bad_h | San Diego, CA United States | 06/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although it's been out for a number of months, it took me way too long to get to a theater to see it. I can't tell you how important this film is. As this ground breaking documentary starts to unfold, Stacy and Craig give you a bird's eye view of their 70's concrete playground, complete with historical reasoning for why Dogtown ever existed (and where, exactly, it existed). The editing style is incredible. At one point, Sean Penn makes a verbal mistake yet keeps on going through his description. Any other editor would have cut it and retaped the audio but keeping it in made the whole thing way more real, like Sean was talking to YOU. In addition some of the skaters, in their interviews are "Fast Forwaded" on screen. Very slick way of clipping the bull and getting to the meat. This movie is a cultural document that should be played in schools, design studios, city halls and to every youngster who ever thought he knew everything about skating, the X games, Bob Burnquist and Tony hawk. Thank God someone caught as much 70s "film" as they did and thank God these guys got this important era of our American culture on DVD. Buy it. Show it to your kids. Make them watch it. Then... take them out, loosen their trucks and make them do berts until they get it down."
John C. McCurdy | San Antonio, TX United States | 07/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not a skateboarder--I never have been. So my review of this film is from a truly "outsider" position. I'll skip making comments about the wonderful aspects of this film as a documentary about skateboarding, because to me what makes this a truly remarkable work of art has to do with being a documentary about life and truth and beauty and all that.This movie is about hope. It paints a picture of young kids growing up in an incredibly harsh environment (the film goes out of its way to portray Venice of the early '70's in practically post-apocalyptic images) who see in the concrete wasteland nothing but ocean waves of endless promise. They craft, as artists, a new ballet amidst the rubble. They are obsessed with skating the perfect run, not necessarily to be better than their friends, but just for the sake of perfection. In this pursuit of perfection, I see hope. I see a vision of a recreated world where there are no barriers based on class or empty swimming pools surrounded by fences and patrolled by police. But there's also an irony in the hope, in that the Zephyr boys have an exclusivity about them--they are fiercely elite in their rejection of conventionality.The story of one of the top two skateboarders, Jay Adams, provides the heart to this film. His story provides a balance to the narrative of corporate greed, which ultimately destroyed the Zephyr team (but which also made the film possible and the story relevent). He is shown as a very young and, though violent and utterly contemptous, innocent boy oozing with natural talent. He's interviewed several times as an adult who, we find out, is doing time for heroin-related charges in Hawaii. Next to the brilliance of the Jay Adams the boy, in Jay Adams the man we see a dark shell of regret and pain. His fellow riders lament the fact that Jay's life is so tragic and unfair--there's a sense of complete injustice "he should have had it all" "Jay's had the hardest life of anyone I know who's still alive" "you only get one shot at this...once it's gone it's gone." So within this movie about beauty and hope, we meet Jay Adams and see tragedy and injustice. There's an absolutely beautiful and haunting scene at the end of the Jay Adams excurses in which the beautiful young Jay, maybe 12 years old, with long sun-bleached hair, is skating in an empty pool and falls on his way down one side. His board continues through the bottom of the pool, up the other side, and straight up into the air about 10 or 15 feet. The scene is in slow motion and freezes the board mid-air. Then, there's a fade to a still of Jay at about 25 years old holding a picture of himself as a cute, innocent boy of about 7. Then another fade to Jay as a hard, broken man in his 30's, with a crew but, what seems to be a black eye and bruised nose, and tattoos running up his throat. Eyes like empty holes. This is the filmmaker's art at its finest. A scene like this says so much more than words ever could.Some of the reviews on this film have complained that the film was too short--that it left too many questions unanswered. I couldn't disagree more. This film is all about the questions, not the answers. As a Christian, I see this film as a commentary on humanity and our longing for beauty--our hope for a future that includes a recreated world where architecture is no longer purely utilitarian, where there are no longer divisions between north Malibu and the southern beaches. Where everyone has access to a perfect wave. A future in which greed no longer robs us of our innocence, and Jay Adams is once again that strikingly charismatic and beautiful blond-headed boy writing profound poetry with his skateboard, poetry that destroys the walls of violence and drugs and elitism, that opens his soul to ours and ours to him. In the words of U2, a future "where the streets have no name." Our souls groan for a better place, and this film captures that emotion as well as any I've ever seen. This is an amazing film!"
"Dogtown and Z-Boys" fresh, unique, and infectious
Ladd Wendelin | in NE USA | 07/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Almost 30 years before the world had heard of Tony Hawk, three-sixties, or even Jackass, there was a place called Dogtown, a singed wasteland of ruin in Venice, California where a then overlooked group of rebellious youthful outsiders shared one passion...Skateboarding. Spearheaded by the unbelievable skating prowess of Tony Alva, Jay Adams, and Stacy Peralta (who also serves as director here), the Zephyr Team would go on to revolutionize the world of skateboarding in only a few short years, and bring what was once a passing trend into a national, and inevitably commercialized obsession. "Dogtown and Z-Boys" passionately chronicles the skyrocket rise and subsequent fame of the Zephyr Team, particularly Alva and Adams with remarkable freshness and purpose. Rare and raw footage and pictures of the infamous Z-Boys blazing the asphalt and riding the dry-bone swimming pools of the early 70's is art in itself creating gripping visual moments set against a
soundtrack courtesey of Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Blue Oyster Cult, and Led Zeppelin, just to name a few. In any case, it's hardcore...a hardcore documentary experience that effortlessly recaptures a fleeting moment in history that will never be repeated, when a group of no-account skateboard outlaws rewrote the rules of the game and changed the way the skateboard was ridden forever.Clever, engaging, and purposeful in its storytelling, "Dogtown and Z-Boys" is a fascinating documentary, and certainly worth checking out."
Poetry in Motion
Kelly R. Smith | Salem, OR United States | 10/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is a love letter to a sport that to those of us who've never skated, helped us understand the passion these people feel for it. With it's absolutely breath-taking visuals, very artistic still photography, and killer sound track, who could resist but be a bit envious of these sunshine golden-boys and their awesome talent? Learning the history behind each person's humble beginnings, and how their passion for a fading trend, helped launch a counter-culture extreme sport is exhilirating to watch. I have a lot of skater friends, and none of them are getting any younger, knees have been ravaged and bones are weary. This film allows those folks, who grew up in this era, and equally loved to skate, relive the reasons that drew them to skating in the first place. To see someone's eyes light up, and catch a glimpse of the sparkle in them, that this awesome sport incites is really beautiful to behold. And the movie definately shows we "non-skaters" why these guys have so much love for their boards! The movie truly is a work of art, beautifully filmed, with actual footage from the era, still photograghy that any world-reknowned photgragher would envy....watching it will make you want to go and grab a board and at least TRY and feel the love!! I just had tickets to Tony Hawk's Boom-Boom Huck Jam exhibition, and seeing this film, showed me he may be the Michael Jordan of the skate world, but he is simply carrying the torch, in a sport where it's founding fathers were all plain old kids from middle-class neighborhoods, who loved something enough, to help turn the sport into what it is today!!!! A MUST see movie!!!!!!!"