If the exclamation in the title didn't tell you how lame this
movie was going to be, let me do it for you. "SLC Punk!"
"SLC Punk!" is the perfect movie to make middle-aged
people feel like they understand their punk rock kids. After
they've seen this movie, the shitheads can follow-up by watching
an ABC After School Special about drug addiction and their education
will be complete. They'll know all they think they need to know.
The fact that it's all simplified, melodramatic bullshit probably
won't matter to them. "SLC Punk!" makes a sappy story
out of a subject that could have been interesting if told by
someone who knew what the fuck he was talking about.
Hell, there is an interesting topic here: what happened to
all the mid-eighties punks? They're not punks anymore, so where
did they go? Well, if you believe this movie, they all died of
overdoses or became lawyers and punk rock was forgotten. Never
mind the thousands who changed their clothes but who are still
just as pissed off inside. That would have been too hard for
these simpletons to depict.
Don't get me wrong, I have no patience for the Goddamn punks
who steal the P-nuttles from the Ralston Amoco. I would love
to rip their "Misfits" jackets off their backs and
beat the fucking shit out of them. But, I at least understand
that they aren't done any service by a movie that tells their
story like it was as simple as an episode of "Davey and
Matthew Lillard plays a punk so annoying he would have had
his head busted open in real-life. He has graduated college and
is living an aimless existence in Salt Lake City. It's supposed
to be the summer after graduation but it snows a hell of a lot.
Anyway, his parents want him to be a Harvard lawyer, but he wants
to cause mayhem and promote anarchy with his friend Michael Goorjian.
Slowly, Lillard sees all of his friends die or grow up and grow
out of punk rock, and he is left alone. So what does he do? He
fulfills his father's wish and heads for Harvard. Are we supposed
to be glad or what?
Maybe it would have helped if we would have given a shit about
him. The problem is his character is so fucking phony that I
never for a second though he would do anything but the obvious
choice of going to law school. And he'll fit right in because
he is an asshole.
It's all so fucking pat. It's all a series of vignettes from
a Lifetime Channel movie, except with lots of swearing and pot
smoking. The writers and actors are pretty sure they understand
punk rock, but they haven't got a fucking clue. They obviously
were never punks, but instead the kinds of assholes who think
it's a good subject to exploit in a cheap movie. "Slc Punk!"
also is shocking in the amount of worthless information it throws
up there. Sixty percent of the movie is scenes that go nowhere
and mean nothing. I guess the makers were overly enamored with
the world punk rock they "discovered."
They're writing from the outside, trying to rationalize punk
rock for themselves, but not helping the rest of us at all. Well,
they are doing a fine job misinforming other people outside punk
rock. Now they'll all think punk rockers are these sensitive,
misunderstood kids who don't even want to be punks. But I can
guarantee you that no right-minded punk would watch this bullshit.
Instead, they would watch "The Decline of Western Civilization."
Punks don't want to see movies that dissect them, and they
certainly don't want posers representing them. Hell, this movie's
about as accurate as if I wrote a flick about rich assholes in
the Hamptons who love classical music.
Two things really doom the movie. First is its love for fucking
melodrama. I mean, Jesus Harry Christ with his thumb up his butt,
they might as well have put Meryl Streep in there to bawl her
eyes out as the misunderstood leader of a gang. There's an incredibly
corny scene where Lillard tells his parents off and how he's
going to change the world as a punk. Changing the world was the
dumbshit hippies' deal. The punks just wanted to be left alone.
"SLC Punk!" also revels in how out of place the punks
with their "crazy" hairdos look. First, Lillard eats
at a fancy restaurant with his rich dad. His dad has fancy food
and Lillard eats a hot dog. Bull-fucking-shit! That's just movie
laziness putting in little gags like that which cheapen all the
characters. Then, there is supposed to be a hilarious scene where
the punks go to Wyoming to buy liquor and the people in Wyoming
are shocked by the punk's appearance. This is supposed to be
1985, you assholes. By then, punks were heard of in such faraway
places as Wyoming. Once again, the movie goes for a cheap gag
that really just insults the entire punk rock experience. Then,
there is a punk party raided by rednecks. First, there are way
too many girls at the party, and way too many guys talking to
girls for it to be a real punk party. Second, punks and rednecks
did not sneak into each others' parties just to brawl. It looks
pretty on camera, but is just another example of this piss-poor
movie's cheapening of a lifestyle.
Matthew Lillard is the other problem with this movie. That
fucker is a frat boy, not a punk. He talks way too fucking much
and he tries too Goddamned hard to analyze everything. He is
incredibly annoying and he's as credible as a priest at a Catholic
high school is of being heterosexual. Half of the movie is just
him yammering on, trying to explain why he was a punk in voice-overs
or flashbacks. That's again lazy nonsense. This is a movie, not
a fucking essay, so show it to us. Don't have an annoying, unbelievable
character tell it to us and expect us to buy it. All this talking
is a dead giveaway that this isn't the real shit. Punks aren't
too crazy about analyzing why they like what they do.
The flick is redeemed from the crusty, bloody bowels of cinema
by one thing: Goorjian. He's a real punk. He's quiet, inarticulate
and he comes alive only when the music's playing. That's the
way punks are. That he dies in a cheap movie machination is too
bad. I would have loved to see more of him and for the film to
follow him. His character was far more like a punk than the cocky,
loud Lillard. There is also a good soundtrack with some decent
greatest hits collection of punk songs. Of course, any real punk
should already have these or others by the same bands. I guarantee
you no punk is going to go out and buy the soundtrack because
greatest hits collections are part of what punk rock was rebelling
against.. In fact, they should beat the shit out of every poser
As it is, however, it's just another in the long line of bullshit
movies that oversimplify things in an attempt to get cheap laughs
and easy drama. Sorry, fuckers, you didn't sell me on it, and
there aren't enough 50-year-olds who want a crash course in punk
rock to make it matter. Two fingers.
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