Until the untimely death of singer/guitarist D. Boon at the end of 1985, the Minutemen were one of the most exciting and creative bands of their era. The documentary We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen — which kicks off a four-part film series called Our Band Could Be Your Film, dedicated to the '80s punk and hardcore scene — takes an in-depth look at the group, from its origins in San Pedro, California to the last gig before Boon's death, opening for R.E.M. In between, the audience is treated to a fascinating, fun look at the groundbreaking act and its place in musical history.
The movie is assembled from archival footage of Minutemen gigs and an interview with the band recorded shortly before Boon's death, intercut with contemporary footage of interviews with surviving members Mike Watt and George Hurley and a number of the group's now-famous contemporaries, such as Ian MacKaye, Henry Rollins and Thurston Moore. The film's tone is laudatory, almost gushing at times, and it comes off more as a celebratory love letter to the band than a warts-and-all documentary. Still, it manages to give an entertaining and fairly comprehensive overview of the Minutemen's origins, music and influence in the punk and hardcore scene. We Jam Econo screens Wednesday, September 3, at 7 p.m. at Starz FilmCenter in the Tivoli. Tickets are $6 to $9.50; visit www.denverfilm.org or call 303-595-3456.