Two punks live in Salt Lake City. The film covers their all-day routine. The realism of the character-narrated movie may be discussed. One of the punks gets ill, stays in hospital for three weeks, comes out again. Three parties are covered and one concert including a fight between punks, rednecks and others.Written by
Look Back & Laugh
Performed by Minor Threat
Written by Ian MacKaye (as I. MacKaye), Brian Baker (as B. Baker), Steve Hansgen (as S. Hansgen), Jeff Nelson (as J. Nelson) & Lyle Preslar (as L. Preslar)
Courtesy of Dischord Records
Published by Minor Threat Music (BMI) See more »
I did not expect much from this movie and was pleasantly surprised, and having been to Salt Lake City a few times, I was particularly amused. I was there in 1980, at the outset of the decade in which the movie takes place. That visit turned out to be the one and only time I set foot in a disco club. It is a good thing I didn't run into Stevo and Bob, the twin protagonists of "SLC Punk!" They would have kicked my butt because they hate mods, hippies and rednecks. Whether or not to pound on a disco-goer wouldn't even be a question. At one point, Bob asks a British punk band's lead singer why he would never come back to SLC. "Too bleeding violent," says the bruised singer. "Thank you!" says Bob.
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!
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