SLC Punk!

Wrapped beneath the layers of language, drug use, anarchy, and punk rock is a gentle coming of age story. Huh? Mathew Lillard (Scream, Wing Commander) is Stevo, one of the only two 'true' punk rockers in Salt Lake City in the golden years of the Reagan Era. Stevo and his buddy Heroin Bob (Michael Goorjain, (Hard Rain, Leaving Las Vegas), who, oddly enough, doesn't do any drugs, miraculously graduate from college, and are now on the cusp of their new lives. Stevo's dad (Christpher MacDonald) wants him to go to law school like he did, but Stevo just wants to spread his gospel of anarchy. Stevo and Bob laze their days away with their strange friends, waiting for something to happen in their lives.

SLC Punk! is a strange and funny movie from director James Merendino. There are some elements of Merendino's life in the story of the movie, but overall, it is a work of fiction. In the eighties, punk rock was the ultimate form of rebellion. Being a punk rocker in Mormon Salt Lake City can be considered being the ultimate outsider. Stevo and Bob can't relate to anyone or anything around them, and the people around them can't relate to them. But oddly enough, Stevo has this nagging feeling that something is missing from his life. Is anarchy the way to go? Or is something else out there? Drinking, getting high and getting into fights used to be fun, but now, the glamour of it all is gone.

Merendino's script is not quite conventional. The movie is told from Stevo's point of view, and if he wants to tell the audience something, he turns right towards the camera and starts talking. He tells you his philosophy on life, and how he feels about his friends and the people around him. You truly experience the world through his eyes. Lillard does an excellent job on his first outing as a movie headliner. His anger and frustration appear very real, as does his sadness and confusion. For some movies, it seems that a soundtrack is established first, then the script is written. SLC Punk! is definitely not the case. The soundtrack fits perfectly into the movie, with tracks by the Dead Kennedys, the Ramones, the Velvet Underground, the Stooges, the Specials, and more. Merendino effectively creates an atmosphere of rebellion, and is effectively able to transform Stevo from a young punk to a young man.

Mongoose Rates It: Not Bad.
1 hour, 37 minutes, Rated R for language, drug use, and some sex.

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