01 June 2005

Hell on Wheels

While I am an enthusiastic patron of the cinematic arts, I haven’t seen a movie in the theater since I saw Super Size Me in Chicago back in 2004. The reason? My overall misanthropy coupled with the rapid decline in manners and common courtesy in the general moviegoing population often made going to the movies an unpleasant experience for me, what with the cell phones, chair kicking, screaming, multiple popcorn runs, etc. I genuinely envy people who can tune all those distractions out and just enjoy the flick, because God knows I can’t do it. So rather than sit and fume, I am perfectly happy to wait for the DVD.

But I decided to lift my self-imposed ban and check out an advance – and more importantly, free -- screening of Lords of Dogtown because I’m a huge fan of Dogtown and Z-Boys, a documentary about the legendary Zephyr crew, who were largely responsible for launching skateboarding both as a sport and lifestyle back in the mid 1970s.

Fortunately, the crowd at the theater was reasonably well behaved, but unfortunately, Lords of Dogtown doesn’t hold a candle to its documentary forefather, having as it does a condensed, ABC Afterschool Special feel.

Plus, it’s somewhat disingenuous that the movie, which focuses on the trio of Tony Alva, Jay Adams and Stacy Peralta, was written by Peralta, whom once again has made a movie about his youth (Peralta wrote and directed Dogtown and Z-Boys). It was pretty cool the first time, but now it seems a little self-indulgent. Peralta comes off as the most sympathetic and level-headed of the skaters in Lords -- a coincidence, I'm sure.

In other words, Lords of Dogtown is a virtual remake of Dogtown and Z-Boys that manages to cheese up the subject matter while omitting the rest of the Zephyr team to focus on Alva, Adams and Peralta. It's all a bit superfluous.

But again: free movie.

No comments: