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Although there has been much controversy about whether the movie has
really portrayed 'Dogtown' and the z-boys accurately, i feel this is
not even necessary. If you feel unsatisfied with what you have learnt
about the z-boys and Dogtown go and watch Peralta's documentary Dogtown
and Z-boys. Lords of Dogtown has the intention of entertainment and i
personally exetremely enjoyed it. Lords of Dogtown tells the story of
how a group of Venice street kids changed the face of skateboarding
(and, to some degree, youth) culture in the mid- to late 1970s. The
adolescent adopted the Zephyr Shop, a surf store run by Skip Engblom
(Heath Ledger), as their home away from the own dysfunctional homes.
Engblom recruited the best skaters for the Zephyr Team. Including: Tony
Alva (Victor Rasuk), responsible Stacy Peralta (John Robinson) and
troubled bad-boy innovator Jay Adams (Emile Hirsch). With the
introduction of urethane wheels (revolutionary for the boys skating
style as now the wheels gripped, they could "climb walls")and the
timely South Cal drought meaning swimming pools were to be emptied,
giving the boys perfect locations to practice their gravity-defying
maneuvers, Zephyr became the be-all-end-all of the skateboarding scene.
"Lords of Dogtown" follows the rise and inevitable fall of the team, efficiently conveying the events with a flat accuracy that emphasizes history over character development. Director Catherine Hardwicke ("Thirteen") does an outstanding job of re-creating the seedy '70s atmosphere so much so that you could be forgiven for assuming you were watching archival outtakes from "Z-Boys." Hardwicke really nails that sense of post-Vietnam, rejection of authority of SoCal.
Hardwicke also understands the thrilling nature of speed for these kids. She employs a point-of-view camera from a skateboard's wheel to convey the rush. Hardwicke's most important achievement, however, was how she portrayed that skating was indeed these boys life. You really could see how skating for character Jay Adams was an outlet for the psychological pain he was experiencing. Hardwicke was very devoted to her character's individual portrayals. She has 3 contrasting personalities of main characters and shows this also through camera techniques. Jay being the more kinesthetic, hard, "go-go-go" character has many hand held shots and the zoom is employed more, creating a rough, jerky portrayal. Stacey Peralta being the strangely responsible one with a job has straight on, clean cut shots. Tony Alva, however, our most competitive Z-boy by far is filmed often from below, giving him a larger than life presence.
The movie was composed exceptionally and not too 'Hollywood' ( that is focusing on unrealistic character relations and excruciatingly social-analytical). It moved just fast enough to stop you from being potentially bored by the many skating scenes if you did not fit that demographic. However, even there i felt Hardwicke handled this amazingly too. I have never thought in my life i would ever watch a skating movie but i simply adored this one. Character relations were conveyed so realistically. The boys relationships were almost to real, you could feel the unspoken tension between them as the Zephyr team starts to go their separate ways. Hardwicke shows that true, stereotypical male bonding, that is that their love of skateboarding in the end is what brings them together.
Featuring a great soundtrack - including much Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie and the classic Wish You Were Here, i gave this movie a real thumbs up.
If you listen to a lot of the comments on this site you will probably never want to see this movie and that would be a shame because it is probably one of the best movies of the last couple of years. The thing I like most about this movie is that it transports you back to that glorious time in 70's Venice and that's what a good movie does. Granted, if I were to dig deeper into the facts of the Zephyr team I probably wouldn't like the movie as much because it wouldn't be "factual." What I have come to find out is that most movies that are based on a true story always distort the facts but that is irrelevant. This is still a movie, not a documentary. The purpose here is to entertain. I remember Roger Ebert gave "JFK" a great review and Walter Konkrite ripped him for it saying the events depicted were not fact based. Ebert responded by saying that the movie captured the nation's collective fears, paranoia, and cynicism about the government since the assassination and that's what a movie is supposed to do. I love the use of music in this movie and how the character's all have to come to grips in their own ways with their new found stardom. The ending is also very emotional and almost poetic. Overall, a fun, nostalgic glimpse into some of the skater's lives and what they did for their sport.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Stacey Peralta's documentary "Dogtown and Z-Boys" served as the
springboard for "Lords of Dogtown," a fictionalized account of extreme
skateboarding's birth. Poor teenagers from Dogtown, an area of Venice
Beach, CA, emerged from relative obscurity to become superstars and
make skateboarding into a true counterculture.
This is director Catherine Hardwicke's second feature. I really wanted to like her first film, 2003's "Thirteen," but like that effort "Dogtown" falls victim to some scattershot storytelling and poor direction.
Events happen with little explanation or background and characters do things that seem totally inconsistent with their past actions. The actors do what they can, but this ultimately seems like a textbook example of poor direction and screenplay resulting in a subpar product.
Heath Ledger, sporting fake teeth, scraggly hair and an everpresent cigarette, hams it up like an actor twice his age as Dogtown skateboard guru Skip Engblom. The main trio of teens, portrayed by Emile Hirsch, John Robinson and Victor Rasuk, are played as little more than caricatures, with no motivation for their performances. Michael Angronaro fares the best of all the actors, playing a doomed rich boy who longs to be part of the Dogtown culture.
It feels like there could have been a good dramatized feature made from this true story, but this is definitely not it. This deserved a director with a true knack for the visual and a screenplay devoid of clichés.
I grew up in California and this movie REALLY brought me back to the 70's and what was happening in the skateboard world. The actors were totally on mark with their portrayals of these guys and how things were back then in California at that time. I'm a girl and I was into skateboarding at that time. I saved my own money to buy my own boards. I even remember my mom came home one day and gave me an article from a magazine about Alva. I met him later in the 80's and he's a very down to earth guy. If you grew up in Cali at this time, you will LOVE this movie and if you didn't you will get the true idea of what it was like then. Awesome job guys on this film! A definite classic!
It was the seventies Sam. Materialism was making a comeback. For poor kids this was a way out of the dead end they saw in their future, so many of them jumped at the chance for a corporate sponsor. Watch the documentary. These were real people. Most of the events happened in some fashion to the team members, but to make it a more cohesive story, Peralta put it into one year and focused on the three main characters for the movie. Put the Dogtown and Z-boys documentary on and watch for how well they all match the mannerisms of the real people they are portraying. They also had to be convincing skating and in some scenes surfing. Watch the movie again with Peralta and Alva's commentary running and you will see and hear how close they got it to the real life these guys had. How can you say Emile Hirsch is one dimensional? John Robinson does most of his own skating. Peralta himself doubles for the multiple 360s in the Delmar contest scene. The real Alva does some as well. I've never even skated, but I lived through the seventies and I thought it was like stepping back into the past. Very convincing. The only thing I would have done differently would be to develop Wentzle's character more-he is a hoot in the documentary.
This was a great movie on friendship in the '70's, and a look at how the sport of skateboarding took off. I'd wanted to see it for awhile, so with Heath Ledger's death, didn't hesitate anymore. I didn't recognize him as the surf shop owner Skip, for the first several scenes. I think he added poignancy to his role, as did others who, in the film, fought their way to who they are. Interesting to know this is based on lives of people still in the skateboarding business, including the man who started off Tony Hawks career. It's good to have work out there yet to see Heath Ledger's talent shine. I'd recommend this movie to people who like to observe people, even if you're neither a skateboarding fan or a Ledger fan.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Okay, I rented this movie the other day in high hopes of seeing a good
true story on the lives of the skateboard legends from Venice but I was
wrong, very wrong. We will do this Sergio Leone style: The Good, The
Bad, and The Ugly.
-The cinematography is the best part about this film. This film has a documentary look and a very high contrast color tone. The camera is shaky and realistic looking. It makes this film seem more like a true story than the acting does.
-The skate boarding in this film was mostly done by the actual actors. It was fast and true to the 70s era of extreme skating.
-Heath Ledger. Undougtingly the best actor in this film. But he really reminded me of Jim Morrison more than anything else. Oh yeah, he was pretty much drunk the entire film.
-The Story. It seemed like this story of the Z-Boys really needed more dialog. Most of the film is them skateboarding, then pissing someone off, breaking car windows and then running off. This film did delve into their careers as professional skateboarders but did it in a lagging 107 minute running time, when this story could have been told in 80.
-The Acting. If you had seen director Catherine Hardwicke's last film "Thirteen" you would think that she knows how to push actors to their breaking point, but this film really lacks emotion and effort. The acting is as childish as watching a school play. I guess that the actors were cast for their skateboarding skills rather than their acting.
-Rebecca De Mornay. *shutters*. What happened to that hot girl from "Risky Business"? Maybe she got old. Or its the fact that she was suppose to be a crack head in this film, or it is because nobody cared.
-John Robinson. Playing Stacy Peralta looks like he needs some sort of toner on his cheeks. The whole way through the movie I was thinking, "who smacked him in the face?".
So there it is, my analysis on "Lords of Dogtown". If you want to see the true story of the Z-Boys, watch "Dogtown and the Z-boys". This movie was a shot and miss on all fronts.
I will start out by saying that I really do love this movie, but I'm not here to rant and rave about it. This movie is fascinating to me because I do love the skate culture and seeing a movie about characters who started modern skating was, as I said, fascinating. However, I realize that most of the world doesn't think that. With that in mind, I will continue. This movie is not a documentary about skating!!! If you want a documentary then check out Dogtown and Z-Boys directed by a Z-boy himself. It is full of stories about how the Zephyr team came to be and the way life was in Venice Beach at the time. I personally love the documentary as well, but Lords of Dogtown is not meant to be a Hollywood representation of the documentary. If you are looking for that, DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE!!! Lords of Dogtown is meant to be a story about the characters that fills in the gaps the documentary leaves about how these people felt, mainly Jay Adams, Stacy Peralta, and Tony Alva. The camera angles are not straightforward, the cinematography is rough, and its not a cookie cutter film. But that, in my opinion, is why it works so well. A lot of the Z-Boys themselves were on staff for this movie and helped to make it as authentic as it could be while still holding the attention of movie-goers. These guys were very impressed with the way the film was produced and, for the most part, were very pleased with how it represented the time. If you love skate culture then chances are you will fall in love with this movie like I did. Even my parents, who are definitely not into the skate culture or the 70's, still enjoyed this movie and were interested about the documentary afterwards. This movie definitely made me more interested in what skating was all about and I can't get enough about these guys now. I highly recommend this movie as well as Dogtown and Z-Boys.
I am not a fan of surfing or skateboarding (although learning to surf
is on my bucket list), but I decided to watch this film due to some of
the names on the cast list such as Emile Hirsch, Heath Ledger, and a
small appearance by Jeremy Renner. (Heath Ledger... what talent!)
The film begins as a surfing movie, then transitions into skateboarding, but the execution is amazing. I hardly watch movies without checking the time left, due to my incessant need to know everything, yet I didn't feel inclined to do so during this film. What that means is that the film has a perfect flow, it will keep you interested throughout the entire film.
It's a fictionalized film of "The Z-Boys" and how they revolutionized the sport of skateboarding. The film has much to do with skateboarding, but the main scenes are coming-of-age related and it really shows the simplicity of life that we take advantage of. There's many things you can take from this film: from fame, fortune, and success to humbleness, health, and friendship.
I thought this film would be a somewhat decent, but I was so wrong, it is an inspirational and interesting piece of art. I highly recommend this film if you have an open mind. If you aren't moved by the end, then you aren't human.
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
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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