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  • Gareth Crook

Shoplifters of the World (2021) - 1/10

Updated: May 13, 2021

I’ve heard this is terrible and Morrissey has given it his seal of approval which these days is not a good thing. It’s full of classic Smiths songs though, can it really be that bad? We’re in classic rock loving 1980s Denver with some disillusioned teens like Cleo (Helena Howard) who’s broken hearted by the break up of the band and her record store working friend Dean (Ellar Coltrane). They are awful actors, working with an awful script, a truly horrendous script. Even with it’s presumably tongue in cheek comic tone, it’s shit. We’re barely 15 minutes in before I’ve realised it’s not going to get any better, it’s just going to keep hamfisting lyrics into the dialogue as our teen misfits hit every stereotype and amplify every misunderstanding of the music and culture they apparently adore. The premise you won’t be surprised is simple. Dean, pissed off at the small town’s metal loving meatheads, sticks up the local radio station and takes over the airwaves at gun point. That’s about it really. I’m all for radio stations playing wall to wall Smiths records, but nothing can save this, even lines like “You just shot Gene Simmons in the face” or hefty doses of archive Smith footage and interviews which is as badly stitched in as it sounds. The whole thing is as shallow as a music video and maybe that was the idea, but it’s 90 minutes long! Cutting between scenes in the station with Dean educating his metal loving DJ hostage and Cleo out in the night driving around in her beat up Beetle with her friends in eyeliner, going to parties, trying to figure out their lives, wants and wishes. It’s one of the worse films I can recall seeing. Not just because it’s got zero substance, but because it’s amazingly doing The Smiths legacy more disservice than Moz himself. My eyes are sore from rolling by the end. Do not watch this. Do. Not. Watch. This.



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