Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 12/7/99
1999 (1999) - Columbia
review by Frank Ortiz of
The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B+/B/B
Specs and Features
97 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced,
single-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, audio
commentary (with director/writer James Merendino, and actors Matthew
Lillard and Michael Goorjian), theatrical trailers for SLC
Punk and Go,
isolated music track, comic book presentation of SLC
Punk, film-themed menus, scene access (28 chapters),
languages: English (DD 5.1 & 2.0), subtitles: English, Spanish &
French, Close Captioned
Is this another one of
those films about the 80's? Is it just another film about the "punk"
scene? Or is it really all of the above, as well as a fun indie
project? I think SLC Punk is
surprising a lot of folks. This is one I can't hold back on
really like it. Beyond all the "in your face" attitude,
social disorder, youth angst and violence, this film strikes a
certain chord in me that makes me want to hit a club with a live
punk rawk show and pit around (that's slam dance in the pit - not
mosh - for you youngins). I've heard all the old "back in the
day" stories, and I've shared one or two of my own, but SLC
Punk is a story that hits home for some of us.
The film is about an anarchist punk youth named Stevo (played by
Matthew Lillard), and his life living in the Mormon capitol, Salt
Lake City. It takes you through a few flashbacks here and there, to
help you lean more about many of the characters. The crux of the
story, is Stevo's search for an identity for the adult chapter of
his life. Should he stay in SLC, or go to an Ivy League school for a
Law degree? Should he "sell out", or live out his ideals?
Stevo's strong friendship with Bob (Michael A. Goorjian) plays a key
role in his everyday life and his passions.
I was really surprised by Matthew Lillard here. In other films I've
found his rather annoying. But this time around, he's surprisingly
likeable and charming, and ends up being way too damn familiar.
Funny - that's most likely why I really enjoyed this film. There are
so many familiar people and cliques here, that I found myself
thinking about some folks I knew from high school and college that I
haven't recalled in a while. Some of the friends I had back then
even mixed it up in the Orange City Mall "riots" here in
Orange County, CA back in the 80's (which were really no more than a
few fights between Rockers, Punkers, Mods and whoever else wanted to
jump in). There's quite a bit of violence in this movie as well, but
it's not played up to be too glamourized - it's more shown to be
merely a part of the culture. SLC Punk
is well written and directed. Director James Meredino took some
chances in making a movie about a group of people considered
misfits, and I think it paid off nicely.
The video on this DVD is clean and bright. Columbia TriStar does a
very nice job with their anamorphic-enhanced widescreen transfers,
and this is no exception. There's the occasional digital artifacting
to be seen now and again, but that's not a big deal. The sound is
extremely important in this genre, and the audio you get on this DVD
is just great. Both the 2.0 and 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtracks are
mixed well. The 5.1 works my sub nicely, and has good crisp
centering on dialogue without distortion. This is a good looking and
You also get a few nice extras, although not a ton of stuff.
There's an audio commentary that starts out with Merendino and actor
Michael A. Goorjian, and about 20 minutes or so into it, Matthew
comes in as well. The commentary is fun, with many behind-the-scenes
stories, interesting little notes on some of the scenes, and all
sorts of the kind of stuff that make commentaries enjoyable. The
mood changes to a joke time when Matthew comes in, but the
information continues to flow with good input from everyone. I was
pleased to see that there's an isolated music track on this disc,
although the volume fluctuates somewhat (just as it does in the
normal tracks) - still, it's a nice extra. The comic presentation is
cool and unique, and you get quite a few pages worth of it.
I never thought I would say this, but SLC
Punk is a great movie about the American Punks in the
80's. If you were a punk yourself, had friends that were punks, or
if you like anything all about punk music, then my bet that you'll
enjoy this film. I'd easily recommend it.