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Case Number 27699: Small Claims Court

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The Sex Pistols on TV

MVD Visual // 2014 // 120 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis (Retired) // August 30th, 2014

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All Rise...

Judge Daryl Loomis hopes people stop liking The Sex Pistols before he gets old.

The Charge

'Cause I wanna be anarchy.

The Case

But they couldn't be, because The Sex Pistols were The Monkees of punk music. I know I'm going to get some hate for this from people who inexplicably still like this band, but they're just a manufactured act, little more than the Backstreet Boys or One Direction. Heck, lead singer John Lydon (soon to be Johnny Rotten) was discovered in the '70s British equivalent of Hot Topic by its owner, Malcolm McLaren, who would go on to manage them (and rip them all off). Why did Lydon get chosen? McLaren liked his shirt.

Because that's what The Sex Pistols were: a look. And though I guess fake punk tropes don't really change, the consistent claim that they invented punk is a slap in the face to bands like The Kinks and The Who, who actually innovated it, and to the British Oi! and NYHC bands that would emerge soon after. A worthless, worthless band.

But enough of my ranting. Sometimes, a disc lacks value so deeply that one has to fill space and that's The Sex Pistols on TV. There's a subtitle: "The TV interviews uncensored," which sounds encouraging until you find that all of the old interviews on the disc are censored.

Beyond that lie, saying it's about The Sex Pistols is like interviewing George Michael and saying it's about Wham! This is two hours of interviews with John Lydon and nobody else from the band has a moment of airtime. Some of the interviews are from The Pistols days, some are from the time of Public Image Ltd, and some are from relatively recently. Only about half of this has to do with the advertised band.

Not that I'm complaining, mind you. Lydon showed he had plenty of vision and talent in PIL, and it was the better band, and the other guys were complete jags. In any case, Lydon was the only one who ever appeared honest with himself about the nature of his first band; he hates it and he hates Malcom McLaren for ripping him off so badly. McLaren gets his time to speak during the film, but he just confirms what everybody already (should) know about this band.

Ultimately, that's the big downfall of The Sex Pistols on TV. Nearly every second of this footage is available elsewhere, and the early controversial stuff has been seen time and again by all their fans. It's just not interesting, though director Mark Sloper makes it seem as though it's somehow revelatory. The only thing of actual interest here is an interview with Vivienne Westwood, who co-owned that terrible store with McLaren and would later design punk fashion, which let's face it, is just tearing up normal clothes and reassembling them with safety pins.

The DVD comes from MVD and is average, at best. The 1.33:1 full frame transfer itself is fine, but the footage is from many sources and times, meaning it varies greatly. The sound is your basic Dolby 2.0 Stereo mix, but the dialogue and music both sound okay. The only extra is twenty minutes from a different documentary about Sid Vicious, which looks just about as interesting as this movie was.

The Sex Pistols on TV is basically worthless, unless you're a huge fan of John Lydon. Even if you're a Pistols guy, only about half the time is spent covering their history and the rest is devoted to Lydon complaining about his time with them. If that sound appealing to you, have at it.

The Verdict


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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 60

Perp Profile

Studio: MVD Visual
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 120 Minutes
Release Year: 2014
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Concerts and Musicals
• Documentary
• Foreign
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Bonus Footage


• Official Site

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