“What do you do when your foundation falls apart? I don’t know. They don’t teach you that in school.” Is it too much to say that Matthew Lillard, as Stevo in 1998’s SLC Punk!, utters words that have been the concern of artists, philosophers, and theologians throughout the centuries? (Probably.) The psalmist posed the question, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (11:3). (Although calling any of the characters in this movie “righteous” would likely earn you a punch in the face.)
I have again watched this zany, funny, political, romantic, and heartbreaking movie. Lillard’s character narrates his life as a punk rocker in the wilderness of Salt Lake City. The time is 1985—right in the middle of the Reagan era. His best friend is played by Michael Goorjian, and then there’s the crazy cool Annabeth Gish, who adores them both.
A quick side note: both Christopher McDonald (Stevo’s dad) and Jennifer Lien (Sandy) are Star Trek veterans. McDonald appeared in the episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise” on ST: The Next Generation. And Lien played the role of Kes in ST: Voyager.
Stevo undergoes a journey of self-discovery and dis-illusionment, so much so that he’s finally forced to say, “F_ck anarchy.” Anarchy has been his friend—the system, his enemy. He concludes that he’ll go to Harvard Law School, just like his father, because he can do “a lot more damage in the system than outside of it.”
I suppose if one wants to walk the path of the punk rocker, that’s the way to look at it.