We saw Billie Joe Armstrong act in Ordinary World and here's what we learned
Green Day's frontman plays an ageing punk in his first starring role. Ahem.
Ordinary World, a film starring Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong, will be released on October 17. The movie, which premiered as Geezer at Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year, sees Armstrong play an ageing former punk rocker settling into suburban life. TeamRock went along to an advance screening to see how he coped in his first leading role...
He's a decent actor
The Green Day frontman can hold his own in a film alongside some big acting names. He plays his part naturally alongside Selma Blair, who takes the role of Karen, his wife, and thankfully doesn’t have the awkward self-awareness that some musicians-turned-actors approach their roles with. His goofy, forgetful Perry is written as a cliché in places, predictably forgetting to take the trash out and putting no effort into his dead-end job, but Billie takes it in his stride, and is particularly believable when he finds himself in an awkward situation with an old flame.
The music's alright, too
Billie wrote four original songs for Ordinary World, which crop up throughout the film. They’ve all got the feeling of Green Day b-sides, particularly the opening track, but they also stand alone in this rock-flick-lite. Just don’t expect any big stage performances; this film is very much about dealing with the aftermath of having been on the cusp of fame, and as such, focuses more on Perry’s current guise as a frustrated, middle-aged father than his previous career as a frontman. If you’ve ever dreamed of being serenaded in a posh hotel room by Billie, though, now’s the chance to live out your fantasies.
The clichés are strong
As with any film that can be filed under ‘feel-good’, the characters rely on tried-and-tested tropes rather than being developed in any meaningful way. Selma Blair’s Karen is the stressed mom trying to sort out everyone’s life, her parents are disapproving, but well-meaning, suburban retirees, and Perry’s brother is the down-to-earth one, running a hardware store and despairing of his brother’s antics. Of course, his old friends from the ‘band days’ haven’t grown up, and are slightly tragic embodiments of men in a permanent midlife crisis trying to live like they’re still in their twenties. When Perry gets uppity about drinks being put down without coasters at his own party, it feels like his transition into boring dad mode is being over-egged, but you’ll still find yourself cringing for him as his party – and his life – unravels around him as the result of one silly spur-of-the-moment decision.
The twist isn’t what you might expect
The whole premise here is that, even after a long “temporary hiatus” (yes, that overused term is ribbed satisfyingly) Perry is struggling to adjust to life in the ‘burbs. But the resolution is surprising, even if it is played out without the nuances you might find in an indie mumblecore flick of the same premise. The underlying message of inner happiness is still heartwarming despite the occasional laziness of the script, and it’s impossible not to root for Perry when he finds himself faced with a decision between his new life and his old one. We’ve all had moments where we question what the hell we’re doing with our lives, and the fact that the film stems from, and builds on this keeps it relatable throughout. Maybe just don’t try and lob a TV out of the window à la Perry if you’re feeling frustrated.
Ordinary World is released on DVD and digital download on October 17. You can pre-order the film here.
Green Day's new album Revolution Radio is out on October 7 through Warner Brothers. The band will headline British Summer Time festival at London's Hyde Park in July 2017.