Sneak Peek: Ordinary World
Written and directed by Lee Kirk, Ordinary World is a comedic drama about a former punk rocker Perry (Billie Joe Armstrong) facing forty. Ten years into his band’s ‘indefinite hiatus,’ Perry is having trouble coming to terms with his lot in life. Although married to a highly successful, beautiful woman and has two great children, his rock dreams never came true and he’s living a sedate life in Queens, working in his family’s hardware store. When his wife (Selma Blair) and kids forget his 40th birthday, his brother (Chris Messina) takes pity and gives him the money to throw a huge rockstar blowout in a fancy Manhattan hotel. This, is his chance to get it out of his system. Over the course of a day, Perry’s punk past clashes with his middle-‐aged reality as he encounters crazy former bandmates (Fred Armisen, Kevin Corrigan), a former flame-‐turned-‐manager (Judy Greer), an overeager ‘Dad’s Group,’ his in-‐laws and the police.
Starring: Billie Joe Armstrong, Selma Blair, Judy Greer, Chris Messina, Fred Armisen, Dallas Roberts, Kevin Corrigan, Brian Baumgartner & Madisyn Shipman
Written & Directed by: Lee Kirk
Produced by Tim Perell, Alex Ginzburg & Tony Lee
Runtime: 87 Minutes
Title Track “Ordinary World” is featured on the upcoming Green Day album “Revolution Radio” which dropped October 7.
This transcript has been lightly edited:
The Referee: Hey, everybody. Oh, my goodness. The Critic and I got a chance to see a Sneak Peek of a new movie coming out this Friday — yes, the 14th — called “Ordinary World.” And, it stars some pretty familiar people. First of all, it was written and directed by Lee Kirk. And, it stars — if you’re a child of the 90s, or not even a child of the 90s, if you just like 90s music (laughter) — Billie Joe Armstrong! Yes, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, who plays the lead; Selma Blair; along with Judy Greer; Dallas Roberts makes an appearance; Chris Messina; Fred Armisen — it just goes on and on. I think we need to talk about this film.
The Critic: Yeah. So, Billie Joe Armstrong plays a character that you won’t be surprised that he’s playing: a former rock-and-roller, essentially. They start 20 years ago, when he’s in his band with Fred Armisen and others, which is hilarious. It’s in black and white. OK. We shuttle forward, and now it’s his 40th birthday coming. And, he has a wife, played by Selma Blair, and a daughter, played by young Madisyn Shipman. So, he is working in a store that was owned by his father; the father passed it on to [him] and his brother, played by Chris Messina. But, really, it’s a hardware store. He doesn’t know what he’s doing in the store; he knows nothing about the products, etc., etc. So, he is, essentially, taking care of his daughter while his wife works. She’s an attorney. And, he’s trying to keep up with his music —
Critic: Yes — trying. (laughs) OK? That’s the backstory. Now, what happens in the plot is: He’s supposed to pick up a new guitar for his daughter; she has a recital. But, his 40th birthday is today, right? And his wife doesn’t remember. So, you know, he’s not feeling too good about that. So, he decides to have a little party for himself, because something happens at work that leads to him going away for the day. He goes to this hotel; he gets the Presidential Suite; and we (laughing) get the hotel worker of hotel workers, telling him: “Look, you better not mess up this room.” He invites some friends. We know what happens: More people come —
Ref: Friends invite friends, and it goes on and on.
Critic: Meanwhile, his wife’s parents are waiting for him to open up their [his and his wife’s] home so they can go in. So, there’s all of these things going on. He forgets all of his responsibilities while he’s enjoying himself. Along the way, he meets —
Ref: An old flame.
Critic: Yeah. So, there’s something going on there, and she wants him to come back into music. She has a proposition for him. So, the question is: Will he ignore his familial responsibilities, and go back to his music life? Or, will he stick with his family? And, let me just say: Overall, this is a teen comedy without teens. (laughing) That’s what it is. OK? It hits all of those familiar plot points; it’s just that he’s 40, instead of 16.
Ref: There you are. You know what? It was fun to see some of the performances from the various people. Like you said, there’s Fred Armisen, who does Fred Armisen: He plays the friend, who’s the rocker, who’s like: “Come on, man. Let’s party!”
Ref: Not the good influence. And, then, obviously, his brother, who is the straight-laced — you also see some development there: whether or not he should be a part of the business or not. There are some questions raised there. And, then, of course, the parents: his —
Ref: — in-laws, who believe he’s an eternal screwup. (laughter) But, by the time you get to the end, you’ll find that what happens is probably what you think will happen.
Ref: So, there’s really no surprises there. But, what I will say is that I was surprised that Billie could hold an entire movie. Now, whether it’s perfectly done or whether there were some moments that were really challenging: For the most part, he was in just about every, single scene. And, if you’re a fan of Green Day and if you’re a fan of just — you know — wanting to celebrate punk music, because a lot of the music — I think all of the music — he wrote for this project —
Ref: It’s a great movie to just pop in, laugh at people making fun of themselves, and jokes — if you think it’s funny. But, it’s also kinda cool to see maybe one of your idols on the other side of the camera, just acting and making some decisions that you probably would think he would make in dealing with his lifestyle. So, I didn’t mind it. It wasn’t something that I’ll probably pop in again. But, it was entertaining.
Critic: Yeah. I completely agree. It definitely was not a perfect film, even a perfect “teen comedy.” (laughs) It had its challenges. But, yes, like you said: You know, for Billie Joe Armstrong, playing this character makes a lot of sense. It’s really playing himself, and he does that really well. That’s not necessarily an easy thing to do. He knows what he’s doing in regards to that character, so I did appreciate it. Plus, if you’re a Green Day fan, if you like his music, you’re going to get, like you said, some of that. And, they’re not throwaway songs —
Critic: Yeah. The title track is actually on Green Day’s new album, which just released. So, you know, I enjoyed some of the music, just listening to that. His daughter, her whole thing: That was nicely done.
Ref: Oh, and we do have to say that if you’re a fan of 80s rock music, there is a special cameo that you don’t want to miss.
Critic: Yeah, that’s right. (laughs) That’s the lure. Ooh. (laughter) OK. This is something — ‘cause it’s available On Demand, as well — that you can just watch if you’re feeling nostalgic; you want to see Billie: great. It’s not gonna be something where you go: “Oh, why did I watch that?” It’s not going to be great, but it’ll be pleasant. That was enough for me, actually.
Ref: Well, you can catch “Ordinary World” in theaters, like the Critic said, this Friday. Or, you can wait and watch it On Demand at the same time. Regardless, you just may have a nice, little time, reminiscing about Green Day. (laughter)