Deciding it was easier to turn punks into actors than to turn actors into punks, Spheeris cast all non-professional actors – with the exception of the two leads – in her harsh rendering of communal squatter life and punk culture. Escaping troubles at home, runaways in 1980s southern California create their own teenage dystopia in an abandoned suburban housing development. Neither heroes nor victims, the teens remain steadfastly loyal to their new family and new freedoms while fighting, harassing, and stealing from enemies who are not always unsympathetic. Featuring live performances by classic SoCal punk bands T.S.O.L., D.I. and the Vandals, Suburbia is the punk answer to the iconic 80s teen movie: anarchic, nihilistic and painfully realistic.