"Sell out? Buy in? If the film doesn't even know what's going on, who cares?"
SLC Punk is like that little puppy that's so amusing and fun that you want nothing but to love it. The only thing is, every once in a while it pees on your furniture.The movie felt a lot like Dazed and Confused, which should have been a really good thing. Both feature zany characters, extreme situations and little to no plot. Dazed and Confused is about growing up as teenage partier in the 70s; SLC Punk is about growing up as an anarchist punk in the 80s. Matthew “Shaggy” Lillard is surprising good as protagonist Stevo and even more impressive is Michael A. Goorjian as his partner in anarchy, Heroin Bob (who has an irrational fear of drugs and needles).
So far this sounds very amusing and fun. The furniture peeing comes from the framework of the movie. SLC Punk is way too scattered. The majority of the film’s minor characters are around in the first third but aren’t really introduced until later, so we’re forced to reevaluate how and why they exist in this strange punk culture.
The “plot” also has way too many flashbacks and imagined scenes. In the course of a two minute scene at a party we get at least 10 minutes of anecdotal flashbacks. I completely forgot about the party and when exactly the present was for most of it. You might argue that this is a movie about punks and that randomness fits the personality of the film. I think it’s just lazy. Dazed and Confused never left its meandering story and therefore never lost my attention. With so little to hold onto, SLC Punk should have stayed in the present and let the narrative wander around this fascinating Utah punk underworld instead of jumping around it like a ballerina on speed.
The worst part for me was how change came about for Stevo (spoiler warning... though very vague). Seeing his punk world fall apart and some of the negative affects it was having on people should have been enough. There was even a love interest who helped him question some of his choices. But just to make sure, the writer killed off one of the characters. Because seeing someone you know die (accidentally and pointlessly) is the only reason people change. I thought it was contrived. I wanted to know what would have happened if the character would have lived. Would Stevo still have changed? Or was he waiting for someone to die before he had permission?All in all, the movie was definitely diverting and had some really amusing parts, such as Stevo ranting at his parents about their fascist lifestyle. It’s worth a look and comes highly recommended by many a teenager and college student. Just watch out for the yellow stains.