Plot: What’s it about?
Evan Johnson (Bill Coyne) has problems at home and is just burned out on life, to the point that he wants to just escape. He is not alone in his situation, as many others share his feelings and have problems they seek to leave behind. Evan ends up as part of a group known as T.R., which stands for The Rejected, as those within the group feel like rejects from society at large. They like punk rock music, despise consumerism, and hate the concept of authority, they just want to live their lives. The Rejected found an abandon house to settle in, one in a very bad part of town. A place where the police presence is minimal, which they prefer, but crime and danger run high even in the best of times. Even so, the group is kind of like a family for those involved, a place to be around others who share their views and accept them. The group often engages in pranks and finds fun wherever they can, usually when punk rock bands put on underground shows. But not everyone wants them around, so can they maintain this lifestyle or will it be taken from them?
As someone who had a lot of friends in the punk rock scene after high school, Suburbia is a movie I have seen several times. The music, the chaos, and the anti-establishment tone make this a very fun movie, but there is also a social message or two tucked in. Suburbia is not the kind of movie who glorifies breaking the rules, but it also doesn’t condemn such behavior, though it is more sympathetic than not. I just like the concept of a band of punk kids joining up and having their own small society, even if it is a smaller culture that still has to operate within the larger social spectrum. But don’t read into Suburbia too much, as it is more fun to just watch, take in the music, and not analyze every line of dialogue. I love the dialogue though, with countless quotable lines you’ll be saying to friends to coworkers. This is by no means a great movie, but it is a decent watch and has some memorable moments, so Suburbia the movie is recommended. Buena Vista’s disc is a rehash however, so the same dull and unimpressive transfer remains. If you own the previous disc, no reason to upgrade in this case, as this is just the same stuff with a new label.
Video: How does it look?
Suburbia is presented in full frame and while I am unsure of the intended aspect ratio, this one doesn’t always look properly framed. That isn’t to say this is open matte or cropped, because I don’t know for sure, but the visuals do seem a little off at times. As if that wasn’t enough, the transfer is quite bad in all other areas also, so expect to be disappointed. The print is soft, soft, and softer here and that means the visuals have a fuzzy, out of focus substance. A little of this could be overlooked, given the budget involved, but not to this level, which holds detail down throughout. This could have been a new, properly framed presentation, but instead we’re left with this lackluster rehash.
Audio: How does it sound?
e soundtrack is not remarkable, but that means it is never that good or bad. The punk rock music has a harsh, raw sound which seems appropriate, so that works out well. The other elements share a kind of raw presence, which is sometimes good and sometimes not. The sound design is basic, as it should be, but time and budget issues have taken a toll. I found dialogue to be solid in most scenes, but vocals can be muffled at times, same as with the other elements. Even so, the soundtrack on the whole is acceptable and in this case, I think we can overlook those few minor issues.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Penelope Spheeris provides a candid, no punches pulled commentary track, in which see covers the good and bad involved in the production. She also provides insight into her transition from low budget to big budget, which is well worth a listen. This disc also includes the film’s theatrical trailer.