Every good parent probably worries about what to tell their children when the day rolls around that they ask about follies and mistakes of their youth - but when you sing for a flagship punk rock band, a musical genre that was spawned out of angst and teenage fury that mutated into a well-defined social movement bent on social anarchy, like Jim Lindberg of Pennywise, the answer to such a question becomes all the more complicated. That’s what director Andrea Blaugrund Nevins wants to know: when you spend your early years advocating for a life without rules and singing profanity-loaded anthems, what kind of parent would you make? Though some would be certain in the correctness of an assumption that angry kids from broken homes would produce more angry kids from broken homes, there is something altogether warm and fuzzy about seeing the way these rock-gods-turned-patriarchs have built happy and successful homes and families in spite of themselves.
The audience is introduced to a number of faces, both familiar and some less so - like Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Flea, NOFX’s Fat Mike, Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus, and Black Flag’s Ron Reyes – along with their adorable families. Most of the film is comprised of discussions with these various men and the way their lives have been changed by their children (the “F” in the title refers to “Father”) interspersed with precious moments of trips to school or making breakfast. Punk rock, though not as currently prominent in pop-culture, has such a clear-cut image in the mind of its public and in the modern world where people are so quick to judge a life based on the little they see and know of it the film proves to be a wonderful point of proof that perception does not equal reality.
A curious question is raised as the film progresses, perhaps more pressing to those who are fans of these bands, but still pertinent nonetheless: Do these guys still have the right to call themselves “punk”? Pierced and tattooed and wearing bondage gear with spiked hair…and crying about how much they love their children. Even as they’ve gotten older these anti-heroes still have that devil-may-care attitude about them. There is something though that gives a gleeful twinkling to each of them when they get to discussing how other members of the punk world are disapproving of their social conformity – like even though they aren’t rebelling against the same frustrations of their youth they still find a spark for rising against what they have available, even if its only naysayers. Twenty years ago none of these guys would have ever guessed they would striving for normality rather than entropy. Punk kings dead and gone wouldn’t have approved of the lives that they’ve made, to which all these happy dads would happily reply, “F*** you.”