The Decline of Western Civilization

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By far the most noteworthy aspect of Penelope Spheeris' LA punk movie is its timing, late on two counts. To her credit, she is keen neither to bury nor to champion the movement; and if that means throwing the appalling bands in with the talented, and the dodo interviewees in with the perceptive, then so be it. Hence, of the seven bands featured heavily, one can be grateful for the lasting hardcore beatings of John Doe's X, the grim all-or-nothing mania of the Germs' singer Darby Crash, and the hugely insulting spewings of John Belushi's faves Fear. Memories to squeal at, on the other hand, are the Alice Bag Band and critic Claude Bessy's Catholic Discipline - both wholly disastrous shots of pea-brains with amps meet social realism. The interviews are mostly very funny, probably not always intentionally so. It's far from unmissable, but it's valuable rock history with some great noise.

Release details

Duration: 100 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Penelope Spheeris
Screenwriter: Penelope Spheeris
Cast: Black Flag
Germs
Catholic Discipline
X
Circle Jerks
Alice Bag Band
Fear
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