It's amazing that enough footage from this period still exists to have created this film, and thank god for that. Just a person on a board, doing it because they love to do it. That might also be the reason, why it was not objective. Peralta and his excellent editor captured the feeling and atmosphere perfectly, helped in part with some incredible archival footage. At a certain point the waves are not so good any more to surf on. Every time I view it, some other aspect rises to the top, some other viewpoint come into sharp focus.
My skateboarding career ended in 1974 when my two-by-four skateboard with steel roller-skate wheels hit a rock and I tumbled, for days it seemed, down the sidewalk outside my parent's house in Boston. Excellent film with a great soundtrack, a portrait of a Southern California, indeed an America, that no longer exists. I never surfed or skateboarded but I still found this documentary fascinating. I didn't now what to expect from this movie. It surely puts to shame the crap heard in almost every big-budget film coming out these days. The life work and love of the subject is captivating. But while the Z-Boys' success brought them a measure of fame and fortune -- lucrative endorsement contracts, deals to manufacture their own custom skateboards, and even movie roles Tony Alva starred opposite Leif Garrett in Skateboard, while Z-Boy Stacy Peralta was top-billed in Freewheelin' -- their fame proved to be fleeting, and several of the Z-Boys fell prey to drugs, crime, and ego.
Because the waves dissipated in the afternoon, they took up skateboarding to fill their time, and the empty swimming pools caused by the drought during those years plus their surfing backgrounds led them to create the vertical skateboarding style that is mainstream today. The first time I saw it, it caught me by suprise. Anyone looking to learn more about the development of skateboarding should find Dogtown and Z-Boys adequate research material. As I watched all these kids ripping and doing the moves we strived so hard to emulate, I could feel the old stoke returning to my veins. Well, I wouldn't put such an expectation on Stacy Peralta, but he is a skateboarder who has made a good movie. I'm 47 years old now, but after seeing this movie I'm so fired up I think I may have to get a board and get back out there wearing a helmet and lots of pads, of course. Adams, Alva and Peralta are the three most important skateboarders ever.
It did what it was supposed to do. That being said, I thought this was a very informative and interesting documentary. Film for me is a matter of conversations between different parts of myself and various personalities and virtual personalities as elements within the project. This is an inspired film that anyone who has an interest in pop culture, extreme sports, the 70's or even just good documentary film making will enjoy completely. Hard-core surfers who sought to translate the hot-dogging stunts of world-class wave riders onto their skateboards began hanging out at the Zephyr Productions Surf Shop, a store that stocked top-grade equipment for local surfers and skaters, and with the help of the store's owner Jeff Ho, twelve of the skaters organized themselves into a team to compete at local skate events.
That's the feeling this film gave me. It was a rebellion not for the sake of ego but for the sake of something they all enjoyed doing. ! Stacy Peralta was part of the Z-Boys and he did this film as a tribute to what they were all about. The skate scenes were all right, but excited me by striking up thoughts of the truth of it all. I love this movie because it shows the people and the developing sport of skateboarding as being truly products of their environment. What Peralta has done, however, is capture enough of the energy of those heady days that we can appreciate what it must have been like when modern skateboarding was invented by the Z-Boys. Take a subject I didn't know much about and make it exciting, why don't you? This film is often guilty, so if you are so afflicted, be warned.
It was great to see people looking back on that, acknowledging it, accepting it, and taking pride in it. In their day and time, this was all new. They deserved better care than they received, I'm afraid. The same style is used in the film as in the skating, which is a practiced but of course not entirely committed ragginess. Otherwise, it probably won't have the impact on you as it did me. First off, I'd like to say I know basically zilch about the origins and the rebirth of skateboarding. Watch this film and watch the birth of 'extreme sports'.
I am almost 40 years old now and I guess a pretty uptight kind of guy with all of life's problems, however; this film did a great job of taking me back. It's this kind of approach that gives this movie its edge. Just reminded me of what it felt like to be a kid in the 70s trying to figure out who you were. This requires a certain synthesis of the reality in and of the film. But I have always admired the X-games types and surfers especially. This is taking place in a not so nice area to live in.
I also remember reading Skateboarder Magazine and being both completely impressed and totally terrified of the Dogtown crew. I'm not sure if the record labels who own the rights to all these classic tunes cut the filmmakers any breaks for the licensing and use of all this great period music, but this was probably the most impressive group of songs I've ever heard in a documentary. Most documentaries, the journalistic ones, cannot acknowledge the synthetic nature of what they show. It started with the zephyr team, who where a fine group of surfers. Of course, he was forced by the nature of the film he was making to use existing footage, and it is certainly a good thing that so much archival footage existed. Being in the suburbs of New York when the Z-Boys were creating history in Dogtown, I was only exposed to a glimpse of what was going on.
I'm guessing it's supposed to be Zephyr shop owner Jeff Ho who wouldn't have anything to do with the film. I have seen this movie twice now on cable. He is a completely dulled individual now, the walking dead. I'm sure it's at least a tad biased, but aren't all documentaries? The zephyr team was taking part on several competition and also the national one. It so happens that back about 1979, director Robert Altman said that he didn't believe he had ever made a real movie and that he expected that one of these kids riding skateboards--if he doesn't break his neck--will make the first movie.