch, or locations I had not fully realized.



    Another interesting aspect (to me) is that at that time I was the same age as Sid Vicious is in the film and a bit rebellious, as well. Besides that, I still think it is a very funny film throughout. It is one of those fifty films I can mimic from beginning to end and never tire of it.

    I've been told that most of the film's depictions of the Sex Pistols and the punk scene were inaccurate, but I was never into the punk scene so that mattered little to me. What struck a chord with me was the outstanding writing and direction and never, not for one second could I guess what would happen next. I love that in a movie. That is why it is not only me favourite British film, but me favourite film of all time.

    Better yet, maybe S&N should have been prefaced with Sid dying. "He's dead, Sid Vicious is dead." "What was the last thing he said?" "He said...'Ex-ter-mi-nate baked beans 'n' champagne...?'

  2. #2
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    Hi Mike,



    Although i loved the energy & vitality of the Sex Pistols music i found "Sid & Nancy"rather depressing.

    Sid seemed to 'gob'on anybody that tried to help him.He believed his own press & continually tried to outdo his own outlandish ways.

    Overdosing on heroin supplied by his own mother seemed rather ironic.I was amused by the story of Sid's mother accidentally dropping his ashes on an airport tarmac on the way home.

    So as serious as drug addiction,self mutilation & murder is there seemed to be a touch of pathos about Sid's life.

    Sid's mother also died of a drug overdose in 1997.



    "Sid & Nancy" although well made is not a movie i could watch over & over.I much prefered the Pistols rockumentary "Rock & Roll Swindle."



    "He was called Vicious because he was such a wanker" - Johnny Rotten.



    Better to burn out......



    Dave.

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    David Brent:

    Hi Mike,

    Although i loved the energy & vitality of the Sex Pistols music i found "Sid & Nancy"rather depressing.

    Sid seemed to 'gob'on anybody that tried to help him.He believed his own press & continually tried to outdo his own outlandish ways.

    Overdosing on heroin supplied by his own mother seemed rather ironic.I was amused by the story of Sid's mother accidentally dropping his ashes on an airport tarmac on the way home.

    So as serious as drug addiction,self mutilation & murder is there seemed to be a touch of pathos about Sid's life.

    Sid's mother also died of a drug overdose in 1997.

    "Sid & Nancy" although well made is not a movie i could watch over & over.I much preferred the Pistols rockumentary "Rock & Roll Swindle."

    "He was called Vicious because he was such a wanker" - Johnny Rotten.

    Better to burn out......

    Dave.
    G'Day Down Under, Dave...while I respect your opinion 100%, your reply has more to do with the real-life depiction of Sid's last months, and less to do with the film. But it was also interesting, because there are 3 things I have never done in those 17 years since I first saw Sid and Nancy...I've never killed a girlfriend, I've never done heroin, and I've never known the actual facts regarding Sid Vicious's death. So your letter, not the film, caused me to seek out those rather grim details. The performances in S&N are what keep me coming back to watch again & again. The movie is quite vibrant and alive, while CK becomes the chilling opposite. Lastly, remember, Sid doesn't die onscreen in the movie, so I guess, in effect, you killed Sid Vicious (for me).

    ThaNks DaVE

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    Mike,



    I thought it was well known that "Sid & Nancy" was based on a true story.

    Didn't the movie in some small way make you wonder what had become of Sid Vicious?



    You obviously had the advantage of watching the movie oblivious to the real story surrounding Sid & Nancy.That must have made the film so ,to quote "vibrant and alive" for you.Maybe you were lucky in that regard.

    I grew up with all the hype surrounding Sid & the Sex Pistols.Stories about how the rest of the band used to unplug Sid's bass at concerts because he really couldn't play it.He really couldn't sing either.

    His self mutilation a la Iggy Pop.His addiction to drugs.I knew all this before i saw the movie.



    Thats why i mostly found the film depressing,especially the long sequences in the 'Chelsea' hotel room.The acting was superb though.

    A great drama if it hadn't been so real.I knew the ending before it started.I think secretly Sid Vicious did too.



    Dave.

  5. #5
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    I think Gary Oldman was wasted in this film.

    I too, knew the story before I saw the film. The other Pistols were too caricatured for me, too 'ott'. The actors were probably told to 'give it the big one' and they did, far too much.

    Also inaccuracies, like Johnny saying "..ever get the feeling you've been cheated..." on the Thames river boat trip, whereas he actually said this in the States some nine months later.



    Dreadful.

  6. #6
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    A punk and his girlfriend are walking down a street when she asks him to explain the whole punk thing to her. He promptly kicks over the first trash can he sees and garbage gets strewn all over. "You see that," he says. "That's punk!" "Oh, you mean like this," she says and kicks over another trash can into the street and even more garbage gets strewn all over everywhere. "No," he says, "that's just trendy."



    Anyway, that's kind of how I feel about the movie. Is it a great film? You betcha. Is it art? Sure. But is it punk? Well...Courtney Love's in it, so... wink

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    Great location shots in New York. Terrible depictions of the "other" Sex Pistols. But it did have wonderful mythmaking poeticism and managed to actually depict a romantic ending in it's dreamlike reunion of Sid and Nancy in the afterlife-or whatever that last scene meant! I'd like to see a director's cut.

  8. #8
    Heathcliff
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    I actually MET Sid Vicious and Nancy, the REAL ones. My band opened for The Sex Pistols in their last show at Winterland in San Francisco, and I also stayed at The Chelsea Hotel when Sid and Nancy were there.



    Gary Oldman was dead on, EXACTLY Sid... No one could have played him more perfectly. I mean, Sid actually kissed me on the forehead and invited us all to stay with him in his London home, when he came to our party in San Francisco (and ended up drunk and stoned in a closet, missing his plane, but that's the sequel...)



    Oh, by the way, Sid was framed. It was the drug dealer that killed Nancy. My band mates know all about what happened...



    I mean, the movie is really quite accurate. It's not really something you can watch all the time. But Gary Oldman is such and excellent actor, everything he does is great. But really, a great portrayall here from a PUNK ROCKER!!!!

  9. #9
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    i think you'll find 'the filth and the fury' a vastly superior film to 'swindle'

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by Heathcliff@Aug 3 2005, 05:51 PM

    I actually MET Sid Vicious and Nancy, the REAL ones. My band opened for The Sex Pistols in their last show at Winterland in San Francisco, and I also stayed at The Chelsea Hotel when Sid and Nancy were there.

    Gary Oldman was dead on, EXACTLY Sid... No one could have played him more perfectly. I mean, Sid actually kissed me on the forehead and invited us all to stay with him in his London home, when he came to our party in San Francisco (and ended up drunk and stoned in a closet, missing his plane, but that's the sequel...)

    Oh, by the way, Sid was framed. It was the drug dealer that killed Nancy. My band mates know all about what happened...

    I mean, the movie is really quite accurate. It's not really something you can watch all the time. But Gary Oldman is such and excellent actor, everything he does is great. But really, a great portrayall here from a PUNK ROCKER!!!!
    Heathcliff,



    Thanks for your interesting post.

    Was that the Sex Pistol's concert where they sang one song and walked off the stage - never to return ever again?

    They apparently couldn't get on with one another at that stage and each member wanted to get out of the band.

    Tell me, was Sid's bass plugged in at the Winterland gig?

    He had charisma but apparently little talent.

    By the way Heathcliff, what was the name of your band?Did you ever progress from punk into music's mainstream?



    Dave.

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    I'm very fond of 'Sid and Nancy' though I too grew up with punk and recognise its inaccuracies. It strikes me that it was never intended to be a straight reporting of facts - it has a poetic style which marks it as part of a particular artistic movement within films which concerned themselves with punk and post-punk - films like 'Subway', 'Repo Man', and 'Dogs in Space' (with which it shares an ending). Rather than sticking to linear narratives and sober character studies, these films concentrate on building up an atmosphere through snapshots of incidents and accidents woven together with surrealist narrative techniques. In that sense, 'Sid and Nancy' is as much a product of 1967 as of 1977.



    Jennie

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    What a shame "Heathcliff" didn't reply to the question about supporting the Sex Pistols at their last show.

  13. #13
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    Love "Sid and Nancy." Also love that Pistols album.

  14. #14
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    Re "Heathcliff" and the Pistols last show, it should be easy enough to look up and figure out. I've never checked, but there must be minute by minute coverage of the original group's activities.

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    I met Glen Matlock when he was on the Pistols' Filthy Lucre tour in the 90s - a classy gent!

  16. #16
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    Absolutely the worst biopic I've ever seen.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Country: Spain Rowdon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy bentley View Post
    Re "Heathcliff" and the Pistols last show, it should be easy enough to look up and figure out. I've never checked, but there must be minute by minute coverage of the original group's activities.
    I just checked, and heathcliff's band must have been the Nuns, unless it was the Avengers. Both bands very popular with my mate when we had a surfpunkpowerpop radio show inthe 90s. I remember the Nuns only because we played "Kiss Like a Nun" by the Boys, and then a track by the Nuns, and I said it was a pity that the Nuns hadn't done a song called "Kiss Like a Boy". Which my mate rightly ignored, because his job was to choose brilliant bits of punk vinyl and mine was to mull over unnecessarily complicated links.

    As for the film, I think it works generally and I like Cox's disregard for facts , but despite so many people saying Oldman was just like Sid Vicious what always annoyed me was the fact that he didn't look young enough. If you've seen the footage of Sid being interviewed in The Filth and the Fury, or even DOA, it's heartbreaking, because he's a child. He may have been an arse, but he shouldn't have lived so terribly and died so young. Very sad. And I don't think Gary Oldman gets that lost-boyish innocence and uselessness. (He was only 28 when he did it, but ...)





    BOY



    OLDMAN
    Last edited by Rowdon; 02-06-11 at 10:51 PM.

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