In the early 1980s Stevo and Heroin Bob are the only two dedicated punks in conservative Salt Lake City.In the early 1980s Stevo and Heroin Bob are the only two dedicated punks in conservative Salt Lake City.In the early 1980s Stevo and Heroin Bob are the only two dedicated punks in conservative Salt Lake City.
Stevo and Bob are anarchists. Not philosophical anarchists like Kropotkin, Goodman and Goldman (Peter, Paul and Emma), but more like Leon Czolgosz, the guy who assassinated President William McKinley. Except Czolgosz had more direction in his life. Aside from throwing darts at pictures of President Ronald Reagan, Stevo and Bob just get drunk and high. Correction, only Stevo smokes grass while "Heroin" Bob is ironically nicknamed because he is afraid of needles and anything stronger than booze.
The story is picaresque in both senses of the term: it is about a couple of semi-likeable rogues, and it is less a story than a series of vignettes. I thought that each vignette more or less stood on its own, but there is something of an overarching theme, too. These young men grow up physically if not emotionally. Though angry and feeling not a little betrayed by society, they can't be Salt Lake City punks for the rest of their lives, or can they? The narrator, Stevo, is haunted by the fear that he or Bob or both of them might be the worst thing there is: a poser, a phony punk.
This movie also features one of my favorite under-rated actresses, Annabeth Gish, as Trish who runs a head shop. Bob sells himself to her for thirty-six dollars. As decadent as that might seem, there turns out to be something sweet about it, much to Stevo's disgust!
Like wearing a blue-green mohawk, "SLC Punk!" might not be for everyone, but I mainly enjoyed it. My favorite scene is the one in which Stevo's parents sit him down and try to get him to go to Harvard. What a scathing satire on my self-righteous and self-satisfied boomer generation!
- Jan 27, 2001