Monday, May 27, 2002

Dogtown and Z-Boys (IMDB) (Netflix)
A narcissistic but entertaining documentary of a group of skateboarders in the 1970s, who grew out of the Southern California surfer culture, transformed the sport and, in their eyes, were the inspiration for the X Games and snowboarder culture. This film shows how you can take a bunch of grainy photographs, 8mm footage, and present-day interviews and put together an interesting, evocative story about the birth and evolution of a sub-culture. Were the History Channel this edgy...

Narrated by Sean Penn (holy shades of Ridgemont High), it chronicles the history of Dogtown, which connected the south of Santa Monica, Venice and Ocean Park, California, and the wrong-side-of-the-tracks kids who translated surfing to the dried-up pools of the California drought, took advantage of new technology (from clay to urethane wheels) and created a big-business sport. The only downer at the end is the realization that the film was made by some of the Z-Boys themselves, adding after the fact a sense of self-promotion and re-living of the past, but it's a piece of Americana that hasn't been shown, at least not nearly this definitively.