Sid and Nancy (1986) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Sid and Nancy is the story of Sex Pistols' bass player Sid Vicious and his girlfriend, groupie Nancy Spungen, and their descent into heroine addiction. Brilliantly acted by Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb, it is nonetheless a thoroughly depressing film, and gives little insight into the personalities of Sid and Nancy. It answers the question of what they were, but not why they were that way.
I do not enjoy this film, and even fast forwarded through it this time, but I do appreciate it.


Chloe Webb shows her breasts in a fairly long argument scene in bed.
Scoopy's notes:

Again, Tuna and I agree completely. I found this movie so unpleasant to watch that I don't even care if it is any good. Did you ever hate a movie so much that the question of whether it was a good movie never even entered your mind? I know a lot of people felt this way about Blue Velvet, for example. I felt this way about Sid and Nancy, and apparently Tuna did as well.

I was curious about it, and never saw it when it first came out, so I picked up the DVD and watched it. I just hated every minute of it, and couldn't wait until it was over. Therefore, I'm not gong to be able to give you an objective overview. I guess it's a good movie, at least a lot of people praised it greatly, but it seems to me that it really missed out on a great chance to offer some insight into the culture. 

After all, Sid and Nancy personally were two complete losers, strung out junkies with minimal IQ's and almost no talent. Vicious himself was a bass player, and not much of one. If you took 100 people off the street at random, you could probably train more than half to be better bass  players. These two were mammals trapped somewhere between homo sapiens and a lower order. What can you say about them? They shot up, they nodded out after making some incomprehensible attempts at verbal communication. Pretty lively stuff. They spent most of their lives in bed, and not making love. Just nodding away. 

Their real story lies not in the fact that they were total losers, but in the fact that they were total losers who got their pictures on T-shirts and got a movie made about them. How in the hell did we ever become a world in which two people like this could be come famous. But the movie just accepts all that at face value, and tells the Sid and Nancy story accurately and without judgment. I guess it misses the irony of the fact that it is a movie about two people who don't deserve to be famous enough to have a movie made about them.

DVD info from Amazon.

Two versions: full-screen, and widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

Includes D.O.A., a documentary on the real Sid and Nancy

There is something I did find kind of interesting on the DVD. The movie "D.O.A." is highlighted as a bonus feature, and it featured nudity from the real Nancy Spungen, shortly before her death, as well as some looks at Vicious. Vicious fell asleep repeatedly during the interview.

Oldman and Webb got the two of them EXACTLY right.


For a counterpoint, read Roger Ebert's review. He admired the movie, and was positively rhapsodic in his praise. 

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: more than three stars. Ebert 4/4, BBC 4/5, Maltin 3/4.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 7.0. See what I mean? People admire this movie.
  • With their dollars ... despite good reviews, it came and went without notice. Total domestic gross was only $2 million.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+. I think most people will hate the film, as Tuna and I did, so I have to think C+ is the right grade - showing it to be a top-notch genre picture with no mainstream appeal. I believe that the box office figures support that.

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