Drop an F-bomb and you've pretty much ensured yourself an R-rating, especially these days. However, have you ever wondered where the word f*ck came from? Well, "F*ck" gets together a great deal of actors, celebs, regular folks, news correspondents and many others in order to explore the history of it. While moments of the film do start to seem a little too cutesy, the film does at least touch on free speech issues (Lenny Bruce, Carlin's Seven Dirty Words, Howard Stern), the history of the word (although we still don't know where it starte) and the debate about obscenity currently going on.
We get an assortment of celebs - Ron Jeremy, Kevin Smith, Bill Maher, Billy Connolly, the late Hunter S. Thompson, Sam Donaldson, Chuck D, Drew Carey (Drew Carey's glasses in this movie look like they're the equivalent of those microscope glasses the dentist uses) and others on the side of free speech and use of the word. We even get cursing from Apollo 16. On the other side, we get a smaller group including Pat Boone (didn't he live next to the Osbournes?), who comes up with ridiculous substitutes for curses. The film is one-sided in its "pro f*ck" stance, but at least it gives the other side their moment. Unfortunately, since no one here actually is discussing the matter with another person (and since there are about ten times as many for as against here), we don't get any sort of debate, which would have been fun to see.
An issue with the picture is that it does put to use a fair amount of film clips - while these clips are sometimes mentioned and then shown, there are a few other clips that are more an example of the f word that aren't needed to illustrate it. The remainder of the picture does just fine pulling together other examples of the word in or history, as well as other examples of "naughty language".
We also get some startling examples of how "morality" groups have pushed to regulate what other people have the right to view. In 2000 - 111 FCC complaints. 2004 - Over 1,000,000 complaints and 99.9% of those were generated by the "Parent's Television Counsel". In recent years, the government has waged its own battle against what they deem explicit - the FCC collected $48,000 in fines in 2000. In 2004, they collected nearly $8m in fines (with Howard Stern being a main source of big bucks - unfortunately, we only hear part of his interview with former FCC chair Michael Powell), despite the fact that the rise in complaints came almost solely from one group.
We have a government who proclaims to be against indecency in the media, yet the film offers up a long list of famous presidential curses - most recently, Dick Cheney cursing (using the F word) Sen. Patrick J. Leahy after the senator questioned Cheney's ties to Halliburton. On the same day as Cheney used the F word, the Senate passed legislation described as the "Defense of Decency Act" by 99 to 1. We also get instances of bizarre choices of what's indecent or not: less than a year after Bono's use of the word "f-ck" was ruled "indecent" on network television, "Saving Private Ryan" was aired uncut, and that film uses 21 uses of the word "f-ck" - yet it was not ruled "indecent." Some members of congress want to regulate satelite radio and cable TV, despite the fact that they are pay services and do not use public airwaves.
There's also the famous "What about the children?" The children should be raised by their parents. Parents complaining about being corrupted by video games or music or movies can should not let them watch them or teach them about what's right and wrong, be a good example for their children and have a discussion of what's being shown on-screen. It's not the responsibility of anyone but the parent to teach their children. As many have said, if you don't like it, turn it off.
"F-ck" is definitely a one-sided documentary, but it does present a snappy (with occasional animation by Bill Plympton) look at the history of one powerful (although probably more ordinary these days) word, free speech ossies and explicit language in the media and society.
VIDEO: The film is presented by Thinkfilm in 1.33:1 full-frame. The presentation is free of any major problems, with the only concern being some slight shimmering. Sharpness and detail are reasonably good, as the presentation remained crisp and clear throughout. Colors looked accurate and natural, with no smearing or other issues.
SOUND: The film's stereo soundtrack offers clear dialogue.
EXTRAS: Commentary track from director Steve Anderson, extended interviews, extended & deleted scene, additional interviews with Anderson and animator Bill Plympton, trailer, additional trailers for other titles from the studio.
Final Thoughts: "F-ck" is definitely a one-sided documentary, but it does present a snappy (with occasional animation by Bill Plympton) look at the history of one powerful (although probably more ordinary these days) word, free speech ossies and explicit language in the media and society. The DVD presentation offers fine audio/video quality, along with a nice helping of extras. A recommended rental.
The Film B