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SLC Punk!

List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Aaron Beierle | posted January 5, 2000 | E-mail the Author
"SLC Punk" stars Matthiew Lillard as Steveo, a blue-haired punk rocker who takes a hilarious look at his hometown of Salt Lake City in 1985. The film takes a look at the lifes of Steveo and his best friend Heroin Bob(who doesn't do heroin) as they rock and roll through life. Steveo must choose between continuing his basic existence or taking the offer from his parents to go to Harvard Law School. The film has a nice documentary feel about it, as we're lead through the city and all of its weird inhabitants. Some elements of the plot structre are messy; the film's look at punk is so-so, but what got me laughing was some of the dialogue as Matt Lillard narrates most of the film, poking fun at the world around him. His rant to his parents after they request that he go to Harvard is nothing short of priceless. Parts of the movie seem more like a stand-up as his character talks directly to the camera and his observations are very funny. Although the look at the punk life seems so-so, the spirit is certainly there with a consistently hyperactive energy. The structure is nuts; it's all over the place, but it works here: it's an accurate feeling for the lives of these characters, who simply wander around looking for another moment of entertainment. Sometimes "SLC Punk!" goes a little over-the-top and sometimes it gets a little too sloppy, but I found a lot of the dialogue witty and hilarious. Many probably won't care for the characters in this film and the whole punk lifestyle portrayed, but I found it for the most part to be entertaining. For those who have liked Matt Lillard's insane performances in other films like "She's All That" will definitely find him entertaining here, where he is allowed to run wild with his performance.

The DVD VIDEO: Tristar always does an excellent job on the image quality of any of their DVDs and with the exception of a few tiny problems, the transfer for "SLC Punk" is no different. The image is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and it's also anamorphic. Images are crisp, clear and sharp throughout, looking consistently quite good with nice detail. Colors look great; natural and nicely saturated. Flesh tones are also natural throughout. Even though quite a few scenes are dark, they are still very well-defined. The outdoor shots of the Salt Lake City area and skyline look very natural and clear as well, with no problems. The only problem that I noticed with the image in "SLC Punk!" was a few instances of noticable shimmering. Other than that, "SLC Punk" looks consistently very good. There are no instances of pixelization or marks/scratches on the print used. This is generally a very smooth picture from Tristar and another good effort from a studio who's always doing good things for DVD owners.

SOUND: "SLC Punk" is mainly dialogue, but it also has quite a number of punk rock songs that sound very good on this DVD, very strong and defined. There are also a few other scenes that sound great, like a punk rock show that nicely captures the screaming crowd, effectively making it feel as if you're in the middle of the mosh pit. There's some great bands here, including one of my favorite bands ever, the Specials. Dialogue sounds clear throughout, with no problems. If you're a fan of punk music, it's definitely a movie for you- the punk songs really come alive here, and aren't way too loud or overpowering, sounding just right. MENUS: Basic Tristar menus- easy to navigate, but no animation or music or anything.

EXTRAS:: Commentary: This is a commentary by the director James Merendino and actor Michael Goorjian. Later on in the commentary, Matt Lillard joins the discussion. It's an enjoyable commentary track as the two explain what's going on in the heads of these characters as well as a bit about the production(and the conditions-"we weren't acting cold there", says Goorijan about one scene). The two also contribute some ideas about the punk rock scene and concepts about it in general, which Merendino was once a part of in Salt Lake City in the 80's himself(some of the movie is supposedly based upon events in his life). There is also a very funny note about Jan De Bont(who directed "Speed" and strangely, produced this film), who didn't want "violence" in this picture. Matt Lillard comes into the commentary at about 20 minutes in, saying that he's sorry for "oversleeping" and asking "can we cuss?". Lillard is very funny talking about his performances and how he had trouble remembering some of his lines. The group also talks a lot about the style of the movie and how the structure is supposed to be chaotic, like the lives of the characters it focuses on. The director starts laughing about a scene where the characters fight with police, and Goorijan says, "it didn't feel so funny, man". When Lillard joins the commentary, it becomes just as chaotic as the movie, with plenty of jokes flying about various aspects of the flick, including a scene where there are lights apparent in the back of a car the characters drive. After a while, the commentary turns nuts, with the speakers breaking out in laughter about the performances, including a discussion on Lillard's mugging as a performer. All three have a whole lot of fun in this commentary and the results are hilarious, one of the most entertaining commentary tracks I've heard all year. Trailers: "Go" and "SLC Punk". Isolated Score: There is also an isolated score included on this track, so you can listen to all the punk tunes on their own. "SLC Punk" comic book: You can look at a portion of the "SLC Punk" comic book. When you hit next, the screen automatically scrolls upward, revealing the next frames. The text is a little hard to read, but otherwise, this is a very fun little item.

Final Thoughts: I found the movie to be pretty entertaining, and the commentary is a whole lot of fun. Recommended.
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