Review of "Good Vibrations (DVD)"

published 17/04/2017 | thedevilinme
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Good Vibrations (DVD)

Good Vibrations (DVD)

Star – Richard Dormer
Genre – Comedy biopic
Run Time – 103 minutes
Certificate – 15
Country – U.K
Awards – Wins & Nominations
Amazon – £5.99 DVD £7.99 Blue Ray
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Quixotically: ‘Caught up in the romance of noble deeds and the pursuit of unreachable goals; idealistic without regard to practicality’.

So Good Vibrations, the name of a record company and this biopic of sorts of colorful Belfast music impresario and socialist Terri Hooley, who created that very record label but the film far more glamorous than his real life, apparently. He was the guy who discovered The Undertones at the height of The Troubles, determined to keep the music scene vibrant by nurturing talent and putting on punk nights as the bombs blew out the shops and sectarian boozers across Belfast and beyond.

While Terri knew his music he was never noted for his business acumen. The only record he backed that was a hit was "Teenage Kicks", and he sold the rights to the song to an American label for just £500 (in cash) and a signed photograph of 60s band The Shangri-Las. He never got the photo. John Peel loved that record and claimed it was the best pop record he ever played, so much so that he never stopped playing it.


Richard Dormer ... Terri Hooley
Jodie Whittaker ... Ruth
Liam Cunningham ... Davy
David Wilmot ... Eric
Adrian Dunbar ... Andy
Dylan Moran ... Pat
Killian Scott ... Ronnie Matthews
Mark Ryder ... Greg Cowan
Karl Johnson ... George
Andrew Simpson ... Getty
Kerr Logan ... Feargal Sharky
Conor MacNeill ... Schoolboy Executive
Ruth McCabe ... Mavis
Diarmuid Noyes ... Brian Young


Terri Hooley: When I look out at ‘youse’ all gathered here, it confirms something I always felt.
Terri Hooley: When It comes to punk: New York has the haircuts, London Has the trousers, but Belfast has the Reason!

Its 1970s Belfast and The Troubles are raging. Terri Hooley (Richard Dormer) and his Soul, Ska and Reggae nights are empty now as the young either keep their head down or throw rocks at the cops. One night slow dancing with his new girl Jodie Whittaker (Ruth), radical idealist Terri and his social collective of activist and music lovers decide to set up a music shop on the most bombed half mile in Europe, Great Victoria Street, Belfast. The owner is more than keen on the year long lease, not surprisingly, as its surprising the banks wants to lend him money to help set up the business.

It’s a slow start and so Terri decides to branch out and set up an indie record label, asking local bands to pop in with their demo tapes. Punk is raging and Terri recognizes the energy and rebellion around the genre and decides it’s the way to go. But he is a spontaneous guy and finds it hard to organize his time on the shop, bands or the new wife. But when a young band called The Undertones drop their tape off and Terri blags them some studio time, the third track they lay down is about to change the lives of Terri, Ruth and Belfast music scene forever, ‘Teenage Kicks’…


Directing team Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn have put their own spin on Hooley’s life and produced an entertaining little film here. It’s a comedy and nothing more with the occasional bit of pathos and thought and not as dark as the Ian Dury one ‘Sex Drugs and Rock n Roll’ and much more like 24 Hour Party People, the Steven Coogan take on the 80s Manchester music scene of Tony Wilson and Factory Records. I did laugh now and then and you do get sucked into the story and the time and Richard Dormers charismatic and joyous lead turn the clincher. He is the movie and as enthusiastic and reckless as the real Hooley in his performance. In fact Holey says so in the extras.

The film has a nice flow to it and manages to even make light of the paramilitaries that were always around the pub and club scene back then. It was a crazy time and the city partitioned pretty much overnight as the hate was encouraged between Catholics and Protestants. As we have seen with Islam, religion is divisive political stuff and designed to be exactly that. But most people are scared of death and so if the promise of heaven, how ever much stupid crap you do, is still on the table then there will always be plenty of followers.

Jodie Whittaker is no more than token totty here and the orbiting moon to Hooley’s, Jupiter and rather two dimensional but one very pretty girl on screen. Everyone else is just ‘in the movie’ and that’s pretty much it as Dormer takes over. How much of this story is true is debatable but the point of a film is to be entertaining and this is certainly that. The movie suggests he created the cities music scene and not afraid of the terrorists and gave them free albums to placate them. Everyone is afraid of terrorists as they are unpredictable and killers.

It’s not as funny as The Commitments and not really about The Undertones and so becomes just a film about music and the scene. There are some Spinal Tap moments and some clichés; the rusty Transit Van to get to gigs, the landlords that won’t pay the money for the bands and the lucky coincidences to move the film forward but all good fun. But what there is in spades is passion, joy, hope and enthusiasm, as much from Hooley back then as there is the directors to get this film made. One to look out for on TV.

RATINGS – 7.3 /10.0 (3,721votes) – 94% critic’s approval – 67% critic’s approval


Special Features

-Deleted Scenes-

A few

-Behind the scenes-

We meet cast & crew

-The real Belfast Hooley-

We interview the real Terri Hooley and amazed they made a film about him.


Toronto Star –‘A love song to both the power of both music and determined political resistance.’

The Australian –‘The team behind Good Vibrations have made a film that is determined to live up to its title, and does so’.

Film4 –‘An engaging portrait of a lovable, shambolic music fan turned reluctant impresario’.

Daily Telegraph –‘Richard Dormer is a hairy tuffet of charisma in the lead role, and Colin Carberry and Glenn Patterson's script gives Hooley some lovely lines to say, while perhaps cutting him a little too much slack’.

Herald & Sun –‘If the recent Proclaimers musical Sunshine on Leith was too sugar-sweet for your liking, this relatively ragged affair will do the trick just nicely’.

Time Out –‘An impassioned, funny and monumentally likable myth-making comedy’.

The Mail –‘An extraordinary labour of love about an even more extraordinary labour of love’.


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Comments on this review

  • euphie published 19/04/2017
    e :o)
  • Secre published 19/04/2017
    Nicely done
  • mikemelmak published 18/04/2017
    E worthy - great job.
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Product Information : Good Vibrations (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Actor(s): Jodie Whittaker, Dylan Moran, Richard Dormer

Director(s): Lisa Barros D'Sa, Glenn Leyburn

DVD Region: DVD

Production Year: 2012

EAN: 5050582944549

Classification: 12 years and over


Listed on Ciao since: 09/01/2017