Lords of Dogtown is the kind of movie I expected to really dislike. All those rough, tough, swearing, sweating teens recklessly riding skateboards around, causing chaos wherever they went. Sounds way too much like my house! (Not really) As a father, I would want to ground any of these kids for a year. But something about this movie really drew me in. I think the biggest reason I enjoyed this film is that I grew up in the ’70s when this true story took place. But also this film was full of great acting and a lot of emotion.
Lords of Dogtown is, as I mentioned, a true story about the beginning of the skateboard culture. The story revolves around three gnarly skateboard teens that live in a neighborhood in California known as Dogtown. Heath Ledger plays the owner of the Zephyr skateboard company, Skip Engblom. Ledger is very convincing in his role as Skip, looking totally fried all the time and slurring his words in ways that I only have heard in the 70s. You may recognize him from 10 Things I Hate About You. Our three heros are Jay Adams (played by Emile Hirsch), Stacy Peralta (played by John Robinson with long flowing blonde locks) and Tony Alva ( played by Victor Rasuk). These guys did a great job of being tough street kids being changed by fame and fortune.
At the time that the movie takes place, California was under a serious drought. People were asked not to fill up their in-ground pools. This made for some fun scenes where the boys and their friends search upscale neighborhoods for empty pools to invade and skateboard in. The great skating got the attention of lots of chicks, partiers and the “pigs”. The movie gets more and more serious as we see the boys going their own ways to make money and to outdo each other. Emotions and tempers rage giving us a view of the pressures that they were under in their young careers and home life.
There is lots of bad language, violence and adult situations so you probably wouldn’t want to show this on family night. But this is definitely an entertaining and well produced picture that you will be glad you watched.
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