The Decline of Western Civilization

The Decline of Western Civilization

Part III

DVD - 2015 | Widescreen version
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Profiles hard-core gutterpunks living homeless in Los Angeles and their music.
Publisher: Los Angeles, CA : Shout! Factory, [2015]
Edition: Widescreen version
Copyright Date: © 2015
Branch Call Number: 781.6609 D
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (86 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 bonus disc
anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1)
video file,DVD video


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Apr 02, 2018

When I started watching, I very nearly turned it off, the kids were such a bunch of "losers". The interviews added dimension to what are called Gutter Punks - homeless runaways who panhandle and live in squats - and I ended up really liking them. I recommend a British film "Jubilee" to anyone who wants a taste of what punk was like in the 70's.

Nov 30, 2015

Long unavailable on DVD, the "Decline" trilogy finally came out in a special edition from Shout! factory with a bunch of extras and director approval. The first film spotlighted the nascent underground punk scene in L.A. in the early 80s and featured now iconic bands like Black Flag, X, and Germs. The second film (subtitled "The Metal Years") spotlighted the hair metal scene and was far more comic, albeit because of how clueless many of the musicians came across. The final in the trilogy returns to punk and begins asking people how old they were when the first one came out. Many weren't born yet. This one is less about the music and more about the so-called gutter punks, who are mostly street kids with a curious mix of nihilism and idealism. Many come from abusive or broken homes, many embrace self-destructive behaviors like drinking and drugs. All find camaraderie and community in the punk scene. Despite their tough exterior, they all present a vulnerable side to the camera. If there's a fault, it's that the bands here are far less interesting than the ones in the original: Naked Aggression, Final Conflict, Litmus Green, The Resistance. It does offer a counterpoint to the explosion of pop punk in the mid-90s (Green Day, Offspring, Blink-182) and the commodifying of a once small, uncompromising subculture. Keith Morris from Circle Jerks appears briefly, as does Flea, who was in Penelope Spheeris's earlier film "Suburbia," which is something of a fictional counterpart. Great to have these finally on DVD.


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