HIT SO HARD
Release Date: April 13, 2012
Starring: Overcoming Addiction
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Rating: Not Rated
Runtime: 90 minutes
Distributor: Variance Films
Director: P. David Ebersole
Producer: Todd Hughes, Christina Soletti
Writer: P. David Ebersole, Todd Hughes
Address Comments To:Dylan Marchetti, President/Founder, Variance Films
99 Madison Avenue, Suite 614
New York, NY 10016
Phone: (212) 537-6769
Website: www.variancefilms.com; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
HIT SO HARD’S engrossing portrait of overcoming drug addiction is drawn largely from 40 hours of old home movies. Schemel dug them up in her garage after gaining lasting sobriety. Combined with fresh interview footage, it shows how heroin slipped into her life and took it over. It also shows how it destroyed the lives of those around her, including Kurt Cobain, the founder of the rock band Nirvana and husband of Courtney Love, and the bassist of Love and Schemel’s band, Kristen Pfaff. The movie also shows some sweet family scenes of Cobain and Love before he killed himself in 1994. These scenes make his drug addiction and death even more poignant. Finally, Schemel freely discusses her downward spiral into heroin and crack addiction and homelessness after she and Love’s band had a falling out in 1998.
HIT SO HARD is engrossing, but episodic. The stark presentation of drug addition in the 1990s rock world is sad, but ultimately there’s an uplifting ending of survival with an anti-drug message. In fact, the movie’s main thrust lies in showing how Schemel’s addictions overwhelmed her life and those of her friends and band mates. Schemel started drinking to excess at age 11 and believes she inherited her addictions from her parents.
Despite the anti-drug message, the movie contains lots of strong foul language. Also, it doesn’t shy away from portraying and discussing the main character’s openly lesbian lifestyle. There is also some footage of on-stage tantrums by Love during concerts where she throws or kicks equipment. In addition, though some of the home movie footage of them is sweet, there is also footage of Love and Kurt Cobain in a drug-addled incoherence around their infant child. At one point, the child was taken away from them, but returned before Cobain’s final personal spiral into addiction and death.
On a side issue that’s not really dealt with in the movie, it should be noted that the “alternative rock” music of Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, and Patty Schemel came out of the punk rock and grunge rock movements of the 1980s and 1990s. It also was a radical feminist, pro-homosexual reaction against the conservative trends of the 1980s evidenced by Reagan administration and Evangelical Christians (Cobain was openly pro-homosexual and Love is an ardent feminist). The movie itself places its main character’s role as a female rock drummer in a feminist context that includes her lesbian lifestyle. The idea of being a feminist drummer is seen as an issue of female empowerment. Apparently, this idea captured Schemel’s imagination as a lesbian youth and punk rock admirer living in Seattle in the 1980s.
Thus, despite the strong anti-drug message in HIT SO HARD, the movie’s worldview is mixed.
HIT SO HARD is engrossing, but episodic. The stark presentation of drug addition in the 1990s rock world is sad. Even so, ultimately there’s an uplifting ending of survival, including an anti-drug message. However, this positive content is marred by lots of strong foul language. Also, the main character always has had an openly lesbian lifestyle. The movie also contains some echoes of feminist empowerment. Thus, its worldview is somewhat mixed. So, HIT SO HARD will not be a hit for media wise moviegoers.