They came from nothing to change everything


"Lords of Dogtown" tells the radical true story behind three teenage surfers from Venice Beach, California, who took skateboarding to the extreme and changed the world of sports forever. Stacy Peralta (John Robinson, Elephant), Tony Alva (Victor Rasuk, Raising Victor Vargas) and Jay Adams (Emile Hirsch, The Girl Next Door) are the Z-Boys, a bunch of nobodies until they create a new style of skateboarding that becomes a worldwide phenomenon. But when their hobby becomes a business, the success shreds their friendship. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen) and written by Stacy Peralta, Lords of Dogtown is "...a dazzling daredevil ride." (Peter Travers, Rollng Stone)

***The birth of skateboard culture***
In the mid-70s, the accomplishments of the innovative Zephyr skateboarding team of Venice, California, are dramatized based on events chronicled in skater Stacy Peralta’s documentary “Dogtown and Z-Boys” (2001). John Robinson plays Stacy, Emile Hirsch plays Jay and Victor Rasuk plays Tony (aka T.A.). Heath Ledger is on hand as Skip Zephyr while Rebecca De Mornay appears as one of the teens’ struggling mother.
While I suppose “Lords of Dogtown” (2005) is a sports flick, it’s just as much a coming-of-age movie detailing growing-up on the bad side of Venice, aka Dogtown, the birthplace of America’s skateboard culture, which influenced the world.
It reminded me of the dissolute environment depicted in “River’s Edge” (1986) with elements of Jim Morrison’s hedonistic misadventures from “The Doors” (1991), but combined with skateboard action, like skating in dry backyard pools and various competitions. It’s a good movie with slightly amped-up events (so what else is new?), but somewhat hampered by a curiously dismal air with occasional dialogues that don’t work. Maybe I found it slightly depressing because it reminded me of the glory & shame of my teen years. The 70’s soundtrack is great, however.
The film runs 1 hour, 47 minutes and was shot in the Los Angeles area, including Venice Beach, Imperial Beach and Santa Monica.

Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures by Catherine Hardwicke, Stacy Peralta.
Stars: Heath Ledger, Emile Hirsch, Victor Rasuk.

Genres: Biography, Drama, Sport

Keywords: skateboarding 1970s success based on a true story venice beach california woman director


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