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Jose E. Cruz Jr.
This story is based where the skateboard culture is the most foreign, the Midwest. Derrick Cabrera, like all skaters, has a dream of being sponsored and one day going pro. He is an up and coming skater with all the talent but has the world against him. Parents, friends and schoolmates can't understand how Derrick has so much passion for something that has no future in their eyes. His crew of friends that are skaters is the only place he is truly accepted. But, as he gets better and better, the skater he looked up to the most becomes his worst enemy. In the sport of skateboarding a single trick that has never been done or conceived can bring you stardom in an instant. Derrick has that trick, if only he can make it. As he attempts to make this trick he is faced with skateproofing, a jealous friend and cops who have it in for him. Derrick finally gets arrested for skating on private property. After that his parents lay down the law and try to force him to quit skateboarding. Adding ... Written by
Derrick Cabrera (Paul Rodriguez Jr.), the archetypal young skateboarder in first-time director Chris Zamoscianyk's 'Street Dreams,' is under fire from his dad for failing at school, his white-bread girlfriend Samantha (Jordan Valacich) thinks he's a loser, and Troy (Rob Dyrdek), one of his best friends, jealous of his talent, is turning into his worst enemy. When he gets arrested for cutting the knobs off the university rail so he and his pals can skate it, he and his father have a big fight and he leaves town.
But it's to go to the open-to-all Tampa Am contest with the buddies. And there, the inevitable happens: he outperforms his rival Troy, gets pro sponsorship, and acquires a much cooler girlfriend, Taylor (C.C. Sheffield), the older sister of Eric Jones (Ryan Sheckler), the top competitor, who becomes his strongest ally. Troy is eliminated early because his routines have been so tame. Eric Jones' performances are flawless and Derrick keeps making mistakes, but Derrick wins admiration and points because every trick he performs is risky and stylish, and he fails during the competition to compete an inventive and challenging new trick involving a 360º board spin on a rail and landing, but the crowd gathers around as he tries it two more times just to see it he can do it, and on the third try he nails it and "makes skateboarding history."
This is a pretty standard sports coming of age movie but could be required viewing for all skateboarders and their fans. Rodriguez, Dyrdek, and Ryan Sheckler are all popular and photogenic real pro skaters, and Zamoscianyk coaxes believable performances out of them. Other pro skaters in Derrick's posse include "Compton Ass Terry" Kennedy, as Reese. There are cameos by six or eight other skate stars, and lots of examples of the latest street skating style, with much dazzling manipulation of the boards, twists and turns and slides on rails, and breathtaking jumps over flights of stairs and walls. Of course the skaters miss, or nail, their tricks only as the film wants them too, but the skate footage doesn't feel fake, and isn't. This can't compete as drama with Catherine Hardwicke's skateboarder biopic 'Lords of Dogtown' or Gus Van Sant's dreamlike 'Paranoid Park,' but this time authenticity is added by having real champion skateboarders play the skateboarders' roles, and Rodriguez, Dyrdek, Kennedy, et al. play off each other naturally. And their tricks are really "sick." That means awesome in their lingo.
This movie is the brainchild of Rob Dyrdek, who has his own MTV reality show, "Rob Dyrtrek's Fantasy Factory." Rodriguez, known as P-Rod, was a friend (as well as son of the Mexican-born comedian Paul Rodriguez). Ryan Shackler has his MTV reality show, "Life of Ryan," so was likewise used to being on camera. P-Rod and Ryan are no slouches in the looks department. Dyrdek enlisted "Jackass" vet Ryan Dunn as Cash, the volatile and foul-tongued cohort of the crew. Adam Wylie is Mikey, the crew's cameraman, because it's all about getting your best tricks on film for a "sponsor me' video.
The way Derrick and Taylor relate as twin outsiders is cute, but it's's hard to see Derrick as a misfit. As the dad, Yancey Arias speaks with a strong s New York accent, though all these folks are supposed to hail from Chicago. Samantha and Brad (Brendan Miller) have the thankless task of playing the dumb girlfriend with a racist father and a thick-necked college friend who invites her to crude frat parties. It's as true as ever: skateboarders are discriminated against and hassled by the police (See YouTube, "Cops vs. skaters"). But all the negativity in Derrick's life feels clunky and unreal. No wonder he chooses the straight and narrow path of kickflips, slides, and grinds. It's the relaxed interactions among the crew and the tight, up-to-date style street skating that make this worth watching, and it has a lively soundtrack. Four years in production, so P-Rod and Ryan look much younger here than they do today (see Fuel TV and MTV). than they do today. (See Fuel TV and MTV.) Skateboarding is like math or music: you blossom early. Ryan Shackler began at seven and turned pro at thirteen. But I see by the film's Ning Fan Club site that Eighties great Christian Hosoe still competes in mastrers skate events.
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