Lords of Dogtown Catherine Hardwicke

Lords of Dogtown Catherine Hardwicke
When it was announced that a movie had been scripted about the Zephyr Skate Team (following the success of Stacey Peralta's documentary, Dogtown and Z-Boys), anyone with a modicum of respect for the legacy winced. Fred Durst was originally signed on to direct, Heath Ledger was going to don false teeth and play Zephyr Shop owner Skip Engblom, and the trailer had slogans like, "They broke the rules!" over a Green Day song. By all accounts this movie should have been terrible. But it isn't. Sort of. Lords of Dogtown is the true story of a revolutionary group of surfers-turned-skateboarders who grew up around Venice, California. They saved skateboarding from becoming a passing fad, rose from slummy roots to gain international celebrity and are pretty much responsible for any kid that has ever keyed a car. If you've seen the Z-Boys doc, just add some character conflict and an actor or two and you're there. While Lords is by no means a glittery filmic achievement, it's still the most credible - and least annoying - narrative skateboarding movie ever. True, you'll dry heave every time you hear someone address another as "bro" after seeing it, and yeah it gets schmaltzy when introducing little things like plot, but it's worth a watch. From script to soundtrack, the filmmakers are careful about authenticity. Even the set design mirrors locations and set-ups from the 30-year-old stock footage used in Peralta's doc. Look out for cameos by the original Z-Boys (and, out of nowhere, Mitch Hedberg). Lords of Dogtown works by not reducing itself to being an MTV sk8er flick that blows kisses at the 12- to 16-year-old DC Shoe Co.-wearing demographic (even though the trailer would have you believe otherwise). No doubt, if you want real background on Zephyr, Dogtown and Z-Boys is key. But Lords of Dogtown is a surprisingly worthy sidebar. (Columbia/Sony)