my Movie

Movie Details

Title:   The Decline of Western Civilization Part III
Director:   Penelope Spheeris
Year:   1998
Genre:   Documentary
Times Seen:   1
Last Seen:   11.08.15

Other Movies Seen By This Director (2)
- The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years
- Suburbia

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
11.08.15DVRThis Screening is part of event: DVRfest 2015
I saw the first Decline as a vhs rental in high school. The second Decline was a DVRfest movie from several years ago. I didn't know there even was a third Decline until this past Fantastic Fest when Daniel Kerr mentioned that Penelope Spheeris was just here for an AFS event (which I really should have known about and been there for, I bet seeing Suburbia on the big screen was a treat, not to mention all three of these docs). So shame on me for not knowing she was in town and shame on me for not knowing this existed. Time to fix that!

So my memory of the first Decline movie was that it was interviews and footage of just the bands? Maybe there were some fans thrown in there too. Certainly for the second film she stretched out a bit and talked to some fans/groupies as well as local hair bands, but this one seems very focused on the gutterpunks: homeless punk rockers who hang out on Hollywood Boulevard and go to shows in between their drinking binges. The focus on these particular kids gives the music itself a secondary role, which I guess could also be said about the second one.

I really loved this. It's a sad movie and pretty depressing but it's also authentic as hell and shows a new and unique part of life that most people don't get to see. I thought of Zack Carlson often while watching this. His Destroy All Movies book about punks on film talks a lot about how punks were portrayed - mostly inaccurately - in the media and how few movies carry the "real" punk spirit. I feel like Penelope Spheeris is the queen of that spirit. Certainly as far as the movies I've seen, I can only think of Alex Cox's Repo Man that even comes close to Suburbia and Dudes. In some ways I feel like this movie represents punk even more than the first (which is ridiculous but still). But who am i... I sat on my couch eating pizza rolls while watching this...

So that was great, and also the only movie I had on the DVR this year. I'm kind of through my planned schedule of films so for the rest of the evening I think it's going to be random films off the internet! Yay for that!
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