Movie: U2: Rattle and Hum
Release Date: November 4, 1988
Director: Phil Joanou
Starring: U2 (Paul David “Bono” Hewson, David Howell “The Edge” Evans, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr.)
Tag Lines: “They’re making a movie, we’re playing a rock ‘n roll concert.”
Relevance: In early 1983 while watching MTV at the ripe young age of twelve, I first heard the dulcet sounds of Bono and the gang when the video for “New Year’s Day” played on the music channel. My ears perked and my eyes stayed transfixed on these four lads from Dublin the entire four minutes and sixteen seconds that the video played. I was definitely intrigued. A few months later my eyes and hears were affected once again by the fab four of my generation when I saw the video for “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” Now I was officially hooked.
I received the cassette of U2’s “War” that following Christmas and wore it out almost instantly. I played it non-stop as I adored every single song that was on it, which was rare for me at the time. I mean, there was always one or two songs that I would fast forward on other artist’s albums, but not this one. It was sheer rock perfection. The same exact thing happened in late 1984. I was watching MTV and the group’s video for “Pride (In the Name of Love)” played. I was thrilled. More music from this group that none of my other friends listened to. I received the cassette of “The Unforgettable Fire” that Christmas (the same time I received Madonna’s “Like A Virgin”) and again was in awe. I was now officially a fan.
I eventually purchased U2’s first two albums on cassette, “Boy” and “October,” and listened to them non-stop while I waited for their next masterpiece. That masterpiece, “The Joshua Tree,” did not arrive until 1987. Thankfully in between I had two live albums from them as well as their Live Aid performance to gush over. Nothing prepared me for what was about to come though. “The Joshua Tree” was the album of all albums. It was (and is) an iconic record and remains one of my favorite albums of both U2 and any other artist on the planet. Little did I know that my experience with them would be heightened soon again with the release of their album and documentary film ‘U2: Rattle and Hum.’
By this time, everyone I knew was listening to and loving U2. They were no longer the small hidden group that only I listened to, but that didn’t matter to me. They had made it big time, and I loved it. I purchased “Rattle and Hum” the album as soon as it was released and was in theaters to see its accompanying documentary a month later. It was probably the first real rock documentary that I saw in theaters, and I absolutely loved it. Behind the scenes, up close and personal, live and on stage, it was everything I wanted to see of “my boys” and more.
‘Rattle and Hum’ got weak reviews from critics and did not do much business in the theaters, but I didn’t care one bit. I loved U2, I loved their music and I loved this film. As soon as it was available to purchase on VHS, I got it and watched it over and over again. I eventually wore out my original VHS tape and had to buy my second copy. I couldn’t be without it for one second.
I have loved many bands in my life. Queen, INXS, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, Depeche Mode, REM were (and are) some of my favorites, but none of them even come close to U2. I have loved every single one of their albums up through today, I have seen them numerous times in concert and I applaud that the four men are still together creating music and trying to make the planet a better place as best they could.
Today’s Thoughts: ‘U2: Rattle and Hum’ still inspires me to this day. I love all of U2’s music, but there is something so uplifting and powerful with the songs that are intertwined in this film. Watching it today just solidifies that they were and are the greatest rock band on the planet. Egocentric, humble, reserved and outlandish, they have to be the four coolest dudes in existence.
I know a lot of people that don’t appreciate the artistry and music U2. Back in the 1980’s I would argue and throw shade at those people. Now I don’t care. If you like them, great. If you don’t, great. I am going to listen to them (loudly) regardless.
‘U2: Rattle and Hum’ is a pretty decent snapshot of where the band was in 1987 and 1988. A now nostalgic look at Bono, The Edge, Adam and Larry, it’s still fun, entertaining and exciting for their fans. And that music. I could listen to it all day long. In fact, I probably will.
Ways to Watch: YouTube, DVD Availability.