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The Man Who Souled the World (2007)

THE MAN WHO SOULED THE WORLD tells the story of Steve Rocco, the irreverent genius who transformed the skateboard industry from corporate to skater owned with a do-it-yourself punk attitude... See full summary »

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THE MAN WHO SOULED THE WORLD tells the story of Steve Rocco, the irreverent genius who transformed the skateboard industry from corporate to skater owned with a do-it-yourself punk attitude. Steve's antics and entrepreneurial impact on the skateboard business are huge and have ultimately had a significant influence on broader mainstream culture as Steve is the man who gave Spike Jonze his first directing gig, discovered Jason Lee and created Big Brother Magazine which became the genesis of Jackass. Written by Anonymous

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"The kids have got to know"

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September 2007 (USA)  »

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Excellent documentary on skateboarding in the early 90s
30 July 2008 | by See all my reviews

The documentary chronicles the meteoric rise of Steve Rocco and his World Industries family of skateboard companies in the late 80s and early 90s.

Up until this point, skateboarding in the 1980s had been dominated by vert skating. Stars like Tony Hawk, Mike McGill, Gator, etc. had been the superstars of a sport controlled by the likes of Powell Peralta and Vision. Of course, vert skating required access to a large ramp which most people did not have. Therefore, it is no wonder that street skating evolved into the most popular form of the sport. It took the technical aspects of freestyle and some of the tricks of vert and merged them into something new.

This documentary is a fascinating look into this transition from the perspective of Steve Rocco. It contains recent anecdotes from most of the people involved. Or, at least most of the people involved on the Rocco side of the divide. Granted, a lot of the people here had some sort of falling out with Rocco, but they were all on his side at some point. I would have liked to see some more people from Vision or Powell. As it stands, the only real voice of dissent is from Tony Magnusson of H-Street and Evol fame.

H-Street is also one of my other rubs with this documentary. H-Street was a skater-owned company, released amazing street-skating videos shot on tape and did all this BEFORE Rocco and World Industries. H-Street's Shackle me Not from 1988 was THE quantum shift in skateboard videos. Watching excerpts of it on YouTube today it still amazes. That is not to take away from World Industries' Rubbish Heap, but H-Street did it first. Therefore, I would have preferred some acknowledgment of this. As it now stands, the documentary makes it seem like Rocco created all of these things.

I would also have liked to see more of an emphasis on the negative aspects of Rocco's influence on the world of skateboarding. In some ways, skateboarding shifted away from skateboarding to clothes, videos, music, and lifestyle with World Industries.

However, apart from all of these niggles, I found this documentary to be a compelling look into a long-lost era of the sport. There is amazing footage of skaters like Jason Lee, Guy Mariano, Danny Way, and others doing their stuff, and equally compelling interviews with them today. Well worth watching


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