Buy This Film
2005
Rated: PG-13 for adult language, violence, and sexual content.
Genre: Sports Drama Romance
Directed By: Catherine Hardwicke
Running Time: 1:45
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 7/21/06
DVD Features:
Deleted and Extended Scenes
Director and Cast Commentary
Making of Lords Of Dogtown
Bails and Spills Featurette
Extended Pool Session
Of Course We Want A Skateboarding Bulldog!
Featurettes
Storyboard Comparisons

LORDS OF DOGTOWN

 

I never got to see “Dogtown and Z Boys”, so if you’re expecting my usual intelligent dissection and contrasting of the documentary and the film, then you’re out of luck. I’ll still provide my usual witty commentary, but I will surely judge “Lords of Dogtown” as its own presence. Tackling the story of a group of surfer’s invention of skateboarding is a pretty large task for a director who only tackled a low budget independent film only years ago. Granted, Hardwicke’s “Thirteen” was great, but exploring a film through a new angle not of Stacy Peralta’s view is a tough task. But Hardwicke’s style affords “Lords of Dogtown” the necessary indie style that will appeal to the target crowd.

“Lords of Dogtown” in all its guilty pleasureness (I invented a word!) is a lot of fun, and this due mostly to the energy of the great cast of indie actors like Emile Hirsch, Heath Ledger, Nikki Reed, and America Ferrara to only name a few. Hardwicke inspires entertainment in the teen melodrama and films some truly great skateboarding sequences. Most of all, Ledger is a scene stealer and looks like he’s having a lot of fun as the stoner/slacker/ boarder who watches time pass as well as his friends and can do nothing about it. With the great soundtrack, and snappy dialogue, Hardwicke’s film is more of a guilty pleasure, but a guilty pleasure you can have a lot of fun with.

But Hardwicke and company never really cover anything that we haven’t already seen. It’s as if the writers already assumed that audiences watched “Dogtown and Z-Boyz”, so instead of giving us the group of people who invent this sport, instead we get a hazy celluloid fantasy. It’s almost as if the writers focused on fantasy worlds of these people rather than exploring the sport, and their influence of the sport. The film becomes this coming of age tale, then forms into another conventional “misfits trying for competition” story, and then we focus on each individual characters rise and fall from fame and doesn’t really point to any real focus or logic.

The wheels then come off completely by the second half exploring each individual character instead and it becomes a rambling affair. And that’s basically to the fact that the film takes great liberties; anyone expecting this as truth will be disappointed and should keep in mind that much of what is included is pure fiction including certain subplots and character fates. And then, when all is said and done, there’s really not a lot of point “Lords of Dogtown”. Guys become skaters, guys compete, guys become famous, guys fall in love, and the end. What’s the big deal?

After watching “Lords”, I’m even more inspired to see out its docu-counterpart, because obviously fact faded behind fiction. For a skater film, it’s a lot of fun, with a great soundtrack and my girl Reed, but other than that, it’s pointless, scattered, and pretends to be edgier than it is.

  • Tony Hawk cameos as an astronaut who tries out Stacy’s skateboard and falls flat. Hawk was one of the members of Stacy Peralta’s skate team where he was discovered.

 

 

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