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"SUBURBIA"
(1997) (Giovanni Ribisi, Steve Zahn) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Minor Heavy Minor Mild
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None None Moderate Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Heavy Minor Minor Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A group of suburban twenty-year-olds hang out in a parking lot, waiting to meet an old friend who has made it big.
PLOT:
In the suburban town of "Burnfield," a group of twenty-year-olds hang out and shoot the breeze. Jeff (GIOVANNI RIBISI) goes to community college while his girlfriend Sooze (AMIE CAREY) is a budding performance artist. Their friends Buff (STEVE ZAHN), a zany burnout, Tim (NICKY KATT), a cynical Air Force drop out, and Sooze's friend in rehab, Bee-Bee (DINA SPYBEY), wait with them to meet a fellow classmate, Pony (JAYCE BARTOK), who's made it big as a rock n' roll star. The group hangs out in the parking lot of a convenience store owned by a Pakistani man, Nazeer (AJAY NAIDU) who doesn't like the "slackers" loitering around his store. As tensions rise between Nazeer and the group, and within the group itself, the evening proves to be one unpredictable night.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're drawn to "slacker" type movies, or hear that this film was directed by the same man who helmed "Dazed and Confused" and "Slacker," they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For strong language including sex and drug references, teen drinking and brief nudity.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • Only JAYCE BARTOK's and AJAY NAIDU'S characters show any resemblance to being good role models. The rest of the characters have low self-esteem, no ambition, and drink quite heavily.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 4 out of 10
    This big-screen adaption of Eric Bogosian's stage play still has the trimmings of its theatrical forebearer. That means that it's very "talky" and never strays too far from it's main locale. While it's easy to accept that these "twenty-somethings," who for the most part are lacking in self- esteem and personal drive, would hang out in a parking lot, their choice and delivery of the words they speak isn't. On the stage, the spoken word is king, and since that's how information is delivered, it's good to have clever, sharply written dialogue to entertain the audience. Nevertheless, in a movie filled with the above mentioned characters, the dialogue doesn't fit. It doesn't seem natural and would never flow from the mouths of these kids. If it did, you could be sure that they wouldn't be hanging out at night behind a convenience store. That said, there are some interesting performances here, including an over-the-top take of a burnout by Steve Zahn (last seen in the wonderful "That Thing You Do"). His character lives in ignorant, substance- fueled bliss and creates the only enjoyable moments in the movie. The rest of the characters are a depressed lot, and while that sometimes makes for interesting drama, it doesn't make for an enjoyable time at the movies. If you like productions that are heavy handed with their message and have clever, but unbelievable dialogue, you'll probably groove on this film. We however, found it too contrived for its own good and give it just a 4 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    While there's some talk about drugs, all of the active substance use comes from alcohol and tobacco. Nearly all of the characters smoke and most of them drink beer or hard liquor throughout the movie. Low self-esteem, cynicism, and depression permeate the production and certainly almost all of the characters are bad role models for goods. There is some sexual talk, a simulated imitation of oral sex and a brief bit of male full frontal nudity. Violence is limited to tensions that never quite boil over, although guns are twice used to make threats. Since your teens may want to see this film, we suggest that you look over the category listings to determine if it's appropriate, or not, for them.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Buff tells Jeff to bring "that pot you just bought" to the parking lot.
  • Buff talks about what he'd do with a woman if he were rich, and says that they'd "screw for an hour" and snort some "blow" (cocaine).
  • Buff says that he was "doing ‘shrooms' (mushrooms) when he shot a home video of just clouds in the sky.
  • Buff asks Bee-Bee if she wants to go back to his van and "smoke a dube" (marijuana). She tells him that she doesn't do that.
  • Most of the characters drink throughout the movie, and at times Buff is falling down drunk. Most of the drinking occurs in public spaces, and Buff and Tim are seen buying alcohol in several scenes.
  • Bee-Bee is in rehab for alcoholism, and breaks down during the movie and guzzles whiskey straight from the bottle. Later, she's found unconscious, apparently from drinking too much.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Buff is seen throwing up out of a limo's window.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Jeff and Tim are cynical characters, while Bee-Bee is a depressed alcoholic, and Buff is quickly becoming one. They all have low self-esteem and no ambition.
  • Tim has a bad attitude toward practically everything, but especially toward a Pakistani clerk and his wife (calling him a "camel jockey" and telling him he can go back to his "greaseball" country) and he says the following about women: "They're all whores."
  • The guys loiter in the parking lot and won't leave when the clerk asks and then tells them to do so.
  • Several of the guys give each other and other people "the finger."
  • Buff says that he "ripped off a video camera from the mall."
  • Buff steals a large lawn ornament from someone's yard and puts it into the limo.
  • Jeff and Tim are jealous of Pony's success and take out their feelings on him and the others.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Tim and Nazeer have a standoff while holding guns, but nothing comes of it.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • On a TV program, police are seen shooting their guns during target practice.
  • Handgun: Used by Nazeer's wife to make Tim and the others back away from the store.
  • Handguns: Held by Tim and by Nazeer in a standoff, but neither are used against each other. Tim, however, does fire the gun into the air several times.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Why don't you swallow your c*ck and choke on it," "Greaseball," "Suckers," "Bitch," "Whore," "Geek," "Screwing around," "Faggot," "Shut up," "Take a piss," "Blow me," "Idiot," and "Loser."
  • Drinking in public.
  • Public loitering.
  • Several of the guys give each other and other people "the finger."
  • Sooze is a "performance artist" and gives a demonstration where she stomps her feet to the ground while cursing, and later, while nearly on the ground, thrusts her hips up and down while cursing more.
  • Sooze has a pierced eyebrow and spiked hair.
  • Tim throws his empty bottle of whiskey through the air and down onto a street where it shatters.
  • Buff throws aside his chopsticks and eat Chinese food with his hand.
  • Jeff says that he could knock out his teeth with a hammer or pluck out his eyes and it wouldn't make a difference in the overall scheme of life.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • A song has at least one "f" word in it.
  • PROFANITY
  • 106 "f" words (6 used sexually), 38 "s" words, 6 slang terms for male genitals (the "c" and "d" words), 8 "ass" words, 5 hells, 1 slang term for breasts ("titty"), 1 S.O.B., 1 crap, and 4 uses of "Oh my God," 2 uses each of "Jesus Christ," "Jesus," "Oh God," and "God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Buff briefly tells a story about a woman "blowing" him (oral sex), and he makes hip movements to demonstrate what happened.
  • Later, Buff imitates a woman performing oral sex and then "humps" the front of a car, simulating sex.
  • Buff talks about what he'd do with a woman if he were rich, and says she'd be dressed in leather and he'd eat that away and then they'd "screw for an hour."
  • It's somewhat implied that Buff and Bee-Bee "fool around" in a van, but to what extent, we don't know.
  • Buff asks if Erica is available and she asks "in what way?" He replies "In a horizontal and wet way."
  • Erica and Tim want to "fool around," but it appears that Tim isn't able to "perform."
  • Jeff strips off his clothes and we briefly see his bare butt and then full frontal nudity.
  • Tim lies to Pony and says that Erica told him she wanted to "suck my c*ck and that you might want to suck my c*ck too."
  • Buff tells Nazeer, "Your wife sucks my c*ck every night, and swallows my cum and loves it" to antagonize the man.
  • Buff tells Jeff that he and Erica slept together.
  • SMOKING
  • Nearly all of the characters smoke several times during the movie.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • There's just a minor scene between Nazeer and his wife, where she's fed up with what's going on and takes off her ring, threatening to leave him.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The low self-esteem and lack of ambition of most of the group.
  • Not being jealous of, or angry at, people who have succeeded at their goals.
  • VIOLENCE
  • The guys push each other around in the parking lot and wrestle a bit.
  • Tim pushes Nazeer backwards and then down to the ground. His wife rushes out, gun in hand, and makes Tim and the others back off.
  • Tim wants to fight Pony, but nothing comes of this.
  • Tim and Nazeer both have their handguns drawn, but neither uses them to fire at each other. Nazeer's wife, however, comes out and smacks him for letting the problem escalate this far.



  • Reviewed March 6, 1997

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