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121 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

"Quite a few directors share and reflect the youthful rebellion and pop culture of their own generation. Penelope Spheeris is unique in that she uses her counter-culture sympathies to explore the lives, music, and attitudes of the new younger generation. You can see this in her movies. After documenting the punk scene in THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION, she made SUBURBIA for me, in which she explored the world of alienated suburban teenagers, and later had a huge hit with WAYNE'S WORLD." -- Roger Corman~~When family problems and a sense of worthlessness overcome Evan, he finds escape with the orphans of a throwaway society. Calling themselves T.R. ("The Rejected"), these runaways hold on to one another like family, living in abandoned houses away from the society that despises them. SUBURBIA is THE punk rock movie, depicting with unbridled realism the lives, loves, and misfortunes of a discarded youth

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Chris Pedersen, Bill Coyne, Jennifer Clay, Timothy O'Brien, Wade Walston
  • Directors: Penelope Spheeris
  • Writers: Penelope Spheeris
  • Producers: Bert L. Dragin, Roger Corman
  • Format: Full Screen, Color, Dolby, Closed-captioned, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 26, 2005
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,147 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Suburbia" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Uncle Lanky Frank on August 29, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
When she directed Wayne's World in 1992, Penelope Spheeriswas already a 10 year film veteran. Her opus immediately preceding Suburbia was the great pUnK rOcK gospel, The Decline of Western Civilization (1981), for which she gained a lasting reputation as a documentarian of American musical culture.

Unlike every other director in the 80's (except for Repo Man's Alex Cox, who did the original score for Suburbia), Spheeris knew that punk rock was about more than just having goofy hair, wearing a leather jacket, or aping that Billy Idol sneer. Instead of hoping for a credible performance from actors, she cast real punk rock kids, some of whom were really homeless! Her ensemble of non-actors turned out to be lovable, believable, and endearing. They are mostly innocent and unconscious of themselves or the camera, which has prompted the most criticism. We're not used to watching movies in which people don't (or can't) act. But this is the nature of the documentary style! Spheeris did not want acting, she wanted reacting and interacting. The relationships and the people come across as real and involving. Contrary to some claims, these kids do embody the punk rock experience of the 80's. I was there and can attest that the 'scene' in Suburbia was genuine. Best of all, punk rockers were portrayed as real people with the same fears, hopes, and dreams you and I have...

Also, people who criticize the production quality of Suburbia are missing the point entirely. Everything was shot on location in the "wrong" part of the Los Angeles suburbs, using mostly available light and sound. The script was thin, the acting non-existent, and the budget was obviously close to that of Kevin Smith's Clerks. But the whole of Suburbia is infinitely greater than the sum of its parts.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By gtigrl on April 5, 2002
Format: DVD
Me and my sister were in love with Suburbia when we saw it in the mid 80's. We grew up in NY, but we felt for some reason as though we belonged in California. It's great to see Suburbia again after all these years with commentary by director Penelope Spheeris to boot.
Penelope Spheeris used real kids as opposed to seasoned actors. As a result, the movie has a genuine punk rock vibe, although the acting is nothing to write home about. Listening to the director's commentary, one learns the ins and outs of how and why certain aspects of the film occur. She took a lot of events taking place at that time and incorporated them into the script, such as the wild dogs in the beginning of the movie. One thing that I am kinda bummed out about is how she seems to be a bit embarassed by the movie. She almost makes excuses at times. Yes, the scene in which the two men shoot the wild dogs is a bit hard to stomach and we all know that that type of scene would never make it into a movie today. But that is one of the aspects that I love about Suburbia. It's a low budget, honest, straight out of the 80's movie. Penelope Spheeris should be 100% proud of it.
The music and live concert footage is great. D.I. and TSOL, to name a couple, provide a great soundtrack.
I've recommended Suburbia to many people over the past 16+ years and will continue to do so.
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful By cookieman108 on December 31, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Disinfected, I mean disaffected youth...for each generation there seems to be a film out there to relate the rebellious, discontented, estranged, insurgent, anarchistic elements within said generation...the 50's presented us with Marlon Brando as The Wild One, the 60's came forth with Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda in Easy Rider, the 70's brought us Roller Boogie with Linda Blair (okay, maybe that's not the best example, but then the 70's were pretty lame), and the 80's brought Suburbia (1984)...written and directed by Penelope Spheeris (The Decline of Western Civilization, Wayne's World), the film stars Chris Pedersen (Night of the Comet), along with a bunch of people you've probably never heard of who's only acting credit is this film (Spheeris used a lot of `real life kids' instead of actors, assumingly to present the story as realistically as possible). There's one other notable person appearing in that of a very young Flea (a wee flea? I know, I know, that's pretty lame), from the band The Red Hot Chili Peppers, credited as Mike B. The Flea (his real name is Michael Peter Balzary).

The film begins with a pretty shocking scene that seems to have little to do with anything (later we'll see it's sort of a metaphor, as there's quite a few throughout), and then cuts into a scene of a teenage boy named Evan difficulties within his home life that lead to him running away (moms is an angry drunk), wandering the streets of L.A. Evan soon falls in with a group of homeless teens who call themselves T.R., short for The Rejected, lead by Jack Diddley (Pedersen), at least he appears to be the leader as he seems the oldest and the only one with a car.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jinx McElroy on October 17, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Directed by Penelope Spheeris right after DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION, this film chronicles the lives of a group of L.A. punks squatting in an abandoned suburb. The direction, writing, and acting are beyond atrocious (The RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS' Flea... then known as "Mike B." makes a cameo, proving he should never quit his day job as a whiteboy funk bass player), yet this film holds a certain charm... especially for young punk kids who seem to memorize every line of insipid dialogue. Check out the excellent live footage of D.I., T.S.O.L., and THE VANDALS. Classic stuff. The DVD has an insightful commentary track from Spheeris... she comes off sounding a bit airheaded, but she provides some interesting trivia for the punks that have seen the movie 20+ times.
If you are a punk rocker or have ever been a punk rocker, you need to see this movie.
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