Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Criterion on FilmStruck: The Decline of Western Civilization (1981)

The Decline of Western Civilization poster
The Decline of Western Civilization (1981) - Directed by Penelope Spheeris.

By Kenny Howell

Before Penelope Spheeris took on the Wayne's World franchise, she made a name for herself with this documentary on the punk scene in late 1970s, early 1980s Los Angeles.

Spheeris doesn't really delve too much into why there was a rise in this movement (something that might have made it a bit more interesting), but rather just gives an overview of this world that probably had more impact back in the time it was made. She interviews the major players at the time like X, Circle Jerks, Germs and Fear, and really lets the personalities of the members carry the narrative. That had to be a shock back in the day, but these guys are a dime a dozen these days. Still, they were definitely an interesting crew, and the sound they perfected influenced a ton of bands throughout the decades to come.

The Decline of Western Civilization was followed by two sequels, the first dealing with heavy metal line Los Angeles during 1986-1988, and the last in the late 1990s which was about gutter punks, homeless teenagers that had shunned society.

The Decline of Western Civilization is now streaming on FilmStruck.

Rating: ***

No comments:

Post a Comment