On Wednesday, Film Comment begins its Summer Meltdown series, featuring screenings of classic and classically scuzzy rock films, including, on Saturday night at 8pm, 1983’s Suburbia, produced by Roger Corman, directed by Penelope Spheeris, and starring a cast of L.A. punk and hardcore kids—including a pre-Chili Peppers Flea—playing, well, L.A. punk and hardcore kids who run off and start squatting.
Spheeris scored the gig having demonstrated her familiarity with the milieu in 1981’s seminal L.A. punk documentary The Decline of Western Civilization (with X, Black Flag, Fear, The Germs, the Circle Jerks…). Eventually, her evident ease in navigating sociomusicological subcultures would score her a gig directing a movie based on a Saturday Night Live skit concerning local-access music television—and Wayne’s World, led, in turn, to long-awaited movies ofBeverly Hillbillies (with Jim Varney and the ageless Diedrich Bader!) and Little Rascals, and then, naturally, Black Sheep.
The L Magazine is copresenting the film when it screens the night of the 14th, and I’ll be introducing it. Which means I’m going to have to come up with something more beyond this to say about it. In the meantime, here’s a preview.