COMING SOON OPENS in 5 days, Jul. 24

Part of Anniversary Classics Series film series


40th Anniversary of SUBURBIA with writer-director
Penelope Spheeris in person celebrating Art House Theater Day

Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series present the 40th anniversary of SUBURBIA (1984), the first narrative feature film of acclaimed writer-director Penelope Spheeris. Co-produced by Roger Corman, with Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers in an ensemble cast of mostly non-actors, the film plays one night only: Wednesday, July 24 at 7:30 pm at the Laemmle NoHo as a preview of Art House Theater Day (AHTD, officially July 25). AHTD is a celebration of the contributions that art house theaters and independent films make to the cultural landscape.

SUBURBIA was a follow up to Spheeris’ debut film, the landmark documentary 'The Decline of Western Civilization' (1981), which focused on the emerging punk rock/hardcore scene in Southern California in the early 1980’s. While the documentary (and its two sequels) dealt with the bands, SUBURBIA looks at their audiences, displaced and disaffected children of the Baby Boomer generation who rejected the consumerism and conservatism of their parents. The movie follows a group of kids (ranging from ages 6 to 18) who squat in a condemned tract-housing development, forming a family unit of punks who call themselves The TRs (the rejected). Although the TRs commit petty crimes to survive, the ostensible villains of the movie are a pair of gun-toting working men who view them as responsible for every crime imaginable and eventually hunt them down.

Spheeris approached Roger Corman to complete financing for the film. He viewed it as a teen exploitation movie that fit into his wheelhouse of low-budget genre pictures, a formula that worked very well for him for decades. Spheeris, however, saw it as a social statement, and chose to use mostly non-actors along with a few musicians (e.g., Flea) for authenticity, pointing out, “It’s easier to teach punks to be actors than actors to be punks.” Flea now cites the film as “the punk rock bible.”

Perceptive critics of the day supported Spheeris’ vision. Vincent Canby of The New York Times called it “a clear-eyed compassionate melodrama…far better than Francis Ford Coppola’s 'The Outsiders' and 'Rumblefish.'” This view was echoed by Time Out, noting the movie “combines intelligent social comment with the conventions of the teen-in-revolt exploiter to gripping effect. A justifiably angry film, fast and full of violent action, though there’s plenty of humour too; and the lack of originality is amply compensated for by its manifest sincerity.” And Clayton Dillard in Slant said, “In the end, SUBURBIA's greatest strength lies in its assertion of youth as a political state of mind.”

Penelope Spheeris is a multitalented film director (SUBURBIA, 'The Boys Next Door,' 'Wayne’s World,' 'The Beverly Hillbillies') producer ('Real Life'), documentarian ('The Decline of Western Civilization' trilogy, 'We Sold Our Souls for Rock ‘n Roll'), actress, screenwriter, and videographer. She has enjoyed success in both the independent film and Hollywood studio arenas, collecting numerous honors and currently receiving well-earned lifetime achievement awards. She joins us to introduce SUBURBIA and discuss her five-decade career making cinematic art.
Drama, Anniversary Classics
Penelope Spheeris
Penelope Spheeris
Bill Coyne, Chris Pedersen, Jennifer Clay, Timothy Eric O'Brien, Wade Walston, Mike B The Flea

Suburbia Get Tickets

Click a BLUE SHOWTIME to purchase tickets
Note: There were no showtimes for Fri, Jul 19th, so instead we're showing you showtimes for the next available date on Wed, Jul 24th.
NoHo 7
One Day Only!
5240 Lankershim Blvd.