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SLC Punk!
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SLC Punk! More at IMDbPro »

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15 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

if you're a punk fan before watching this movie, you will hate it!

Author: oslane from United States
24 May 2008

Sure the film is marginally entertaining but if you were into punk rock music before seeing it and are familiar at all with the culture of punks in general, then you really will feel this movie is more like a stupid hipster version of punk culture than a good comedy/drama depicting it.

If you want a strong account of punk from the 80s, then watch a movie from the 80s like 'Suburbia.' This is more like a Mathew Lillard vehicle which allows him to make a bunch of smug remarks and observations. And where the movie could fly as a hilarious punk satire (because punks DO take themselves to seriously as this damn movie proves) instead becomes phony punk 101 for a bunch of 90s hipsters.

The only redeeming factors are a few funny moments and some good songs in the soundtrack. Like any outsider looking in, the subject is completely generalized. If you want to see a marginally entertaining movie that becomes overly sincere and melodramatic about halfway through, fine, see it. Otherwise just read 'Please Kill Me' or 'American Hardcore' or see the MULTITUDES of punk films. They are WAY better!

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Superb - But this movie is not about punk or anarchy

Author: Gordon_123 from Spain
1 October 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I just viewed and enjoyed this movie a lot. Not everything was great all the time, but in general it is a great work. The talk at the Mall near the beginning about the origin of punk etc is hilarious!!!

I liked especially because: -I am from the late 70's punk era -Many of the philosophical arguments are quite real and relevant -Some of the music was great -The way things develop and how the story ends is just great--and realistic too-

But the main theme is NOT punk, nor anarchy --------------------------------------- From a mature viewpoint, and being totally familiar with the punk culture since its inception, for me the main theme of this movie is not about punk, nor anarchy. No, the main thing is how certain attitudes that one holds during youth sooner or later cannot be maintained, because things like love and your own instincts eventually force you to change. In other words, many of those attitudes and ideas one thinks are the best and unmovable during youth, there comes a point change and other things become important. Actually, this is a process one goes through during our whole life, not only in the transition between the young years and becoming older.

(Actually the attitudes maintained by these guys would be impossible without having their daddys and mommys paying for their rent. It's easy to defend anarchy if you have all their needs covered!)

Acting was FANTASTIC. The main actor is really out of this world. In the funny, rebellious, but also the dramatic scenes, he was superb

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17 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Interesting Premise, Poor Execution/Writing

Author: suesalot from South Orange, NJ
21 January 2008

I saw this movie after hearing very positive things about it and with generally good expectations. And those expectations would seem to be the same if I looked at the IMDb reviews.

However, soon enough into the movie I remembered that not all indie movies with quirky premises are works of genius. The whole film felt like the writer/director saw "Trainspotting" and took the wrong things from it.

One element in particular that gave this feeling is the use of narration. With movies like Goodfellas, Fight Club, City of God, and of course, Trainspotting among my favorites, I am certainly not opposed to movies told in the first person. But James Merendino seems to think narration is a valid substitute for characterization and plot development. Most of the narration says things about the characters and events that either would be more interesting shown in the film rather than simply told, or has already been shown in the film, and is thus being redundant. Very rarely does the narration actually do something to add to the story. I don't know about the other reviewers, but I found it pretty clear from the beginning that "being an anarchist in Salt Lake isn't easy", before Stevo told us several times, and by the time he tells us flat-out that Mike is "hardcore" despite his outwardly preppy appearance, Mike has already *well* established that in a certain fight scene.

I also felt the film squandered a lot of potential. In one of the first shots, where the camera zooms in on targets made from Reagan portraits, I became excited about a thought-provoking and unique critique on such an oppressively conservative atmosphere as Reagan-era America against the backdrop of already religious and conservative Salt Lake City. Instead, the characters' rants seem to go little beyond yelling the F-word and telling the audience what anarchy means(not what it means to them, just the dictionary definition of anarchy) for the umpteenth time. The closest the movie comes to an actually intelligent argument for punk/anarchy is Stevo's rant at his parents, and even then it rambles and becomes little more than saying things very eloquently. In fact, all the script ever seems to do to try to depict punks as anything beyond the stereotype is embellish their dialog with the same kind of faux-eloquence that Bill and Ted enjoyed using so much. I was disappointed how despite how much there is to argue against the system, especially in Reagan-era *anywhere*, no one really discusses why they choose anarchy or what's wrong with the government/system. Everyone seems to be content with a blind, almost dogmatic belief in anarchy.

This isn't to say that I completely hated the movie, however. There were certainly parts that I thought were funny and well-done. I loved the scenes with Sean, the character of Mark and the scene that highlighted him, and the trip to the liquor store, among other scenes. When the movie hit the mark in scenes like these, it was hilarious and original.

I thought it was overall decent film-making, as far as camera and editing technique goes. However, I thought it sometimes tried to pass style off as substance; a prime example being the overtly complicated digression about "The Fight", that despite using an interesting, if not inventive, montage of images and clips in conjunction with a mock-lecture from the narrator, ultimately says and means nothing, and is not only content with that, but fully aware of it.

Overall, I was pretty disappointed with SLC Punk!. I thought there was decent film-making throughout and some good parts here and there, but this was ruined whenever the the narration came in or Stevo broke the fourth wall. The characters were rarely more than ideas or stereotypes, and never seemed to stand for anything more than "F**k the system", without figuring out or explaining why. Why this seems to be a must-see for punks everywhere is beyond me; if anything it simply dumbs them down and dissolves any real purpose behind being a punk, and is fully aware of this.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Entertaining, but not the quintessential 80's punk movie it sets out to be

Author: chase_g from United States
24 July 2010

On initially watching this movie I wanted to give it a higher rating, because all in all it was fast-paced and entertaining. The dialog was good enough and there was plenty of humor and action. One stylistic criticism is that Stevo's voice-over was poorly utilized. In movies where the method works, such as Fight Club and A Clockwork Orange, the voice-over was used moderately so as to represent the narrator's perspective through comments where it would otherwise be unclear rather than summarize things that could have been shown instead of told or were already happening on screen. Overall, it seemed to be a low-budget attempt to emulate Trainspotting's style.

On further reflection, however, it's clear that this movie is geared towards 90's hipsters who don't know anything about punk rock and only recognize it for its fashionistas and punk bands that were slow and poppy enough to make it to the mainstream. Disappointingly, there seemed to be more classical music in its soundtrack than genuine 80's hardcore songs. Despite Stevo's railings against 'posers,' he and his friends seemed to be trying too hard with their image to take any of his 'anarchist' rhetoric seriously. Nor is anarchism even close to being the only ideology which identifies with punk. Contrary to this movie's attempt to portray punks as being to the 80's what hippies were to the 60's, the genre is far too diverse and divergent to make the point stick. Along with druggies there were straight edgers, along with anarchists there were fascists, and along with all of them there were people who just didn't care one way or the other. SLC Punk attempted to use broad generalizations to display a small subsection within punk rock as being wholly representative for its target audience of outsiders. Within 80's hardcore, a shaved head, plain tee, and boots were far more common than a blue mohawk with tight leather pants.

SLC Punk never truly felt as though it was about the music or even the broader social scene so much as it was about a specific character, his specific problems, and his specific viewpoint.

The amorphous plot had been satisfactory until its ending, which had conclusions which were too black-and-white and didn't translate smoothly enough from the protagonist to his broader social situation. This could have been forgiven however, if not for the display of some of the most horrible and clichéd acting I've seen within memory from the two kids playing the flashback versions of Stevo and Bob. The amateurishness and total lack of quality in this scene speaks for itself.

I would only recommend this movie to someone with nothing else to do and who can take its portrayal of punk with more than a grain of salt.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Good but flawed film

Author: Brad Glaser (
12 January 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I need to warn you right up front that I will be discussing the ending of this film in these comments, but I will insert another warning right before I do so.

SLC Punk is a surprisingly good film. It's manic pacing and overloaded visual style may annoy some viewers, but these techniques were quite intentional. The feeling of confrontation they create is completely appropriate to the subject matter and the story, set in the 80's Salt Lake City punk scene.

Speaking of which, many of the comments on this site have harped on the fact that you have to be a punk to enjoy this film. This couldn't be further from the truth. Any fan of art, which by its nature tests the limits of society's rules, could enjoy this film. I would even hazard a guess that some true punks would enjoy it less than the average film buff, as turning a critical eye to the soundtrack or the exact depiction of affairs in the punk world could lessen the films overall effect, which is quite strong.

This film deals in a meaningful way with the feeling of the Outsider. In that respect, it is perhaps a closer relative of On the Waterfront or Easy Rider than Pulp Fiction, the film to which it has most often been compared(largely because this is the inevitable comparison of 90's film.) What makes this film different from either Waterfront or Rider, as well as Sid and Nancy, is its often lighthearted tone. It is impressive that in this humor, we still can see most clearly the anger of the characters. It is a humor born of overwhelming tension and displacement rather than one of light-hearted frivolity and, as such, is completely believable.

***Spoiler Alert***

All this said, after viewing the movie, I was rather vexed by the ending. It was not so much the fact of the Lillard character's "selling out" that bothered me, but rather the ease with which he could accomplish the feat. To my mind, the film ignored its own wisdom, which lies in the fact that the true outsider feels too distanced from his society to be able to rejoin it, even as an "establishment rebel," in one fell swoop. This movie is too good to end this quickly and wrap things up so tightly. A more realistic picture may have involved a somewhat tortured process for the Lillard character, which may have been difficult given the film's pace but which would have been much more believable.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:


Author: Santiago Guerrero ( from Chicago, Illinois
21 July 2005

this movie is mediocre at best. I really don't know why, and am constantly annoyed by people who love this movie. they love love love it. when I first saw this movie I would most likely have given it a 7 or maybe 8, but now that I am more into punk rock I'm almost offended by this movie and how pretentious the attitude is. "This is Jenny, Jenny forgot to take her pills, blah blah". When Lillard talks to the camera in this movie its like hes a poser punk version or Malcolm in the middle. in very few ways is his performance believable. Like when that girl he meets in the end of the movie completely degrades his lifestyle, he seems to have no problem with it because hes "in love", but any normal "punk" (a word which has never been more overused than in this movie) would have told her off. This any many more stupid characteristics make this movie very hard for me to watch.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Not trying to be punk by any means, and a great movie.

Author: DarkSparkles
23 November 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS. The bad reviews I'm reading on the website say that the movie appeals to Hot Topic kids and Avril fans, but I'd disagree. Mind you, I did first see the movie when I was a Hot Topic kid [Avril wasn't around yet], and I loved it. Things are different now, and I STILL love it. This movie is not trying to define punk, nor is it trying to make its characters the most punk they can be. Notice the quote from the end: "In the end, we're all posers." Stevo reforms his life after Heroin Bob dies and he sees how f***ed up things are and how pointless all of what he's doing is. It talks about how working the system from the inside does "a lot more damage", which is an incredibly good perspective that isn't seen too often in movies involving punks. Most kids walking around with a store-bought anarchy t-shirt would yell about how they want to stay outside the system, and unfortunately they fail to see the ending and ruin the credibility for other fans of this movie.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Punks and posers

Author: knucklebreather from United States
17 June 2013

"SLC Punk!" is the charming story of Steveo and his pal Heroin Bob (who does not actually due heroin), two hardcore anarchist punks in the unlikely setting of Salt Lake City, Utah. To anyone who's grown up different outside of the hip big cities, I think this movie will strike a chord, even if your scene wasn't punk rock.

The setting definitely works to this movie's advantage. The punks are at constant war with the rednecks (which includes the police) and rivals of the Mods. The beer run to Wyoming and soul-searching trips to the salt flats are some of the real highlights of the movie and elements that take advantage of the setting in Utah.

The movie is shot in a stylish, fourth-wall breaking style. I found it to be extremely reminiscent of Trainspotting, which came out a few years earlier. It doesn't do so well in comparison with that particular movie, which has funnier laughs, much more dramatic lows, a crisper plot, more dynamic use of music... and so on.

This is hardly to say "SLC Punk!" is a bad movie, it is completely worth a watch, especially if you have any affinity for punk rock or being a social outsider.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Anarchy in Salt Lake City.

Author: FlashCallahan from Leicester, United Kingdom
31 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Two punks in the eighties, decide they want to change things in their life and along the way cause a little anarchy in some places, and good Karma in others.

Forget the fact that the cover says Sid and Nancy meets John Hughes, that couldn't be further from the truth.

If you mix a little Boogie Nights, with Prick up your Ears, you get what in turn is this, a mildly diverting drama with excellent characters and Lillard breaking the fourth wall in what is arguably his greatest performance.

They are basically slackers, who argue with peers and superiors and cause a little bit of trouble. Some of the characters are interesting, Schweiger and Segel are standouts, others, random people doing random acts are not, become a little boring and a little too ironic, because after all, the late nineties was a time for ironic movies and left-field characters.

The ending is mighty predictable too, one dying, and then the other pursuing his Fathers dreams for him.

Watchable, but you'll get a screaming sense of Deja Vu

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

It's tough to be a poser.

Author: Aidiera from Phoenix
17 October 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a very interesting movie. It's part documentary, part narrative, and part confusing. (I really, really feel like the 2002 "Scooby-Doo" movie takes place during one of Matthew Lillard's bad trips.) The two protagonists, Heroin Bob and Stevo, are a great pair. I loved watching their story arcs rise and fall. I don't really know how accurate the movie is about growing up punk, but I was also raised a little bit on punk (and ska). I liked the music in the movie, even all the hating on British bands. It was also funny as hell to see Jason Segel play a dweeby guy. While I can't say for sure whether or not I liked the ending, it did make me tear up a bit, which rarely happens. Overall a good film. (And I love love love the song "Beat My Guest" so thanks for including it.

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