New Wave (not French) Movies
January 4, 2009 11:09 PM   Subscribe

Looking for New Wave movies. No, not the French New Wave. Movies from the 80s and beyond that were significantly influence by New Wave music, including using the music on their soundtrack and having characters that were New Wavers. Some punk crossover is fine.
posted by Astro Zombie to Media & Arts (40 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
True Stories? Or is that too late in the Talking Heads career?

Rock 'n' Roll Highschool?
posted by piratebowling at 11:17 PM on January 4, 2009

Breakfast Club? Pretty in Pink? Anything by John Hughes.
posted by mattoxic at 11:34 PM on January 4, 2009

Lots of John Hughes:
Pretty in Pink (classic example; the title comes from a Psychedelic Furs song)
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Sixteen Candles
Breakfast Club

Others of the high school genre:
Valley Girl (aside from Rock'n'Roll High School, possibly the quintessential non-John Hughes new wave high school movie)
Better Off Dead (though with a tedious Van Halen animated interlude)

non-high school genre movies:
Repo Man
Liquid Sky
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains
Sid and Nancy
posted by scody at 11:35 PM on January 4, 2009


Three movies about yuppies lost in hipsterville:
Something Wild
Desperately Seeking Susan
After Hours
posted by hydrophonic at 11:40 PM on January 4, 2009

Semi-Obscure: Slaughterhouse Rock, which featured Toni Basil in the film, and a soundtrack by Devo. Sadly, the movie itself sucks.
posted by SansPoint at 11:42 PM on January 4, 2009

The Forbidden Zone strikes me as an utterly New Wave American Style movie. And then there's The Nomi Song about a quintessential new waver, Klaus Nomi.
posted by maryh at 11:44 PM on January 4, 2009

SLC Punk. There are Mods!

The Decline of Western Civilization (albeit somewhat derided).

Hobgoblins had a new wave band in it--the Fontanelles. I saw it on MST3K. "Thank you, that was our one song. Good night!" I remember them only because the guitarist was also in the Braindead Soundmachine.

Gregg Araki is sort of post-post-new-waveish in a grossorama kind of way.

Revenge of the Nerds has a performance piece in it satirizing New Wave. We got Poindexter on the vi-o-lin..
posted by ostranenie at 12:06 AM on January 5, 2009

oh, and there's some bad new wave at the dance in Once Bitten.
posted by scody at 12:11 AM on January 5, 2009

Lola by Fassbinder struck me as new wave when it came out.
posted by telstar at 12:11 AM on January 5, 2009

Downtown '81 is a great film about the new york no-wave scene, starring Jean-Michel Basquiat, with musical performances by DNA, among other no-wave and new wave bands, features a small role played by Debby Harry of Blondie.

Richard Kerns did collaborations with a number of new wave and no wave artists including Lydia Lunch and Sonic Youth (he did the cover picture for the album Sister), including one early film where a skinny long haired Henry Rollins is chasing Lydia Lunch through the woods with the intention of sexually assaulting her. Kerns films do tend to be disturbing.
posted by idiopath at 12:14 AM on January 5, 2009

Liquid Sky 1982, netherworld NYC film about aliens dicovering sex & drugs downtown. Great, weird soundtrack (more synth-wave than new, i suppose) by Clive Smith & Brenda Hutchinson.
Downtown 81 1981, day-in-the-life of Basquiat, with an all-star cast (Debbie Harry, Arto Lindsay, Vincent Gallo, Fab 5 Freddy) and great soundtrack, with several live performances shot on location at downtown clubs as well.
Better off Dead My favorite 80s comedy, with a Rupert Hine soundtrack. E.G. Daily performs two songs during the dance scene.
Valley Girl Mentioned above, but this stands out as one of my favorite soundtracks, and Josie Cotton performs at the prom.
Some Kind Of Wonderful
posted by stachemaster at 12:18 AM on January 5, 2009

Oh man, the Josie Cotton prom scene is legendary.


Goonies (Cyndi Lauper on the soundtrack)
The Hunger (starring David Bowie and featuring Bauhaus!)
posted by teamparka at 12:23 AM on January 5, 2009

Also, let's not forget The Lost Boys and its fantastic soundtrack. It's basically a who's-who of New Wave and 80s pop.
posted by teamparka at 12:28 AM on January 5, 2009

24 Hour Party People
posted by artdrectr at 12:54 AM on January 5, 2009

I just got a copy of Return of the Living Dead.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:36 AM on January 5, 2009

Jubilee? It came out in 1978. Punk must have been dead by then. And it's got Adam and the Ants on the soundtrack.
posted by hifimofo at 2:01 AM on January 5, 2009

Watch the first film directed by Susan "Desperately Seeking Susan" Seidelman, Smithereens (1982).
It's much more authentic than the Madonna film, co-stars Punk progenitor Richard Hell, and depicts a grim future for a teen trying to be famous for fifteen minutes. Entering the Holland Tunnel is her descent into Hell.

A sweeter film from the same year,
Starstruck, is an a musical from Australia, with a teenage protagonist more ambitious than talented. Directed by Gillian "Little Women" Armstrong.

Also good were "Liquid Sky," "Valley Girl," and "Return of the Living Dead."

"Decline of Western Civilization," "Repo Man," and "Sid and Nancy" were considered more punk than new wave when they were released, for what it's worth.
posted by doncoyote at 2:03 AM on January 5, 2009

I second Downtown '81 and Repo Man. Debbie Harry also appears in Wild Style, which is more about early hip hop than new wave (it is not very good, but it does feature many of the performers and artists from the documentary Style Wars).
posted by val5a at 2:05 AM on January 5, 2009

Night of the Comet!
posted by Lord_Pall at 3:07 AM on January 5, 2009

Donnie Darko
posted by halcyon_daze at 3:18 AM on January 5, 2009

Weird Science and Back to School, both with Oingo Boingo goodness!
posted by ApathyGirl at 3:44 AM on January 5, 2009

Can the Warriors come out to play?
posted by Pollomacho at 5:04 AM on January 5, 2009

Dogs in Space - An Australian movie starring Michael Hutchence.
posted by TheOtherGuy at 5:15 AM on January 5, 2009

Urgh! A Music War

This may be more of an artifact of my faulty memory, but Diva has new wave influences, or punkish characters, or something.

Since idiopath and stachemaster mentioned DNA/Arto Lindsay, I just wan to point out that he shows up briefly in Desperately Seeking Susan too.
posted by hydrophonic at 5:34 AM on January 5, 2009

not sure if this entirely fits the criteria (it's been about 15 years since i've seen it) but nico icon?
posted by msconduct at 7:10 AM on January 5, 2009

Edge of Seventeen
posted by brujita at 7:51 AM on January 5, 2009

Seconding "The Hunger"...
posted by kaseijin at 8:06 AM on January 5, 2009

Seconding Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains
Grosse Pointe Blank has a pretty new-wavey soundtrack
posted by kid_dynamite at 8:45 AM on January 5, 2009

Americathon has at least one Elvis Costello performance.

Alex Cox's Straight to Hell has a little bit of overlap with New Wave.

Stuart Copeland's soundtrack to Rumblefish is pretty New Wavy.

Also, Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
posted by newmoistness at 9:07 AM on January 5, 2009

Modern Girls, which featured Depeche Mode's "But Not Tonight"

And it's not a movie, but TV's Square Pegs had a new wave character, a theme song by the Waitresses, and an appearance by Devo
posted by faunafrailty at 9:15 AM on January 5, 2009

Breaking Glass
posted by Su at 9:24 AM on January 5, 2009

posted by freq at 9:41 AM on January 5, 2009

Dogs in Space
The Hunger
Near Dark
posted by gonzo_ID at 12:21 PM on January 5, 2009

No love for Times Square?
posted by Joe Beese at 1:06 PM on January 5, 2009

There's New Wave Hookers if your search extends to NSFW material.
posted by PueExMachina at 4:52 PM on January 5, 2009

Suburbia for sure.
posted by apricot at 5:45 PM on January 5, 2009

I also recommend Smithereens. I was obsessed with that movie for a few years (well, it corresponded with my Richard Hell obsession at the time).
posted by Mael Oui at 8:31 PM on January 5, 2009

Out of the Blue - a Dennis Hopper film from 1980 with the underrated Pointed Sticks

posted by Country Dick Montana at 9:21 PM on January 5, 2009

2nding Rad.
posted by Bobby Bittman at 9:43 PM on January 5, 2009

I think Diva counts, it's a gloriously alive film, it's colors and look definitely inspired by New Wave.
posted by Ruby Stevens at 7:13 AM on January 6, 2009

« Older Help me decide what to learn!   |   I know he doesn't love me, why can't I leave? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.