I got the chance to watch the movie Shoplifters of the World ahead of its premiere, and as a fan of the band The Smiths, it was a fun ride that had me singing along the whole way through. The coming of age story follows four friends living in a small town in Colorado in 1987. They are preparing for the next phase in their lives when they are hit with the news that their favorite band, The Smiths, has broken up. They go out for the night to mourn their loss as well as the end of their adolescence, when they are surprised by a friend of theirs taking over a local rock radio station and forcing the DJ to play Smiths songs all night.
The evening ends up revealing what the friends had been denying or trying to hide, and it is all set against the soundtrack of the songs that shaped them. The movie stars Helena Howard, Elena Kampouris, James Bloor, and Nick Krause as the four best friends, and Ellar Coltrane as their friend from the record store who takes over the radio station. Joe Manganiello plays rock radio station DJ Full Metal Mickey, who begrudgingly plays songs from The Smiths at gunpoint.
The scenes between the friends are solid, and they display the rudderless, emotional, confused, and sometimes obnoxious phase we go through as we transition into adulthood. The scenes between Coltrane’s Dean and Manganiello’s Mickey are the heart of the film. I could have watched an entire movie within the radio station with just these two characters. They talk love of music, and relationships, with vulnerability and endearing relatability.
Shoplifters of the World is a love letter to fans of The Smiths, and to anyone who has ever grown up and in love to the sounds of a band as meaningful as this one.
Watch Shoplifters of the World in theaters, On Demand, and On Digital today.