A fictionalized take on the group of brilliant young skateboarders raised in the mean streets of Dogtown in Santa Monica, California. The Z-Boys, as they come to be known, perfect their craft in the empty swimming pools of unsuspecting suburban homeowners, pioneering a thrilling new sport and eventually moving into legend. Written by
Many parts of the dilapidated pier set (e.g. the big dipper) were added using CGI to keep costs down. However, the derelict ferris wheel was real and had been purchased on eBay for a few thousand dollars. See more »
The wide 7-ply laminate concave skateboard that Tyson the bulldog rides at the championship was not available in 1977. Laminate decks existed but they were flat and narrow. Skateboards in 1977 rarely exceeded 7-8 inches wide. Tysons board is obviously a 10 inch wide mid to late '80s pool/ramp model with wider trucks and "new school" wheels. See more »
Director Catherine Hardwicke, who helped a few teenagers discover the versatility of the tongue in "Thirteen" (2003), takes an impressive cast and crew back to the year 1975. The "Disco" storm was crashing airwaves, but not at Venice Beach, California. There, the pre-punk "Lords of Dogtown" ramped up skateboarding "to the extreme" and made it a sport.
Opening with the familiar phrase, "Inspired by a true story," this is a fictionalized film version of the superior documentary "Dogtown and Z-Boys" (2001) - which anyone interested in skateboarding as sport should see. Hardwicke's young "Lords" are Emile Hirsch (as Jay Adams), Victor Rasuk (as Tony Alva), and John Robinson (as Stacy Peralta). They are introduced in an excellent opening sequence, but the story doesn't get off the ground until about halfway through. We get a lot of documentary-styled scenes - which don't really do anything to improve upon "Dogtown and Z-Boys" - before getting to know the three leading men. It might be interesting to see Mr. Peralta's original story idea, because much of this story seems whitewashed.
Crack a board, bro
The real drama herein arguably centers on Mr. Hirsch's character. The three actors are fine, but Hirsch is given the best material. As his sexy, sand-blasted mother, Rebecca De Mornay (as Philaine) helps. And, Hirsch gets to sing the "Slinky" theme song. Watch for a truly magical moment when, after losing a contest, Hirsch sails off the pier; photographed beautifully by Elliot Davis, it combines the thrills you experience surfing and skateboarding. Also on hand, in an stumbling and underwritten role, is wasted surfer Heath Ledger (as Skip Engblom). Better utilized is the role played by fellow traveler Michael Angarano (as Sid). He helps give the film an unexpected, uplifting ending by taking the three estranged "Lords" back to their roots.
****** Lords of Dogtown (6/3/05) Catherine Hardwicke ~ Emile Hirsch, Victor Rasuk, John Robinson, Heath Ledger
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