Most reviewers seem to miss a very important point
Christine | new Bern, NC | 07/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am not trying to insult anyone here, but I have read dozens of reviews of this excellent movie, and it seems a lot of folks miss the point.
This is a great movie, and I'll tell you why: it is a very very authentic insight, not into the punk scene in 1980s America (which there was one, but it wasn't very widespread or mainstream), but into adolescence and the transitions into maturity we all have to make. It is a very good study on what happens to the identities we assume for ourselves as teenagers when we discover, in our early twenties, that they no longer fit.
If you haven't seen it yet, you may not want to read this review any further.
Stevo was a poser! I can't say it any plainer than that. He admits it too, so anyone who wastes the energy to type "Stevo wasn't very convincing as a punk," or criticizes the punk scene as portrayed as not accurate, completely miss the point of this movie. They weren't punks! They were teenagers, trying to find an identity for themselves. They knew what their parents and city were offering wasn't for them, but they had no clue what was, so they were trying something out. And for most of them (let us not forget Mike, my favorite character) the whole punk thing didn't stick.
If you view the movie through that lense, it was fantastic. Lillards performance was outstanding. The music was great. The script was very witty and entertaining. And yes, I imagine the punk movement in SLC, if there ever was one, was pretty lame. I know it was in the midwest where I grew up. That doesn't take away from the movie - it makes it more authentic and accessible."
An incredibly pleasant surprise
Kasia Szpakowska | UK | 12/30/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Being an ex-punk (my punk years were 1978-1983) I didn't expect much from this movie. what a pleasant surprise! Rather than the fashion clones most movies portray, the punks were all individuals, no two the same. Matthew Lillard was absolutely brilliant. I agree that he is probably one of the best and most under-rated actors of his generation.The soundtrack was HOT too! They included many of the bands that were part of punk's eclectic mix, including Roxy Music (mother of pearl at that!), all the way through the Dead Kennedy's. The only reason I did not give it a 5 was that the punk scene was portrayed as much more violent than the one I experienced. Then again, I was in San Francisco at an earlier time - perhaps SLC punks were more into thrashing.Even the commentary on the mods was appropriate! The entire film had much more depth and was much more thought-provoking than other more "serious" films I had recently watched. One other caveat - I would have liked to see more women with short hair. Try this movie - it will surprise you!"
The lesson comes in the end.
L. Jokubaitis | USA | 07/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You watch the whole movie but the real message is in the last five minutes of the movie. The harder you try to be something the less you really are. Stevo tired to hard to be a punk therefore he really was not a punk, is there such a thing as a punk/anarchist? you tell me."
God Save "SLC Punk"
Chris K. Wilson | Dallas, TX United States | 02/24/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you're going to appreciate "SLC Punk," the 1999 film by writer/director James Merendino, you need to have grown up during the 1980s. The film, taking place in Salt Lake City in 1984, hits all the right notes when documenting rebellion and music of the period. The lifestyles, attitudes and different cliques which spun off from American punk rock have been accurately detailed. Most importantly, the story transcends the era, revealing the frustrations of youthful rebellion and the angst of American suburban living.
There's a thread connecting "SLC Punk," "Quadrophenia," "Easy Rider" and "Rebel Without a Cause." The protagonists are cut from the same cloth - different eras, same story. "SLC Punk" has also been compared to other films detailing punk rock, most notably "Suburbia" and "The Decline of Western Civilization." "SLC Punk" comes far closer to the emotional truth of this 1980s American subculture. I related to almost every scene, though found the ending to be melodramatic. Why can't characters evolve due to changes within rather than the tragedies of others?
To see the beginnings of punk rock, all one has to do is view the extraordinary Sex Pistols' documentary "The Filth and the Fury." The anger and the music eventually spread to America, reaching such humble burgs as, according to this film, Salt Lake City. Fights with rednecks or frats were commonplace, and this is properly detailed. The chaos of concerts in small venues highlighted by thrash dancing and stage diving is expertly portrayed. The all-night parties, where wildly diverse styles including Nerds and Mods mixed with Punks, are recreated to great perfection.
"SLC Punk" documents all of this with a feverish style. The film is narrated entirely by our main protagonist Stevo, brilliantly portrayed by Matthew Lillard. This was the Reagan era, in which a movement to return to old values and traditions alienated the seeds of Woodstock. The styles of punk however, were eventually as rigid as a Southern frat house, and this is noted in "SLC Punk."
In "SLC Punk," we are much closer to our parents than we care to admit. This is emphasized during Stevo's hilarious conversations with his father, a former hippie turned lawyer who has "bought in" to the system. Played by Chris McDonald, he accepts his son's rebellion and tries to understand. Dad's a bit lost, but his love for his son is never in doubt. It's a multi-dimensional portrayal which is a highlight.
The final conflict of "SLC Punk" comes at a rapid pace, the spiral begun by an impromptu acid trip in a park leading to yet another all-night party and a drug overdose. Stevo doesn't leave the punk scene more than he evolves, as most of us do in life. There's a tendency by hardcore faithful to downgrade this film because Stevo transforms rather than giving the world the finger. He reaches his breaking point, splintering off into his own individualism. It's an oddly touching moment, spiced by an incredible flashback as Stevo takes Rush off the turntable and plays Generation X for the first time. Suddenly, the road becomes clear.
Who among us cannot recall instances from youth in which everything made sense - the translucent flash when the path cleared and we witnessed our definition? Moments like this are painful to watch because they are so truthful. Youth is pain, and "SLC Punk" is a uniquely executed slice of it."