Somehow it took all the way until 2009’s The Hangover for Todd Phillips to become a star director. To be honest, I didn’t really realize that he wasn’t part of the larger cultural vernacular until people started calling it his breakout film. Many of us would of course remember him back to his work on Road Trip, or at least Old School. He has long been producing relatively high quality comedies that have pushed the level of raunchiness in the mainstream. Less well known however is that Todd Phillips peaked much earlier than any of those films. In 1994 Phillips made a film better, smarter, stupider, funnier, darker, sadder, and, most importantly, infinitely more depraved than anything he has done since. It also happened to be a documentary.
Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies was originally intended to be Todd Phillips’ NYU film school thesis film, though he ended up dropping out to finish it. Being an NYU art student myself, I’m insanely jealous of how damn good this movie is. It’s also crazy as hell. Hated is a portrait, and later a chronicle of the last days of punk rock bogeyman GG Allin. If you’re not familiar with Mr. Allin, he was basically “not giving a fuck” personified. He was a punk musician who had little musical talent, always performed in the nude, threw feces on his audience, ended each show covered in blood (his own), and eventually died after leading an audience in a foot chase with police through the East Village in 1993, ya heard? Basically, he was the punk.
The earlier parts of the film consist of a lot of interviews with Allin and his bandmates. The drummer is always naked, and Allin himself is on insane amounts of drugs the whole time, so the interviews are as disturbing as they are entertaining. This guys life was crazy. He was named Jesus Christ Allin at birth. Seriously. His dad thought it fit to raise him as “Jesus Christ”, telling him that he would be the new messiah. Now that’s emotional baggage! Allin basically describes his father as a slightly crazier Jim Jones. All this wacky stuff does a lot of the explanation for the absolute insanity we see from Allin’s actions in the second half of the flick. But the dude also just had some kind of special crazy. He’s like an X-Man whose super power is utter depravity and hedonism.
We get to see a couple of his shows, as well as a lecture that Phillips convinced him to do at NYU. Think that went well? I’ll give you a hint: it ends with NYU security forcibly subduing a filthy naked GG while students run from the room. The only version I’ve ever seen is the 2007 re-release, which contains footage of his very last show and the aforementioned chase that ensued on Avenue A. It’s pretty wild to see, especially knowing Allin died the next day. It’s hard to tell whether Phillips got bananas lucky in choosing Allin as his subject or if he’s just really really talented. I guess it’s probably a bit of both. You couldn’t have written this thing better though.
There’s a lot more crazy stuff that happens in this movie, but I’d rather not spoil it. Now I realize I’ve been painting this thing as good just based on it’s shock value, but really it’s more than that. Well, sort of. It’s hard to explain, but the profundity comes from this guys complete, almost religious devotion to shocking people, and Phillips’ commitment to capturing it. Allin’s fervent pursuit eventually led to his death. I can pretty much guarantee you’ve never seen another person like him (except for perhaps Bob Flanagan, who also has a documentary about him called SICK which is fucking great, but that’s for another post). Hide your kids, hide your wife, watch this movie on Google video.- Whole Milk