Monday, November 30, 2009

#417: Lords of Dogtown (2005)

Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Cast: Victor Rasuk, John Robinson & Emile Hirsch

Three friends, Tony Alva, Stacy Peralta and Jay Adams, have to find a new sport to replace surfing when the waves stop coming to the pier. Because of the draught that year in the 1970s, pools were emptied. Tony, Stacy and Jay take up skateboarding, eventually becoming some of the first members of the group called The Z-Boys. Soon afterwards, the three become famous in the skating world, but the fame brings the three on separate paths.

This true story is depicted with brilliance, giving an incredible sense of the culture in Venice, California. The colors are so bright, nearly bleached by the sun. I honestly felt like I was going to need to put on sun block just by watching this film.

I honestly thought the acting was good - and nothing more. However, Heath Ledger is praised like woah for this film. He plays the creator of Z-Boys, Skip Engblom, who worked at a surf board shop until the draught, and who acts as the boys' manager until he proves himself unable to carry out the task. His character was incredibly flamboyant, but this is said to be a perfect description of the real Skip Engblom. It's hard to believe some of the characters from California actually exist.

If you have any interest at all in skating and the punk/skater culture that was brought about by the Z-Boys, this movie is a must-see. I'd recommend it for anyone into sports films.

Fun Trivia (Stolen from IMDB):
  • Many parts of the dilapidated pier set (e.g. the big dipper) were added using CGI to keep costs down. However, the derelict ferris wheel was real and had been purchased on eBay for a few thousand dollars.
  • While filming a scene in an empty pool, director Catherine Hardwicke fell and was knocked unconscious for two minutes. Many of the cast and crew thought she had died. When she came to, the pro-skaters there said "Now you know how it feels. Welcome to the club."
  • To prepare for his role as young Jay Adams, Emile Hirsch flew to Hawaii to spend time with Jay Adams who had just been released from jail for assault and drug charges and had just gotten married.

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