Penelope Spheeris’ name is writ large in the punk cinema lexicon. She, along with Alex Cox, captured the social rebellion. The trilogy of films from her that made up the DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION are some of the greatest documentary records, ever captured. 101 Films presents her first fiction feature SUBURBIA and THE BOYS NEXT DOOR. Todays choice is the former. A punk odyssey through the wilderness of the outskirts of LA. Children left to the wild, thanks in part to poor parenting and an a society, empty on human values and full on monetary worth. In the mix is punk bands D.I., T.S.O.L. and the Vandals, all of whom appeared before.

Starring real-life punks (or as Spheeris puts it, street kids) SUBURBIA follows the group of kids as they survive while living in an abandoned house. Getting by day to day, with money gleaned from begging, simple luck and wasted opportunity. When his own household tensions force Evan out, he finds escape and clings to the orphans of the house. Joining the group called the TR or ‘The Rejected’, which flies between the edge of the throw-away society of the US in the eighties. Penelope Spheeris speaks more on this in her own commentary. Which is valuable to the fan and the novice watcher. She points out the disconnection. Highlighting the disenfranchised root at the core of the film and the Punk movement of the youth. When however the T.R.s meet up with a group of aggressive citizens, who call themselves the “Citizens Against Crime,” violence will ensue. Spheeris also defines this, with a clear sense of the disparate relationship between the concern of a society that has wasted youth expectation and a mob mentality of the other as enemy. And here is where the bold strokes of the film, (which is uneven but worth watching for a variety of reasons) express the most interest. You see it is at its heart a social document. One that seems to distil the radical by making those on the fringes, more human.


  • Interview with director Penelope Spheeris (NEW)
  • Limited edition booklet: Includes Punks in Suburbia by John Towlson and Before Suburbia: Gangs on Film by Barry Forshaw
  • Commentary with director Penelope Spheeris
  • Commentary with director Penelope Spheeris, producer Bert Dragin and actor Jennifer Clay
  • Still Gallery
  • TV Spots
  • Trailers

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