Lords of Dogtown

Dogtown and Z-Boys and the Lords of Dogtown go hand in hand. Dogtown and Z-Boys is an awesome documentary about how a group of kids revolutionized skateboarding. Lords of Dogtown is its Hollywooded-out film counterpart. Catherine Hardwicke directs and Heath Ledger, Emile Hirsch, John Robinson, Victor Rasuk, and Michael Angarano lead the cast.

The documentary primarily focuses on Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva, and Jay Adams, and the movie does the same. The movie adds a character named Sid (Michael Angarano), who hangs out with them and has an inner ear problem. They surf, skate, and raise mayhem on the streets of Dogtown. They hang out at the Zephyr Skate Shop and try to impress the cool owner Skip Engblom (played by Heath Ledger). I know Heath Ledger kicked ass as the Joker and a lot of people were surprised that he really could act. Watch the documentary and the movie back to back and compare Heath Ledger’s performance to the real life Skip Engblom. He becomes Skip Engblom, he is Skip Engblom.

One glorious day, Skip gets polyurethane wheels and skateboarding changed forever. The new wheels grip the pavement, and the boys go crazy with the possibilities. They start curving and carving and copying surfing moves. Skip decides to start a skateboard team and forms the Z-Boys.

The Z-Boys tear it up at skating contents and start getting noticed. They discover that empty swimming pools are great for skating, and push the sport to new heights. Stacy, Tony, Jay and the other Z-Boys not only revolutionized the sport, they started a new industry. Skating become profitable and companies and sleazy businessmen start coming after the Z-Boys. The team breaks up and friendships start to dissolve. Stacy and Tony become rich and successful, and they handle it in different ways. Jay thinks that skating stopped being fun, so he joins a violence gang. And then they find out that Sid’s inner ear problem was a brain tumor. He gets his dad to empty their swimming pool, and invites Stacy, Tony and Jay to skate it. The friends are reunited, however briefly, and skate for fun again, however briefly.

The movie is decent, but the documentary is better. You should watch the documentary before you watch the movie version. Hollywood has a tendency to whitewash movies. I couldn’t help but notice that Jeff Ho is completely missing. The same Jeff Ho of Jeff Ho & Zephyr Surfboard Productions. He was Skip Engblom’s fucking boss. And he’s just not there. You’ll notice the film borrows a few quotes and songs from the documentary too. It makes them feel connected.

By the way Catherine Hardwicke directed Twilight. So this movie just lost a few cool points by association. Fucking Twilight.

Critically Rated at 12/17

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