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Sub-titled "The Birth of Extreme", this documetary takes a look at the transformation of skateboarding from its former image as a land-bound pastime for surfers to its status today as an extreme and acrobatic sport in its own right. Starting from the California surf community of Dogtown, the film follows the evolution of modern skateboarding through it's 70's heyday, its decline during the 80's, and its eventual (and highly lucrative) return in the 90's. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <email@example.com>
My skateboarding career ended in 1974 when my two-by-four skateboard with steel roller-skate wheels hit a rock and I tumbled, for days it seemed, down the sidewalk outside my parent's house in Boston. By the time the cast came off my arm, summer was gone.
But I have always admired the X-games types and surfers especially. I think I spent the first month after I moved to Southern California on the beaches and piers watching the surfers, bemoaning that fact that I had missed my calling. It's the sort of thing you should learn young, before the horrible senses of self-preservation and self-awareness burrow in. Or else at best, you'll be so worried about not getting hurt or laughed at, you'll wind up looking like a trained bear.
I always admired how a good surfer seems to not care about anything but that moment, that wave, that experience. At one with the forces of nature. A good surfer makes it look like there is nothing else but that wave right there, and the way you interact with it. There's a lot of Zen in it to me.
This documentary outlines how a few young folks took the surfing concepts and extended them to skateboarding. Ramps, downgrades, low sweeping curves while interacting with the cement waves beneath their feet. In their day and time, this was all new. radical. Prior to the Zephyr Skate team the idea apparently was to go as fast as you could in a straight line on a skateboard, hence my long "Evel Knievel at Caesers Palace" like tumble down the front walk.
This film is a look back through time, to an America before EVERYTHING was labeled, tagged, marketed, and jam-forced down our throats as "Extreme". (Seriously, what's so "extreme" about an "Extreme value meal" at Taco Bell? Other than the fact that it is an extreme hazard to your colon...)
Watch this film and watch the birth of 'extreme sports'. Before there was an X-games, before Boom-boom Huck-Jam, before Crusty Demons, before the ASA...there were these young street urchins who created 'extreme sports' without really trying. They were just doing it for the purity, the pure pleasure, of skateboarding in the sun with friends.
I hope they get a cut of the 'extreme' money out there. Goodness knows they don't get the credit they deserve. Maybe this film can correct that.
Excellent film with a great soundtrack, a portrait of a Southern California, indeed an America, that no longer exists.
I don't care for Sean Penn but he does a decent job narrating.
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