An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
An iconic tribute to a culture, place and state of mind that defined small town America in the early 80s. It is a universal moment in time, when everything you know to be true starts fading. The story is personal, yet familiar, set against a visually arresting landscape of music and vistas of Americana. Written by
Greetings again from the darkness. I am a sucker for coming-of-age stories based in the 60's, 70's or 80's. So all it was took was seeing the trailer once for me to catch up with first time director Anthony Burns' film set in 1983 in a small east Texas town. No matter that I spent almost no time in a skating rink growing up. The basic time and place was enough to lure me in.
Pet Peeve Alert: I have stated this many times, but I can never understand why directors feel the need to cast twenty-somethings as high schoolers. Immediately I am on the defensive. That's not to say that Shiloh Fernandez, Ashley Greene and Haley Ramm aren't fine actors, because they certainly are. They just aren't believable as 17 or 18 year olds. Same with Heath Freeman (the film's co-writer). As Brent, he is cast as the older guy who still parties with the high schoolers when on break from his time as a dirt bike racer. Mr. Freeman is talented, but looks to be pushing 40 years old! Remember Matthew McConaughey in Richard Linklater's excellent Dazed and Confused? At least he didn't look 15 years older than the other kids. There are elements of that film, as well as Almost Famous and American Graffiti, present here. Unfortunately, Skateland never comes close to the detail or emotional strength of any of those three films.
For the first hour, I kept holding out hope that the film would find itself and really present something new and special. It has the look of important commentary. It just leaves us holding an empty bag.
Certainly all the pieces are here ... wannabe writer, inspirational sister, broken family, rich and poor friends, cool and uncool students, hangers-on, local thugs, etc. Even Skateland itself has a real look and feel. For whatever reason, these pieces never jell ... they just lay there expecting us to assemble a meaningful, completed puzzle.
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