Ebert: Rolling Stone: TV Guide:1/2

Warning, minor plot points revealed!

OK.  This was a film that I was really psyched for.  I was a terrible skater when I was younger but I had fun and these guys (The Z-Boys) and those that came directly after them, were some of the skaters that I idolized.  I was a Powell Peralta fan and 1/3 of this movie is the Stacy Peralta story!  Plus I loved the documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys that came out back in 2001.  

Unfortunately Lords of Dogtown doesn't really add anything to the story we already knew.  Dogtown and Z-Boys is a far more interesting and entertaining film.  Even before I saw the movie it seemed kind of redundant.  I was stoked watching the previews but it seemed to be kind of a unnecessary remake.

We see the origins of modern skateboarding as the Zephyr Team forms and starts to incorporate their extreme surf styles in the pools, ramps and city streets of Venice and Santa Monica.  The stars of the team are Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva, and Jay Adams and their leader is the stoned hippie surf store owner Skip.  The guys quickly rise to the level of superstars with magazine covers, guest spots on Charlie's Angels and contracts with other companies that eventually break up the team.  They all rise fast, and with the exception of Peralta, all fall hard.  And that is basically what the movie deals with.

Unfortunately this is also what the documentary dealt with in depth as well so we seem to be getting kind of a glossed over light version of events here.  I suppose since kids are not really the audience for documentaries this was the only way to introduce them to the godfathers of the sport they all love so much today.  I've seen old footage of Tony Hawk when he was like 3 years old tearing it up but he didn't invent modern skateboarding.  These guys did.  

The actors are all great.  Since it takes place in the 70's it kind of reminded me of a skateboard version of Dazed and Confused or Boogie Nights.  The three kids all do a great job playing Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva, and Jay Adams but for me the stand out performance in this film is Heath Ledger as Skip.  I'm not a huge Heath Ledger fan but I've seen him before and he is totally unrecognizable in this film.  He is awesome.  He'll never get recognized for this but he should really win some sort of award.  His character is kind of like a mix between a goofy stoner Cheech and Chong type guy and Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison in The Doors movie.  I loved his character and he's the only reason I really enjoyed the film.

The skating in the film is kind of cool because no one had ever seen it before but honestly it's nothing compared to what the kids are doing today.  It's sort of like watching  footage of old Olympic figure skaters or early basketball.  The athletes of today would trounce these guys.  

Anyway, if you're a fan of skateboarding and you haven't seen Dogtown and Z-Boys then you definitely need to see Lords of Dogtown.  If you're cool though you'll go rent the documentary and see the real story.



Skip and The Z-Boys

The Real Tony Alva with the kid who plays him in the movie Victor Rasuk

Heath Ledger in his best role ever