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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 27 August 2013
This a real snippit from the underground punk movement in Belfast during the Seventies. I feel that the "Punk" movement was the changing of tides in the music industry and feel that its due for another one!

This beautifully presented black comedy takes a really good look back at this time and portrays it well. The main Character is played extremely well and anyone who loves music and shopped in independent music shops in Belfast in the past thirty years will know who Terry is.

Great sound track, and a great strap line.

"New York has the hair style, London has the jeans but Belfast has the reason"... something along those lines.
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on 20 August 2013
Add it to the pantheon of great music movies, and great British movies - a film which manages to capture not just the essence of punk but - without being sanctimonious or didactic - what it must have meant to kids growing up in the brutal grimness of '70s Belfast. Saying which, it's actually a film full of joy and excitement - the bit when 'Teenage Kicks' finally gets played on Peel brought a tear to my eye, as did the bit when Terri - in many ways the holy fool - sold the rights to Teenage Kicks to Sire Records for £500, enough to get their van fixed. A triumphant movie and a triumphant life, recalling a time when commercial success wasn't the only yardstick of greatness. Loved it.
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on 21 September 2013
Spine tingling.... That's all can say about the feeling I had when Richard Dormer spoke his first lines as Terri.... he had if down to a tee. Refreshing to see a movie come out of Northern Ireland that nods to the Troubles without dwelling on the period on the late 70s and early 80s when there was....a fantastic piece of work I look forward to more creativity from the Team that produced this little gem...
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 March 2015
"When punk rock ruled over Ulster, nobody ever had more excitement and fun. Between the bombings and shootings, the religious hatred and the settling of old schools, punk gave everybody a chance to LIVE for one glorious moment."

Uncle Joe Strummer.

Punk Rock and Punk Rockers have always been misunderstood. Back during the original wave that began in 1976 it was thought punks wanted to kill the queen and burn down your villages, so even though some ill informed (re: ill educated) principals courted controversy, the spirit of punk rock, its ideals and reasons for being, got lost in the mix of the media frenzies and drug deaths et al. Many films and documentaries have been made over the years, some worthwhile, others not so, but all in an effort to either correct the misconceptions of punk rock, or invite interest into a genre of music that made waves that are still being felt today. Good Vibrations the movie is the embodiment of what it was really all about.

The story concerns how Terri Hooley (played by a superb Richard Dormer) believed that music could make a difference, and this even as a soul destroying Civil War raged out on the streets of Belfast. He opened a record shop and formed his own independent record label (the Good Vibrations of the title), and then one day he stumbled on a movement, punk kids who just didn't care about sectarianism, race, creed or colour, they united as one with a love of music, of music with attitude and no hidden agendas. It ticked every box of Hooley's world, forcing him to beg the question of where have these boys been all his life?

I would like to report a Civil War outside!

The 1970s backdrop of the Northern Ireland "Troubles" strikes all the right emotional chords, but the makers are never heavy handed, it's never over-killed. The key here is portraying a movement - and an individual - that refused to be cowed by the bombs and the bullets. In fact during one quite brilliant scene ignorance proves to be bliss. From personal experience I can say that as a British guy living in England I was vehemently told back in the late 1970s to not even think about buying a 7" single by one of the 'Oirish punk rebel rousers. I'm still flipping that same middle finger I flipped back then, today!

Teenage dreams so hard to beat.

Thankfully the film doesn't spend most of its time on what music fans know as the key Irish bands of the era. The Undertones were indebted to Hooley as much as they were the legendary (and much missed) John Peel, but this picture barely features The Undertones, or Stiff Little Fingers as it happens. The former are key, and provide some of Hooley's most memorable moments, in fact it's the crux of the genius and otherwise (family changes) of Hooley the man and the "businessman". Yet it's the lesser known bands of the time that come to the front and tell the story alongside Hooley, which even though this is a biography of sorts, is a wonderful touch and dare I say it? Very punk rock. It's as he says, they are all a part of Good Vibrations.

I saw the light.

What of Hooley the man, how he is portrayed here? Pic makes the effort to show he was hardly an ideal husband type, where the love of his life, Ruth (the lovely Jodie Whittaker making an under written character boom) is playing second fiddle to his musical passion. His relationship with his parents is only pinched, though just enough to make a point, while some of his dealings with the warring factions in his community come off as a bit fanciful. But these are forgivable sidesteps, for this is about the music lover and the movement he fought tooth and nail to get heard.

It was never about money, punks wanted it, needed it even, but the true spirit of punk shines bright in Good Vibrations, both musically and as a human interest story, making it essential viewing for anyone interested in the original wave of Punk Rock. 10/10
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on 9 July 2016
Many music based films have been made, but good vibrations is way up near the top for me...I just read richard dormer was the guy who played hurricane ....I took my then girlfriend to see that at in Edinburgh in 2003 in what looked like a storeroom?????? was spellbinding...I just sent for this film cause I loved the undertones and stiff little fingers, and am old enough to have seen them live ..and to see those singles being wrapped in this film gave me goosebumps.....the energy is great in this film..and terri hooley is simply amazing. A cross between robin Williams and from some angles Richard Harris....with the voice of paul ogrady did i mention the music....go on treat yourself.
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on 23 March 2014
He alerted me to this gem in his alternative Oscars list, otherwise I might have missed it. This film is just brilliant at capturing the emergence of punk in Belfast, perhaps inevitably as a reaction to the Troubles and the grim economic climate of Northern Ireland in the 70s and 80s. Of course there are points where the film goes for dramatic effect but it definitely, gloriously captured key moments, like first hearing and experiencing punk and the story of "Teenage Kicks". There was always something unique about punk in Northern Ireland but I never knew what or why - this film goes a long way to explaining that. The finale concert with the anarchic rendition of Sonny Bono's "Laugh At Me" is wonderful - I'd never thought of that pseudo hippy song as a punk number but it works wonderfully. I can't recommend this film enough.
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There are some movies that make you cry - and others that make you want to pogo around your living room with joy - "Good Vibrations" is both of these.

I was in my late teens living in Dublin when the worst of the 'Troubles' raged in the six counties above us (1968 to 1978). We saw it on the news - read about it in the newspapers and felt its horror from a distance. But mostly we wondered how the Hell anyone could live in Northern Ireland - let alone triumph over the bloodshed in their own personal little way. "Good Vibrations" (2012) is about such a man - telling the true story of Terri Hooley - a one-eyed optimistic music-mad won't-take-sides 28-year old who had the barefaced gall to open a record shop on Great Victoria Street in a beleaguered Belfast during the mid Seventies.

In the opening minutes you're reminded by a rapid-moving collage of archive-footage of just how bad it really was in Derry and Belfast - and how often. Sectarian murders, bomb blasts, burnt out businesses and cars - British Troops like an occupying army - the heavy-handed RUC - rifles on the corners and armoured cars patrolling the streets - and public bars with steel cages out front to protect their entrances from ramming. Friends from the Sixties who had been peaceful political activists changed once the bullets and the explosions arrived. Now they were segregated into those who walked down the right side of the Omagh Road (Catholics) and those who used the left side of the footpath (Protestants). Some even joined the hair-shaving kneecapping thug gangs and killing squads that terrorized their own people as well as their religious opposites. Many of his friends just left for London and never looked back. But amidst all of this carnage and hate was a brave homegrown Punk Rock scene with fledgling bands playing legendary bars like The Pound Music Club and living only to see their 3-minute masterpieces arrive on that most magical of things - the 7" single. With its aggression and no-compromise lyrics - Punk in Northern Ireland was harder, edgier and more brutal. But most importantly it offered a way out for the youth - a way to vent anger that might otherwise have gotten them killed.

So Terri Hooley (played to wide-eyed perfection by Richard Dormer) gets £40 from his girlfriend Ruth (the lovely Jodie Whittaker) - does a deal with the Provos and the UVF in a pub (don't kill me for selling records) - and goes into business on an almost derelict street that has seen the Europa Hotel be bombed twice that year already. Situated above a store called SAZAFRAZZ - his tiny independent record shop "Good Vibrations" initially stocks Reggae, Country, Blues and Folk with a smattering of Sixties Pop and Seventies Hard Rock. He has a poster of The Rolling Stones at Union Hall up on his wall. But initial business is slow...

Then one day in early 1978 a snotty kid in a badge-strewn jacket and spiky hair asks him (at his empty counter) for 50p singles by bands he's never heard of. The young Punk insists that Terri needs to 'get with it' because The Buzzcocks and The Clash are being played by the hip BBC DJ JOHN PEEL on London Radio (20% of Peel's mailbag came from Northern Ireland at that time). So Terri goes along to a packed bar and catches a Punk band called RUDI play "Big Time" - an anti-establishment song they spit out with the venom of a rattled rattlesnake. Right there in the heaving crowd Terri has an epiphany - and in a drunken stupor offers to record it for them. And so on a label named after his shop - the first 7" single on Good Vibrations Records is born (GOT 1) - it's makeshift paper sleeve assembled by hand on the premises by the band and their friends.

But then Terri's accosted by Derry's Finest - THE UNDERTONES - led by singer Fergal Sharkey and Guitarist John O'Neill with a demo tape he initially can't be bothered to listen to. But after persuasion he gets them £200 worth of recording time at the hippy-sounding Wizard Time Studio on a Tuesday in June. They record their blistering 4-track EP. But one song stands out. Even the engineer is blown away. The scene where Producer Davy Shannon (played by Liam Cunningham from Game Of Thrones) plays the master tape of "Teenage Kicks" to Terri Hooley for the first time is cinematic magic. Looking into the booth at the band - Hooley's face drops and his eyes water (you can just here that riff in his head). But that's small change to when John Peel (after a London visit by Hooley) plays it 'twice' in a row on his Radio Show - something he'd never done before (his words title this review). Boys knock on his door and it seems like the whole street comes out in celebration. And on it goes to Top Of The Pops glory...

The BLU RAY picture quality is razor sharp (2.35.1 Aspect Ratio) with a suitably rocking 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (English for The Hard Of Hearing is the lone Subtitle). The Interviews with all the actors and the real Terri ("I didn't take sides") Hooley in the Extras are great fun and hugely informative too. Great stuff.

Our daughter Julia was born on the 1st of September 1994 - the day of the IRA ceasefire. That laying down of arms was reciprocated on the 10th of October 1994 by the CLMC (the Combined Loyalist Military Command). It meant that the war of over 30 years was effectively over. We gave our girl a middle name of 'Hope' in tribute to that monumental day. In fact September 2014 will be its 20th Anniversary - twenty years of Peace - when most thought such a thing was impossible - a pipe dream.

In truth it's hard for me to be rational about the song "Teenage Kicks", the wonderful John Peel or indeed this film about a dreamer with a little idea and a big heart. I sat there watching "Good Vibrations" and bawled my eyes out like a minion peeling onions - filled with love for these ballsy real-world characters and their moment of glory in the headlights of hate.

This is a story that needed to be told about hope, music and bridging divides. "I'm going to do something I've never done before. I'm going to play that again..." the mighty John Peel said over the radio on that famous broadcast.

I suspect you will be doing the same with this brill little film...
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on 23 December 2015
Great story of Terri Hooley the Good Vibrations shop/label boss. This captures all the excitement of the emerging punk scene in N.Ireland as the old guard are swept away back in 77 by the best thing to ever happen to music - punk rock! A gritty tale of both failure and success and the general stress of running a record shop and label . I think a decade or two has been lost near the end , and i sound more like John Peel than the bloke playing him , but this is otherwise brilliant . From his partial blinding by redneck kids when he was young, to setting up the shop, losing punters and changing tack on his stock after a young lad comes in asking for Buzzcocks and Electric Chairs 7"s to discovering Rudi, and the Outcasts , run ins with nazis, and the surprising hard graft and scepticism concerning getting The Undertones out there, right through to his near bankruptcy and tribute gig . Despite leaving out a good few years (no mention of the shop burning down) it's a great inspiring tale and makes you even more angry that so much music today is made by soulless chancers
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VINE VOICEon 30 March 2013
I'm from Belfast and I was a teenager during the time period that this film focuses on. I liked some punk rock as a contrast to the more dulcet chart songs I favoured at the time. However I was never part of the punk scene that this film glorifies and to be honest it was totally anathema to me. I liked some of the music,but not punks. "Good Vibrations" portrays the life of Terri Hooley during the late 1970's ,the man who was the unofficial leader of the Belfast punk scene.He opened a record shop in Belfast city centre and started his own small scale record label.Hooley comes across as a non conformist, non sectarian rebel in this interesting movie; volatile at times with an over fondness for drink and cigarettes and a lover of noisy,rowdy rock concerts.Likeable but a bit overbearing. The film itself is very watchable with some decent Northern Irish punk/New Waves songs like Rudi's "Big Time" and "The Pressures On" ,not to mention The Undertones iconic "Teenage Kicks". The acting is good throughout as is the dialogue and cinematography. I'm sure Terri Hooley would be humbled and delighted by this film. As an aside, the opening scenes of the movie where Terri gets his eye put out, were filmed in a semi detached house at the bottom of my avenue in the East Belfast suburbs. Wondered what all the film crews were doing down there last year !
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on 9 January 2014
A fun and quirky story that never flags and has some really good music in it! A good film that most music lovers will enjoy and tells the tale of one of the true eccentrics of the music business! Triumph and tragedy!! An excellent watch!
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