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Film / SLC Punk!

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SLC Punk! is a 1998 dramedy written and directed by James Merendino and starring Matthew Lillard.

The plot focuses on Stevo (Lillard), a gifted college graduate in Salt Lake City, Utah, who has recently bought wholeheartedly into the anti-establishment punk lifestyle. He spends his days partying and fighting alongside a motley assortment of local SLC punks, all the while providing a spirited intellectual defense of his philosophy. However, the contradictory and unsustainable punk lifestyle gradually begins to wear on him, and he faces a crisis in the direction his young life will take.

Provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Bob's father is an insane alcoholic.
  • Adults Are Useless: Anyone above college age is portrayed as useless. Bob's dad is a Cloudcuckoolander, while Stevo's parents are ineffectual.
  • Afraid of Doctors: Heroin Bob doesn't like doctors and would prefer to let a cut on his hand get infected, rather than seek medical attention.
  • Afraid of Needles: Poor Bob has a freak out at the hospital. Also one of the reasons why "Heroin" Bob is his Ironic Nickname.
  • Alcoholic Parent: As mentioned above, Bob's father.
  • Anarchy Is Chaos: Played straight since Stevo claims that as a punk he's an anarchist, but he calls anarchy chaos - something that isn't exactly what anarchy is about.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • Mark. Don't take his stuff. Or be in the general area when he thinks so. Actually, just don't go by Mark.
    • Bob's gun-toting, crazy dad.
  • Badass Bookworm: Mike is a skinny guy who dresses like a nerd, but he's the toughest punk in the group.
  • Berserk Button:
    • NEVER STEAL Mark's stuff!
    • When Stevo sees his girlfriend sleeping with that other guy, he flies off the deep end.
  • Book Ends: The first and last scenes in the apartment begin with Stevo waking up Bob. Bob doesn't wake up the second time.
  • The Charmer: It's stated that Eddie is a ladies' man.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Heroin Bob's father. Arguably, Heroin Bob himself.
    • Most of Stevo and Bob's friends appear to be more or less weirdos as well.
  • Coming of Age Story: Stevo grows up over the course of the film and abandons his punk lifestyle.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • Mark's revealed to have had a very traumatic experience. Apparently, he survived a plane crash as a child. Unlike his family, whose body parts he found lying around after the whole ordeal.
    • By the end of the movie it seems Bob has had one as well, since it's gradually revealed that his father was insane and constantly drunk, causing Bob to often run from home, his mother's never even mentioned and he was considered a loser at school. He actually became a punk mostly because he was tired of not having a happy carefree life, like the "cool kids" did, and just wanted to enjoy himself.
  • Death by Irony: Heroin Bob, the man who never did a drug in his life, dies from a drug overdose.
  • Friends with Benefits: Stevo and Sandy's relationship. He doesn't take it well when he sees her sleeping with someone else though.
  • Hold My Glasses: Mike does this before walking through a mosh pit to keep a friend of his from being beaten to a pulp by the bouncer.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Stevo gives the poseurs shit for "living by lyrics", even though he lives in an apartment with lyrics from The Germs, Black Flag, and other punk bands from the late 70's/early 80's era spray painted on the walls.
  • Important Haircut: At the end of the film, both Stevo and Trish - Bob's girlfriend, are shown to have cut their hair and wear formal attire at Bob's funeral, with Stevo having nearly shaved his head and Trish being almost unrecognizable in her short black hair, compared to the long colorful styles she had throughout the movie. This scene marks the end of Stevo's life as a punk.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Stevo when Heroin Bob dies. An example of the trope played for dramatic effect instead of laughs, and proof that Tropes Are Not Bad.
  • Ironic Nickname: "Heroin" Bob. Needles scare him to death and mentioning drugs just makes him rant how bad they are for you.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Stevo is very intelligent and actually studies hard for his exams. His father sends an application to Harvard for him, and he gets accepted.
  • Mushroom Samba: Tends to happen to a lot of characters. Most memorable are the scenes with Sean and Stevo.
  • Misfit Lab Rat: Heroin Bob is a bonafide punk complete with a mohawk and anarchist/non-conformist beliefs. He studied chemistry, which according to his best friend Steve-o was "the wrong ***ing major for a guy like him," who notoriously avoided any chemicals that didn't already come in beer or cigarettes.
  • Nazi Hunter: The main characters have such a distaste for Neo-Nazi punks that they actively go out to find them and beat them up.
  • Nerd Glasses: Mike wears those. He's also the toughest punk you'll see in this movie.
  • Nonconformist Dyed Hair: Most of the punks have dyed hair.
  • Please Wake Up: Stevo has one of these moments when Heroin Bob dies.
    Stevo: Now what am I gonna do for a friend? You're my only friend! Please, wake up now! Please, I'm sorry!
  • Rage Against the Reflection: Heroin Bob destroys any mirror that dares show his reflection.
  • Shown Their Work: Salt Lake City really does have an active punk music scene. And people from Utah really do drive to Wyoming to buy full-strength beer.
  • This Is Going to Be Huge: Mark proudly shows off his new laser disc player to anyone who visits his house.