Suburbia Penelope Spheeris

Suburbia Penelope Spheeris
In addition to featuring Flea (pre-Red Hot Chilli Peppers), live performances and a couple of memorable exploitation sequences, Suburbia has maintained its cult status more so for its compassionate, if somewhat patronizing, look at the '80s punk movement. Like any social entity, it is the bucking of dominant oppressive values for an equally limiting and assimilative ideologue, but its anarchic, anti-establishment ethos asserts a politically relevant rage to a generation that saw their idealistic hippie parents conform to the very establishment they whined about. Spheeris compares this anger to a pack of wild dogs, as the film opens with a small child being ripped apart by a pit-bull let loose by guard dog trainers that went out of business. This parallel continues throughout, as the gang of punk ruffians establish their bonds and home, occasionally telling off a shopkeeper or housewife. There isn't much of a plot outside of these moments of friendship and a conflict with some rednecks, but the chronicling of parties, concerts and socially abject behaviour is apt, in the moment and occasionally amusing, even if it all devolves into melodrama in the third act. The DVD features two separate commentary tracks, both featuring director Penelope Spheeris at different times. The older, previously available track is she alone and is far more personal, discussing themes and anecdotes, with an emotional breakdown during the shocking final moments of the film. She even comments on this commentary track during the new one with producer Bert Dragin and actress Jennifer Clay. They discuss the treatment of animals on set, along with the occasional improvisation and the overly extended sequence of the girl naked after her dress was ripped off during a concert. This track is probably more amusing than the film, with Spheeris' candid remarks and Clay's cracks about being naked on film and having to make out with someone after they'd eaten Doritos. (Shout! Factory)