• John (Magic Rat Movies)

    ★★★½ Watched by John (Magic Rat Movies) 16 Apr, 2014

    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…

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  • Gilliam85

    ★★★½ Added by Gilliam85

    Spheeris turns her camera on the L.A. punk scene with curiosity, enthusiasm, and scorn. The result is, appropriately, a bit of a mess: a gutter level view of a generation bored with modern society. Spheeris' subjects are some of the fiercest, most wasted flag bearers of the scene, and one can't help but feel both sorry for and outraged by them. Even the normally amiable member of X come across as smug hipsters. The film's conclusion, during which the band…

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  • fizzybenilyn

    ★★★★ Watched by fizzybenilyn 12 Feb, 2014

    Our Band Could Be Your Life: The Movie

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  • tfbundy

    ★★★★ Watched by tfbundy 01 Mar, 2013

    Penelope Spheeris' documentary of the L.A. punk rock scene circa '79-'80 does occasionally threaten to come across as the effort of a superfan explaining that newfangled noise to fearful old fogeys who had been locking their daughters away from the mohawks and safety pins brigade, but thankfully she's smart enough to resist narrating and let the scene do the talking. Bizarrely it gives the documentary a weird, pacifying mix of authenticity and danger that gives it cred while assuaging the…

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  • onemarathon

    ★★½ Watched by onemarathon 27 Nov, 2013

    Only slightly of interest to me, this forerunner to the "sequel" - TDOWC Part II: The Metal Years - was a much more raucous experience, but the interviews were dull and lifeless. My knowledge of punk was minimal, so I actually learned a little from this documentary, but again, this genre of music - and its less than colourful characters - didn't excite me one bit.

    The film featured about a half dozen early punk bands. The ones I liked…

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  • Noetic Hatter

    ★★★★½ Watched by Noetic Hatter 10 Sep, 2013

    Invaluable look at the Los Angeles punk scene around 1980 -- a film as raw as the artists and music it chronicles.

    Penelope Spheeris starts with an overview of the genre before diving into interviews with band members interlaced with footage from their shows. She also spends some time with Slash magazine, one of the big fanzines from the period. And at the end, she interview some kids from the "scene" - though you'll notice Pat Smear (The Germs, Nirvana,…

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  • mrbalihai

    ★★★★ Added by mrbalihai

    Before Penelope Spheeris veered off into dopey comedies based on television shows, she made this brilliant documentary of L.A. punk. This is what lightning captured in a bottle looks like.

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  • spungzilla

    ★★★★½ Added by spungzilla

    If you like hardcore punk rock from the 70s and 80s, this movie is for you. It's a documentary on the music and the lifestyle embodied by punk rockers back in 1981, from the mouths of the rockers themselves.

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  • Mario

    ★★★★★ Added by Mario

    Awesome documentary. Contains some of the best Black Flag footage ever.

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