Movies that are slightly off.
The Decline of Western Civilization
The Los Angeles punk music scene circa 1980 is the focus of this film. With Alice Bag Band, Black Flag, Catholic Discipline, Circle Jerks, Fear, Germs, and X.
Pretty much anyone who was ever into punk rock has some boring story about how it affected them personally. Here's mine (nobody has to read this, but this movie welled up a bunch of old memories and feelings so I feel compelled to exorcise them here):
Last time I saw this movie I was 14 or 15-years-old, sitting on a musty couch with Mary Blackwell in the basement of her aunt and uncles' house in Candler Park. Mary was a senior in high school, and I was a freshman. We met because in some morning period class she would graffiti her desk, and later in the day when the room was used for a completely different class, I would come…
There's a slender thread here, and some would probably say in the DNA of punk itself, of creepy shit like white supremacy, homophobia, and genuinely antisocial and violent behavior (as opposed to the cool kind) that to the movie's credit isn't brushed under the rug but isn't quite the subject of serious exploration either. Contrast that with the often straight-ahead mockery of Part II and you have quite a study in how subtle differences in presentation can make a huge difference in material. It's also a study in how much shittier music apparently got in less than ten years.
"Personally, I've been through one too many youth movements."
As always with concert films, mileage will vary depending on one's connection to the music on display. As someone who, when tasked with writing an 8th grade history report on any era of human existence, chose this very scene, the hardcore punk scene in Southern California at the dawn of the 1980s, this is catnip to me.
As Mike Watt wrote and D. Boon sang as part of the greatest punk band of all time, "We learned punk rock in Hollywood, drove up from Pedro. We were fucking corndogs. We'd go drink and pogo." That is this movie.
It's been years since I've seen this and it's interesting to see which…
punk is horrible and punks are horrible
The first part of Penelope Spheeris' trilogy of documentaries about L.A.'s alternative music/lifestyle scene has a near mythical reputation - perhaps largely as a result of its rarity - the only copy I've ever seen is a DVD-R taken off a Japanese laserdisc! The Decline Of Western Civilization is very much a celluloid time capsule, capturing as it does a short period between the 1970s and 80s and concentrating on a handful of Los Angeles punk bands, some on the verge of fame within the scene (an early incarnation of a pre-Henry Rollins Black Flag, and another Flag vocalist Keith Morris with Circle Jerks), others more established (seminal L.A. bands X and Fear), and a few destined for obscurity (art…
My band is thinking of doing a bunch of Germs covers, since everyone in the band is so untalented and inebriated that it's inevitable that we'll sound better than the original.
If you are a fan of punk, documentaries, time capsules, musical mayhem, nonsensical lyrics, bracing speed or just amazing films in general. Then The Decline of Western Civilization is for you.
Gives context to punk music and what audiences were like who went to see the shows. Punk is described as “real music, no bullshit rock stars” Various groups talk about life in a punk band. You can be loved by fans and hated by others. A band member explains the punk songs are short, but actually have as many verses/lyrics as normal songs, because they are played faster. Black Flag made very little money when expenses had been paid, only enough for food and cheap accommodation.
The film ends with a concert by Fear in which the audience misbehaves and the band provoke the crowd by calling them names.
Band member: “The only performance that makes it, and…
Special Q&A with Penelope Spheeris. I just really, really want to be her when I grow up.
Obligatory Punks Not Dead! comment.
Hell yeah, punk rock.
What a wholly unlikeable bunch of dirty, low-down, no-good punks. Highlights definitely Spheeris's time spent with X and Fear playing heel in the film's conclusion.
i wish there had been more of the interviews and less music. that sounds like the music is bad it's not i just really like the interviews
I can't believe I had never seen this movie before. I don't know if I've ever seen a documentary capture a moment in time quite so brilliantly. Bravo to Penelope Spheeris for being a pioneer woman for music in film.
A jarringly extreme and brutally authentic time capsule of the LA punk rock scene circa 1978-1981.
High-rated movies with very few views. Suggestions are welcome.
Here are some #DirectedbyWomen Film Viewing Possibilities... Will add MANY more soon...
Also building a major list here: