Moving down the list of my senior suggestions, my graduates got to suggest a movie for me to watch over the summer, Lords of Dogtown fit into our Top Five Movie topic for the week. This film, directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight and Thirteen), has some very cool moments but suffers a bit with the narrative. Overall, the story is entertaining and an interesting look into the Z-boys.
Lords of Dogtown is a fun, historical look at skateboarding
Jay (Emile Hirsh), Stacy (John Robinson), Tony (Victor Rasuk), and Sid (Michael Angarano) are surfers turned skaters when they join the Zephyr Skate Team headed up by Skip (Heath Ledger). Once their talent is seen people come out to get a piece of the boys before the money starts pouring in. The film follows them as they rise as promising skaters and how fame and success creates a skism in their friendship.
The struggles that the boys go through are what make this film so compelling. They each have different issues with their home lives and their goals. Sid is the one who seems to have it the easiest, but that doesn’t stay that way. Jay has it the worst and the affects it has on his character are slightly tragic. Skip may be the best aspect of the film, but even he has some tragedy.
Ledger was the most surprising element of this film recommended by my student. He is almost unrecognizable for moments in this movie. His performance, and the character, really stand out. Hirsh is also very talented in his role and makes his tragedy more impactful. All of the actors do a solid job in the film though. It’s really the way the events are presented that make them feel a little disconnected.
It’s said that the Z-boys revolutionized skating and really made aerial tricks relevant. The film feels like the significance of this time period and these boys doesn’t’ feel clear in the film. Sure, the end of the film and the fame they get help to clarify the significance, but it doesn’t seems clear in the narrative. It doesn’t take away from the film as a whole, however, it feels slightly neglectful to clarify the impact the events of the film had on the world of skating.
Lords of Dogtown is entertaining. There are some cool cameos in the film that fans of skateboarding will definitely enjoy. The performances are compelling and watching the documentary, Dogtown and Z-Boys, will help clarify any of the missing details. Lords of Dogtown earns the Decent Watch rating.