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Freakscene – The Story of Dinosaur Jr.

Dinosaur Jr. are indie rock pioneers, but there have been reports of tension between the three band members from the beginning. In FREAKSCENE, J Mascis, Lou, and Murph speak openly about the toxic atmosphere in the band.


In the mid 80s Dinosaur Jr. – just Dinosaur back then, the “jr.“ was added after an older hippie band sued them – released their debut album, which was still rooted in US hardcore punk, but took a more relaxed approach with older rock styles. Dinosaur Jr. were (and are) insanely loud yet still seem strangely introverted. The band quickly found success in independent circles and landed in the indie charts in 1988 with their hit “Freak Scene.“ One year later their cover of The Cure song “Just Like Heaven“ landed in the pop charts. Dinosaur Jr. Was at the height of their success, but there were rumours about the musicians not talking to each other any more. In 1989 J. Mascis kicked Lou Barlow out of the band, two years later drummer Murph had enough as well.

In FREAKSCENE – THE STORY OF DINOSAUR JR., J.Mascis, Lou, and Murph talk about the band‘s formation, break-up, and reunion and are astoundingly open about their own toxic masculinity, which wasn‘t directed against women in their case. Today, after the abuse scandals surrounding Ryan Adams and Marilyn Manson, it is clear that the indie scene was filled with toxicity, but back then the stars represented a different, more complex conception of masculinity. Today, band dictator J. Mascis and aggressive bassist Lou Barlow are insightful and self-reflective. Drummer Murph is an empathetic figure because he withstood the psychological terror in his band for so long. FREAKSCENE is great as a portrait of a band‘s dynamic, but Dinosaur Jr.‘s fascinating music, which usually unfolds over a long period of time with brachial changes in the dynamic, don‘t come across in the song snippets. It‘s gold for fans, less so for the uninitiated.


Translation: Elinor Lewy


Deutschland/USA 2020, 82 min
Language: English
Genre: Documentary
Director: Philipp Reichenheim
Author: Philipp Reichenheim
Distributor: rapid eye movies
Cast: J Mascis, Lou Barlow, Murph, Kim Gordon, Henry Rollins, Bob Mould, Thurston Moore
FSK: 6
Release: 09.09.2021




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles
English/with English subtitles
All languages

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