Riding in Vans with Boys (2003)

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Release Year: 2003
Rating: 6/10

In 2002, Blink-182, Green Day, and Jimmy Eat World joined together for the Pop Disaster tour; one of the greatest line ups that will never happen again. But there was one more band on the line up that people never even heard of: Kut U Up. Their adventures on the tour are chronicled in this film. You would think with such a great line up, there would be some awesome tour stories and footage. While there is some great backstage footage, the film comes off as a mess mainly because it takes place from Kut U Up‘s perspective.

The story of how the band got on the tour is interesting: Blink-182 got them in pretty much. What made them different from other unknown groups they could’ve picked was these guys weren’t signed. They played the local scene when they weren’t working their day jobs. It makes you feel proud of the band, that is until you meet them. All of the members come off as drunk immature assholes. These are the guys that have a couple drinks and are ready to run around naked in the bar. Aside from performing, they do nothing but drink and be annoying in the film. If you thought Blink were bad with their dick and fart jokes, these guys are ten times worse. They give each other gross dares, are loud, destructive, and talk about touching each other’s dicks so much you’d think they were in middle school. Unfortunately, they are the main reason the film doesn’t work.

The film has a similar set up to Urethera Chronicles; it has interviews with the artists, performances, and a ton of footage. Of course the best stuff comes from Blink and Green Day. The interviews range from interesting to really silly. There weren’t too many interviews with the other bands, but there are some great moments from the backstage footage. Some that I really enjoyed were when Billie Joe Armstrong dumped an entire cake on Mark Hoppus, which prompted Mark to give Billie a big hug. Later on, Billie bites Mark’s nipple. Don’t ask me why. Another notable moment is when Billie convinces Chris (singer of Kut U Up) to let him brand his ass with the pool cue. The prank ends in second degree burns. But it’s not all goofing off. There’s plenty of soundcheck footage showing the band rehearsing and the stage getting set up which is great for any Blink or Green Day fan to take in.

Performances from each band are featured and they’re pretty good. Green Day provides an energetic version of “Hitchin’ a Ride,” while Blink runs through “Carousel,” one of their most popular songs. There’s a clip of Jimmy Eat World’s “Get it Faster,” but that’s the most screen time the band gets. Since they had a European tour, they couldn’t stay on for all the shows. There’s even a clip of the Kut U Up guys bombarding their last performance in garish costumes and lots of glitter. The movie would’ve been more interesting if Jimmy Eat World had a bigger part in it. There are a few interviews and some onstage footage, but that’s it. Most of the time you forget they’re even part of the tour until one of the other members mentions their name. This along with the unlikable Kut U Up make them film forgettable.

Overall, the film gets 6/10. While there is some interesting footage of all the bands interacting with each other, Kut U Up ruins the whole thing. You’re supposed to feel happy for them that they got a big break, but you end up being annoyed by their drunken foolishness, wondering how they aren’t dead yet. The movie is hardly worth your time and money. The Pop Disaster Tour was an interesting concept and it would be awesome to see a proper documentary about the makings of it or even just live footage from it. Instead, we get this sorry excuse of a film featuring a bunch of unlikable assholes.

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