Lords Of Dogtown Review

posted by / Video / June 3, 2005

I’m not into skating and I’m not into LA but there I was, in LA, watching a movie about LA skaters. This was a girlfriend compromise – the wedding of one of her friends – so she grabbed me by the ear and dragged me across the Bixby/Hollister line to the very heart of Hollywood. I was stuck in a hotel room on Sunset watching TV and traffic, feeling like Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now: “Smellay. Sheeit, I’m still in Smellay.”

I tried to surf but, damn, how did LA produce all those great surfers? Ricky Grigg? Peter Cole? Miki Dora? Nancy Emerson? Jamie Brisick? Solo Scott? For three foggy, gloomy days in a row I drove from County Line to the breakwater at San Pedro and back but it was flatter than Paris Hilton and gloomier than Morrissey. Is there ever surf in LA County?

Foggy, no surf, guys shooting at you on the freeways. It was all living down to my expectations until I was at a Starbucks somewhere in the South Bay and bumped into this guy I had met in Indo. He worked on “shows” he said, as a “Second Unit Stunt Coordinator.” He was kind of a fag but he invited me to a cast and crew screening of Lords of Dogtown. I was curious, and bored — and me and the little woman were about to start beefing — so I caught a ride with him down Sunset to Westwood, near UCLA.

The girlfriend was fiending to meet Heath Ledger up close and personal, but I made my Indo buddy swear that Ledger wouldn’t show. And that lie turned out to be the truth. All of the people who showed up worked behind the camera. I recognized Brian Keaulana but didn’t say “What’s up?” because I’m still a little embarrassed by this thing that happened at Makaha two winters ago.

A tall skinny blonde chick came out and thanked everyone and that was the director, Catherine Hardwick. She made a chick flick called Thirteen that made my chick cry, but that was all I knew about her. She thanked the crew for working hard and taking their lumps and then got out of the way and the movie just started. No previews or commercials. Cool.

The movie started with Jimi Hendrix’ Voodoo Child and that was cool. The 70s seemed pretty lame. They surfed pretty much straight line then on those crappy, thick boards with all the wings and swallowtails and stuff that didn’t work. And I can’t stand all the little wannabes now with their faux 70s look – all that long hair and big collars and all that shit makes me want to strangle them with their puka shells. But they did have some good music back then. In Lords of Dogtown they used David Bowie and AC/DC and Ted Nugent and some more Hendrix and that’s cool, but there’s no Zeppelin or Rolling Stones or even Pink Floyd. Too expensive maybe, but that Hendrix couldn’t have been cheap.

There were posters for Lords of Dogtown following me all over LA so I know that the slogan is “They came from nothing and changed everything.” This is the story: Jay Adams, Stacy Peralta and Tony Alva are three friends who live somewhere in LA near the beach. They are just kind of typical surf/skate rats, who escape their crappy homes and ride crappy skateboards down to the beach to ride crappy boards in crappy waves at this crappy pier that looks like it was hit by a nuclear bomb. When they aren’t surfing they hang out at this crappy shop that is run by some guy named Skip who has bad teeth and talks funny and reminds me of a lot of guys who live around Pleasure Point.

One day some guy comes into the shop all secretive with a big brown bag. I’m thinking this is the 70s, maybe there’s some mojo in there but no, it’s skateboard wheels: “Urethane!” someone gets all excited. “They grip!” Then all the kids and even the older guys get excited and they run off to this school playground where there’s a bunch of hot chicks on bikes. This playground has banked berms that are perfect for skateboarding and everyone goes off, doing big turns and getting all rad in a 70s kind of way. Three 360s! Backside! Bro!

The surf shop owned by the Skip guy starts manufacturing plastic boards to go with the plastic wheels. He forms a team but leaves out this kid with blonde hair who is the Stacy Peralta character – and that’s the guy who wrote the movie – the guy who made Riding Giants, which was killer if you haven’t seen it, especially the Mavs stuff. I get a wave in there, but they don’t identify me.

There is a big skateboard contest in Del Mar and all the {{{Zephyr}}} guys roll up in blue t-shirts, cut to the head of the line and take over the contest with their rad, flowing carves. They start fights and someone punches someone because one of the riders wasn’t getting scored right – this new stuff didn’t register on their richter scales. It’s all about to go crazy and then Stacy Peralta comes onto the ramp on his own and busts a bunch of 360s and wins the whole deal, and now he is back with his friends on the Zephyr Team.

Lords of Dogtown is about friendship and loyalty and success and temptation and all that, because as soon as these guys starting doing well and making some money and getting a little fame, it all falls to shit – sound familiar? Jay Adams steals Stacy Peralta’s chick with a cool little jungle dance to the tune of Hendrix’ Fire (Move over, rover). They all kind of bail out on Skip who is making boards but is not a great businessman and pretty soon they are all on separate teams, and dressed like fags – except for Jay Adams, who goes from 70s guy with all the hair to a full Vato with ink and shaved head. This was the 70s. That guy was ahead of his time because now every other guy from Pleasure Point to Linda Mar looks like that.

Continued…

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