DVD-R Hell - Rock: It's Your Decision
June 6, 2011
Brad Jones: Hey...propaganda! It only took me three episodes in to get into Reefer Madness territory. So let's find out why rock music is evil, and why you will probably go to hell for listening to it.
[Random clips from the film are shown as Brad does his voiceover]
Brad (vo): Rock: It's Your Decision is a fundamentalist paranoia film about why rock music is a tool of Satan. But according to the movie, when you go to hell, you'll have plenty of rock music to listen to. [cut to a still image of the fiery pits of Hell] Errr...shit, actually, it's all probably just going to be [picture appears of] Nickelback.
Brad: First and foremost, this is not a video of me attacking religion. I would be saying these things no matter what group put out this arguably slanderous film. It's a stupid movie made by very, very stupid people who don't speak for their entire religion.
[opening credits of the film replete with concert footage plays]
Brad (vo): The movie opens at an unnamed concert, and suddenly, I feel like I did when I wrote the Grizzly II video, same production quality and everything. Maybe this movie is unfinished as well, it is only 50 minutes. The music we're hearing is coming from the collection of Jeff, a Christian teenager constantly fighting with his mother over rock music.
Jeff's Mom: Jeff! I'm sick and tired of telling you to turn that junk down, now turn it off!
Jeff: Aw, mom, get off my back! A guy can't get any privacy around here!
Brad: You think you can't find privacy now, wait 'til you discover masturbation!
Brad (vo): Jeff's mother thinks his music is evil, but let's listen to that song again
Rock Band: (singing) We're gonna have a good time/We're gonna have a good time.
Brad: God forbid someone sing about having a non-specific good time. The only way this song would be any more unthreatening is if it was this...
[the opening concert footage is replayed with "Just Hanging Out" by Damien Carter on the soundtrack]
Damien Carter: (singing) Just hanging out, hanging out/Hanging out with my family/Having ourselves a party.
Brad (vo): Mom has a quick talk with dad about their horrible excuse for a son.
Jeff's Mom: I think maybe I'll call his youth pastor, Jim Owen. Maybe he'll be able to remind Jeff what the Bible says about obedience.
Jeff's Dad: Good idea.
Brad: Or...you could remind him about obedience. You are his parent.
Brad (vo): We meet some of Jeff's friends at church, and if they're any more dangerous than Jeff, I'm sure they're on the verge of busting out a Ouija board.
Jeff: I'm getting tired of hearing every evangelist come in and tell me how sinful I am. Last year, it was "Get your hair cut."
Brad (vo): What's wrong with your haircut? In the early '80s, everyone wanted the [image of] Charles Rocket. Once church is over, he returns to his wicked, sinful ways of having taste in music.
Jeff's Mom: You're early. How was the youth meeting tonight?
Jeff: Oh, it was pretty good. Two kids got saved.
Brad: [scratching his head in confusion] Was there an exorcism at this church service?! Or a fire?! He should really more specific with that statement.
Brad (vo): I like how the song he's listening to is literally just repeating the phrase "Devils and Demons."
Brad: Usually, you have to play the album in reverse to get those lyrics!
Brad (vo): Jeff's mother meets with the youth minister, Brother Owen, to get some insight on Jeff's fascination with rock.
Owen: Mrs. Simms, kids identify so closely with their music that if someone attacks their music, it's a personal attack on the kids themselves.
Brad: Sometimes, that's true. I hate most of today's music, and I also hate most of today's youth.
Owen: Do you watch soap operas on television?
Jeff's Mom: Yes, but what does...
Owen: Mrs. Simms, Jeff could scripturally come up with the same arguments for why soap operas are bad as you could for why rock music is bad.
Brad: Again, very true. Back in the '80s, my love for Tears For Fears did stem from my mom's love of [image of] Patch and Kayla. Okay, I love Patch and Kayla, too. Days of Our Lives was awesome in the '80s! That's when it had [image appears of Eve and...] Nick the Pimp!
Brad (vo): Here's where Brother Owen starts to lose me.
Owen: Rock music is one of the most difficult things a Christian young person must deal with.
Brad: That and correctly learning about safe sex.
Jeff: Brother Owen, I've been so confused lately.
Brad (vo): "I still don't know if I've come to terms with Phil Collins taking over for Peter Gabriel." One of the things that really amazes me here is that this came out in 1982. I know we still have prudes and puritans and nanny states lurking about, even to this day, but was there enough of an audience to make this film? [image of Young American Films logo as seen on Mystery Science Theater 3000] This isn't the Young American Films era, [cut to video of Elvis Presley performing] and it is a whole 26 years after Elvis could only be filmed from the waist up on The Ed Sullivan Show. [video from the proper film resumes] There was really enough people who saw rock as a threat?
Brad: What teenager is this movie trying to speak to? Because at this point in time, I think most of them were more concerned about how to sneak into Caligula than what their rock music means.
Brad (vo): I guess people just needed something to complain about before violent video games became a political issue. Anyway, back to your generalizing...
Owen: Mocking God, the occult...aren't these things found in rock music?
Brad: That's your opinion. You made Amy Grant famous.
Brad (vo): The counselor cuts a deal with Jeff that he can't listen to any rock music for two weeks.
Jeff: No music for two weeks?!
Brad: [waving his hands mockingly as if startled] Jump back!
Brad (vo): He even offers to give Jeff some choice selections from his own collection of music.
Owen: These are some albums and a couple of tapes from my own personal collection.
Brad (vo): "It's this new up-and-comer named Marilyn Manson. I think he's going places. Oh, and here's some Godsmack." Also, if Jeff chooses to listen to rock music, he must provide ten verses from the Bible on why that's a good decision.
Owen: Opinions change all the time, but God's word never changes.
Brad: Like the Old and New Testaments, completely the same!
Brad (vo): Still, though, no rock music for two weeks? He better take up something else to pass the time, like drugs and murder...[enter Melissa] or, hey, how 'bout some kinda Kim Cattrall action?!
Melissa: [watching TV] Oh, no! Jeff, look, he's gonna shoot her! [Melissa spills a bowl of popcorn on Jeff's pants]
Brad (vo): "Hmm, wanna know a secret? That's not melted butter on my pants." This is Jeff's friend, Melissa, who comes to remind him about the concert they were going to.
Melissa: Jeff, did you get the tickets to the rock concert?
Brad (vo): "I'm so excited about it, that I'm not even going to say what the name of the band is!" Jeff declines the concert, which naturally upsets Melissa.
Melissa: But we waited almost...almost three months for these tickets. I thought this concert was going to be my birthday present.
Jeff: Well, look...you can still go.
Brad: It's okay, Dexy's Midnight Runners will be around for years to come!
Brad (vo): Jeff is suddenly taking up the opinion that all rock is evil because of a book that told him to think that way.
Jeff: Here, you should read some of this, too. I never realized before how bad a lot of that music is.
Brad: You needed a book to tell you that "Ode to Billy Joe" is a terrible song?
Brad (vo): This upsets Melissa so much that she threatens to go to the concert with someone else.
Melissa: And I'm going to the concert, maybe with Dennis! He'd love to go out with me!
Brad (vo): "He has individuality, personality, thinks for himself, sticks up for his tastes,,,come to think of it, Dennis is a much better person than you!" So when Melissa doesn't listen, Jeff decides to preach to his friend Marty.
Jeff: [throwing Marty a copy of a Lynyrd Skynyrd LP with black tape covering the text] Look at this one. You see what I mean?
Brad (vo): "This one has black tape covering the band's name, too. They're all like this!" You know, I can almost buy the counselor's genuousity. He has an opinion I disagree with, sure, but at least he's nice about it, and has clearly held these beliefs for a long time. Jeff is suddenly acting like some judgmental jerkass who is flailing around accusations without any evidence to back it up.
Jeff: Some of these groups, some are even involved in the occult.
Brad: Name one. Go ahead, you brought it up. Name one example. I'm not saying there aren't any, but if you're going to paint an entire genre of music as occultist back it up with at least one example.
Brad (vo): But all he does is switch the topic on how bad it is that kids listen to Kiss.
Jeff: I talked to two different record clerks at the shop at the mall. They said that the average age of a person buying a Kiss album is twelve years old. Twelve!
Brad (vo): It's okay, that changed by the time they saw Kiss Meets Phantom of the Park.
Brad: Wait, you went into a record store asking about children? Can this movie have at least one voice of reason?!
Marty: Don't you think you're going off the deep end? I mean, everyone has a right to their own taste in music.
Brad: Thank you. This movie finally has a hero. And let me guess: they're gonna treat him as a villain.
Marty: Hey, if you're going to get rid of these albums, throw them my way, huh?
Brad (vo): "Except for the Frampton/Bee Gees Sgt. Pepper album. You can keep that!" After days go by of Jeff's social life falling apart, he has to confide once again to Brother Owen.
Jeff: It's been six days now, and sometimes I want to change that channel so badly. But I won't.
Brad: Yeah, fuck free will!
Brad (vo): There's one part here that I really love and it isn't because of what's going on in the scene. It's a part where Jeff goes to a record store, and it reminds me of how much I miss having a huge, old-school record store in our mall. I wax nostalgic over shit like this all the time. The scene itself just has Jeff trying to talk to people about their taste in music.
Jeff: I tried to interview two teenagers in the record department. But when they found out I was a Christian, they hassled me a little bit.
Brad: They probably hassled you because you went up to strangers and called them godless heathens.
Brad (vo): But, still, he cannot resist the allure of some jammin' tunes.
Jeff: The beat just grabbed me. I couldn't get it out of my mind, until I got home and played one of the tapes you gave me. That's just weird, being controlled like that.
Brad: How dare you enjoy something that you like!
Brad (vo): You know, at this point, this is getting kind of sad. We're looking at a movie about how this kid's elders are taking something as innocent as his taste in music and using it to destroy his personality and his life.
Owen: Some sinful habits I had to get rid of instantly, but other things...things that had played a big part of my life. Well, I had to give them up.
Brad: Not all rock music is about sex and drugs, just like not all Christians think that rock music is evil.
Owen: Now, with the work almost completed, you're facing some difficult choices. It's not as easy as a simple "yes or no," is it?
Brad: Yes, it is that easy. Just be a good person. If there is a God, I don't think he cares if you have The Golden Age of Wireless by Thomas Dolby, although I'm sure some of the characters in this movie would prefer that you listen to "She Blinded Me with Creationism."
Brad (vo): But Melissa tries to cheer Jeff up by inviting him to a party.
Melissa: Jeff, wanna have some fun?
Brad: Aw, good idea! This is like inviting Morrissey to a pep rally.
Brad (vo): As you can imagine, things don't go well. Someone turns on rock music, which sends Jeff into a pussy...[chuckle] I mean, a frenzy.
Marty: This is a party. What do you want, "Amazing Grace?"
Jeff: That's our youth group in there...Then why did you bother to invite me planned to play that noise?
Marty: Man, it's like I told you before, don't push it down my throat. Now, if you want to have some fun, okay,. but if you don't like it, just go home to mama!
Brad: No, no, I want him to stay. Stay and tell me how that instrumental rock song is evil. So far, you've only had a problem with lyrics. So what's the matter with this one?
Brad (vo): Oh, you're not gonna answer? Okay. This far in the movie, I'm not entirely convinced that the audience is supposed to be rooting for Jeff. Who could possibly root for him? Maybe this is a propaganda film on the flipside. It's about how Jeff's religion is turning him into a terrible person.
Jeff: [accusing his mother] You're a hypocrite! A hypocrite...
[Jeff's mom slaps him in the face, followed by the sound of a studio audience's cheers and applause]
Brad (vo): Jeff returns to the party because if his life is going in a downward spiral of depression, he's taking his friends with him.
Jeff: [confiding to Melissa] I've been insulted and made fun of the last two weeks.
Brad: Oh, you've been insulted?!
Jeff: [in one scene arguing with Melissa] I've learned quite a bit these last two weeks, and I'm not going to stick around here and be a...a hypocrite! [then in another arguing with his mother] You think you're so perfect, well, you're not! With your nose in the soap operas all day, they're nothing but sex with commercials!
Brad: You should have gotten your ass kicked!
Brad (vo): Jeff finally decides that friends and feelings are overrated, so he turns his back on all rock music.
Jeff: [confiding to Melissa, who looks very resigned] I want people to think I'm different when they see me. I want them to think that Christianity is more than just going to church.
Brad (vo): "I want people to think that Christianity is judging someone based on their taste in pop culture." The movie even ends with Jeff giving a sermon to the local youth group about his discoveries on rock music.
Jeff: I want you to think about these questions I'm going to ask. How many of you plan to leave church tonight to go out and get drunk? Or how many of you are gonna go out and shoot up with some heroin or smoke a joint? If you're shocked by these questions, or think they're a little funny, maybe you should take a close look at the music you've been listening to.
Brad: Because music is on par with shooting up heroin.
Jeff: Just walk into some record store that's playing a really good, get-down beat, see what the music does to you. Have any of you seen a rock concert on TV, or maybe even been to one personally? How do the audience react to the music? Well, do they sit quietly in their seats and listen? [chuckles] Man, I sure wouldn't! No, they were all en masse swaying and clapping and dancing and jumping to the beat. They were actually being controlled!
Brad: Much like how comedy makes you laugh, drama makes you cry, horror makes you scared, these are emotions, people, and emotion is a sin!
Brad (vo): Please, tell us more of your findings!
Jeff: I did survey out at the mall, and four out of the five teenagers I talked to said that the lyrics weren't important as long as the music was pretty good.
Brad: [laughs] The fifth person was just some guy buying "Disco Duck."
Brad (vo): But, come on...we need names, we need titles. Tell us what is evil, Jeff!
Jeff: Here's a song by The Eagles, used to be one of my favorite songs: "One of These Nights." "I've been searching for the daughter of the devil himself/I've been searching for an angel in white/I've been looking for a woman who's a little of both?!"
Brad: You have a problem with "One of These Nights" by The Eagles? Wait 'til you get to "Hotel California!"
Jeff: Listen to how many of them have something to do with Satanism and the occult: "Sympathy for the Devil..."
Brad: A song about the atrocities of man.
Jeff: ..."Dancing with Mr. D" by The Rolling Stones.
Brad: It's about death, not the Devil.
Jeff: "Devil's Den" and "Dance with the Dragon" by Jefferson Starship.
Brad: "Dance with the Dragon?" I think you're confusing Satanism with the Chinese Year of the Dragon!
Jeff: "Evil Ways" and "Soul Sacrifice" by Santana.
Brad: Yes, I can see how you would have misinterpreted the line "You've got to change your evil ways."
Jeff: And listen to these by the rock group AC/DC: "Rock 'n' Roll Damnation," "Let There Be Rock," "Highway to Hell," and this is my favorite right here, "Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be."
Brad: Uh-huh. First of all, metaphor, but also, it's a song about how a woman causes a shallow man everlasting torment.
Jeff: The Captain & Tennille even tried to change their images with songs like "You Need a Woman Tonight."
Brad (vo): Ahh! The Captain & Tennille is a sin now, too! Calling The Captain & Tennille a sin is a sin against the word sin!
Brad: Dude, dude, I totally want to get in on this, too! [reaches down and picks up a stack of records, starting with the Miami Vice soundtrack album]. Okay, okay...ah! "You Belong to the City" - like how Sodom and Gomorrah was a city?! [moves the record to his side, revealing More, More, More by The Andrea True Connection] Pfft.."More, More, More" - the words spoken by a porn star! [sets it aside and comes across Cuts Like a Knife by Bryan Adams] Oh..."Cuts Like a Knife" - Sure, let's advocate mass murder! [moves it and reveals ELO's Greatest Hits by The Electric Light Orchestra] "Evil Woman" - Need I say more? Fucking Jezebel! [finally, it's Seven and the Ragged Tiger by Duran Duran] "The Reflex" - Thank you, a song about an erection!
Brad (vo): I could go on and on with this, but here's where I stop...
Jeff: What are the main themes of rock music?! When I went through my own record collection, I was shocked! And what about the lifestyles of the popular groups and artists?! Some are admitted homosexuals!
Brad: Kid...go fuck yourself! Your decision is to not listen to rock music...fine. My decision is that I don't have to listen to any more of what you have to say, because as soon as you bring your homophobic beliefs into this one-sided conversation, I am done with you!
Brad (vo): You want to say music is evil? Fine, that's your right, but you at least have to back it up. This is a really, really depressing film. I'm not kidding. This is actually one of the more depressing things I've sat through, and I watched Salo and A Serbian Film! This is a film about a kid whose love for music is transmorphed into something quote-unquote "evil" by his paranoid parents until he is turned into a raving, bigoted fanatic who loses his friends, his personality and any sense of independence. You can make your point without writing off an entire genre of music as a tool of Devil-worshipping, drug-abusing homosexuals. That makes you sound fucking crazy, especially when your examples are debunked!
Jeff: Everything that we do should be to glorify Jesus Christ! [he then smashes a record upon the pew]
Brad: Rock...it's your decision! And I've dediced that the most likely conclusion is that ten years after this movie takes place, Jeff probably hung himself. [Brad stretches his face awkwardly before settling upon a wide, mischievious grin, immediately followed by Lloyd the cat jumping atop the couch and walking across]
[End credits appear to the tune of "The Reflex" by Duran Duran]