Suburbia (1983) Mini Review

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Plot: Through the prism of the makeshift family they pieced together, we follow a group of transient kids through their highs and lows as they attempt to survive and find refuge in an intolerant and unforgiving world. Also: mohawks, punk music, and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea putting a live rat* in his mouth.

How I Watched: Criterion Channel (Streaming)

Review: The grit is palpable from frame one of Suburbia. Its story and characters are in your face, unpolished, unapologetic and utterly devastating. Director Penelope Spheeris (of The Decline of Western Civilization, Dudes, and Wayne’s World fame) wisely opted for authenticity when populating the ragtag group of self anointed rejects with real-life punks and it works. It just works. From laughable acts of mischief and vandalism to heart-breaking tragedies, your cheering and crying with these wide-eyed, world-weary (they’re both somehow) kids. There’s also some pretty incredible music if you’re into punk. Come for the “fuck you” attitude and 1980s punk subculture, stay for the intensely personal storytelling and a peak into the human condition.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

* Not sure why I felt the need specify the rat was alive. I guess that makes it better than putting a dead rat in your mouth?

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