LORDS OF DOGTOWN tells the radical true story behind three teenage surfers from Venice Beach, California, who took skateboarding to the extreme and changed the world of sports forever. Stacy Peralta (John Robinson, Elephan... more »t), Tony Alva (Victor Rasuk, Raising Victor Vargas) and Jay Adams (Emile Hirsch, The Girl Next Door) are the Z-Boys, a bunch of nobodies until they create a new style of skateboarding that becomes a worldwide phenomenon. But when their hobby becomes a business, the success shreds their friendship. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke (thirteen) and written by Stacy Peralta, Lords of Dogtown is "...a dazzling daredevil ride." (Peter Travers, ROLLING STONE)« less
"After slowly getting over the news of Heath Ledger's death, I wanted to watch him again in one of his movies. Although I like Brokeback Mountain, I prefer this one.
It's the story of the Z-Boys, four teenage surfer friends who in the mid seventies take up skate boarding and thus change the world of sports forever.
Heath is "Far Out!" Skip, a surfer and surf store owner who is the first to recognize the kids' talents. He pushes them (calling him a manager would be a little too much), and makes them grow into what they are to become. More or less drunk for most of the time and always open for yet another trick to spin off a little cash for himself on the side, he cannot hold them once the success and fame hits. Big managers' promises of fast cars, the prettiest girls and cash in adundance pull the boys out of his loose grip. Their friendship starts breaking apart as ambition, jealousy, girls and greedy managers take over. It is only when one of them (who got left behind) falls seriously ill, that the boys get back together and rediscover what their friendship is all about.
Starring Emile Hirsch as the enigmatic and anger driven Jay, Victor Rasuk as the ambitious Tony Alva and John Robinson as Stacy Peralta (who also wrote the screenplay).
Great camerawork, both on and off the skates, terrific acting, solid directing and wonderful production and set design. The film and the actors do a great job in transmitting the fun and thrill of skating. My favorite scene is Tyson, The Wonder Dog, the fun loving skating bulldog who simply can't get enough of the sport(also as an extended scene in the special features - he was not trained to do this but took up skating by himself!). The dvd's picture quality is good, even in the dark and during the rides. The extended cut has four minutes more. The only reason these were cut were probably the use of too many four letter words, but I wouldn't want to miss them. Great movie with a wonderful sad and funny Heath Ledger."
MICHAEL ACUNA | Southern California United States | 06/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Catherine Hardwicke has style to burn and she proved it with her last film, "Thirteen." She also knows how to present teenagers on screen without making them look like aliens: she actually gives them thoughts other than sex and drugs (which, to be sure is in abundance here) and is empathetic to their dreams and desires. She was the logical and best choice to film Stacy Perralta's "Lords of Dogtown," based on the documentary that was released last year about the beginning of the skateboard phenomenon in Southern California circa 1972. As befitting the subject matter, "LOD" is filmed with lots of noise, vibrant colors and showcases the beauty as well as the dingy-ness that is emblematic of SoCal beach cities, specifically Venice and Santa Monica. The editing is fast, the pace furious but Hardwicke knows when to quiet things down and let the main characters speak their minds: John Robinson's Stacy, Emile Hirsch's Jay, Victor Rasuk's Tony and Michael Angarano's Sid...all excellent and decidedly democratic about sharing the screen with each other. Then there is Heath Ledger's performance as Skip: wearing a buck-tooth appliance, swigging from a ½ pint of something-or-other, smoking da kind...he's like a cross between Val Kilmer's performance as Jim Morrison and his own performance as Ned Kelly. It has to be seen to be believed. Is it over-acting? Yes. Is it foolish and silly? Yes. Is it effective? Oh, Yes...Ledger is a pro and he knows exactly what he was doing...i.e. stealing every scene he is in. "Lords of Dogtown" is not a great film but it is a good one and as such it deserves to be seen and appreciated for it's simple, thoughtful as well as heartfelt pleasures.
Old School Rules...
Nemo | Atlanta, GA | 06/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the mid to late seventies and early eighties my friends and I had heroes. From Black Sabbath to Steely Dan, Hank Aarron to O.J. Simpson, and then there were the legendary Z-Boys. The guys we read about in Skateboarder magazine which we anxiously awaited the arival of in our mailboxes each month. Skateboarder Magazine made these guys stars. Especially to kids like us growing up in land-locked suburban Atlanta, GA. The Z boys were responsible for influencing mine and my friends years of skating in the future and for that I raise my glass to them. I got chills while sitting in the theatre and watching this great film which chronicles so many of the things I remember from being young and growing up in the skate culture. From our OJ Wheels to our Tracker trucks, from our Z-Flex boards to our Vans skate shoes (which I still wear while skating my long board) Stacy Peralta and the boys carved a niche that the world can never forget. A great movie for the young skaters of today to see. This was before the days of small wheels and railslides. This is about style and good old fashioned rebellion. The Z-Boys were breaking ground while not even knowing it. Hats off to Peralta for making another great Z-Boys movie."
The trailers for this movie were misleading...
Cubist | United States | 11/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Dogtown and Z-Boys was a hugely successful documentary chronicling a group of wild skateboarders in Venice Beach, California in 1970s. Naturally, Hollywood got interested and wanted to make a fictional version (because hey, no one watches docs, right?) with Fred Dirst (of Limp Bizkit fame) directing and David Fincher producing. Fortunately, someone came to their senses and Dirst was out with Fincher taking over but the budget for his vision was too large. So, the studio opted for a low budget take with independent film darling Catherine Hardwicke, fresh from the success of Thirteen, taking over as director. In an effort to keep it real, Stacy Peralta, who made the Z-Boys doc, wrote the screenplay for Lords of Dogtown and worked closely with Hardwicke in order to remain true to what he and his friends went through all those years ago.
Thankfully, the film's producers didn't raid the WB cabinet for the young cast. Instead, they got Hirsch (from The Girl Next Door), Victor Rasuk (from indie fave Raising Victor Vargas) and John Robinson (from Gus Van Sant's Elephant) who have some actual acting chops but not a high enough profile so as to distract. They disappear into their roles as does, surprisingly, high profile actor, Heath Ledger. He does an excellent job of becoming his character, one of the Zephyr skate shop owners who is a burnt out drunk but has vision and tries to protect his team of young skaters.
The trailers for this movie totally misrepresented it as an over-processed, heavily-edited piece of lunchmeat. Instead, Lords of Dogtown perfectly evokes the times it depicts with unerring authenticity. It portrays skaters as they were back then - stylish and below the radar, just before the sport took off to the wildly popular institution that it is now.
Lords of Dogtown shows how fame eventually broke up the Z-Boys. It was inevitable. These kids came from nothing and were suddenly thrust into the spotlight and thrown all kinds of money at them. Alva and Peralta became hugely popular and went corporate, constantly competing with each other while Adams stayed true to his roots and walked away from it all because he was in it for the love of skating and the thrill of the ride. This film will bring back a lot of memories for people who grew up and skated during these years, making this movie more than just a simple retread of the Z-Boys documentary.
There is an audio commentary by director Catherine Hardwicke and actors John Robinson, Victor Rasuk and Emile Hirsch. The actors dish all kinds of good anecdotes about filming in this engaging and informative track.
Also included is an additional commentary with original Z-Boys Stacy Peralta and Tony Alva. The movie is clearly a trip down memory lane for these guys as they share all sorts of memories and stories from that time in their lives. This is a laid-back, engaging track by guys who were actually there back in the day.
"The Making of Lords of Dogtown" is a 30 minute look at how this film came together. Best of all, we get to see footage of the three lead actors learning how to surf and skate. They spent over two months training before filming any scenes.
"Dogtown Cameos" showcases all the real people from back in the day that Hardwicke snuck into the backgrounds of scenes or even gave speaking parts. This featurette identifies where they are in the movie, who they are and then lets them talk about their experiences back then and now.
There are nine deleted and extended scenes totaling 19 minutes. This includes more footage of the Zephyr shop and additional bits of Sid and Stacy's home lives.
Also included are seven featurettes that provide additional insights into the filmmaking process, including many of the scrapes and spills the cast and their stunt doubles endured. There is more excellent skating footage that was cut out and make-up tests for the cast and their stunt doubles.
"Gag Reel" features standard footage of the cast goofing around on set.
There are "Storyboard Comparisons" for three scenes from the movie. They cut back and forth from the drawings to the finished product so you can see how close they resemble each other.
Finally, there is a music video for "Nervous Breakdown" by Rise Against that features the band playing with clips from the movie included."
Lover of Dogtown
Sunny | Santa Rosa, CA | 07/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I only see 2 to 3 movies a year and this one for some reason captured my eye.
What a great flick. The parts were expertly played, and Heath Ledger captured Skip perfectly.
I wish Mitch Hedberg had a bigger part than just the guy with the wheels. (I love him)
The woven story of the boys in this age of growing up, and their lives how different yet together and the bonding between them and the paths they all chose made the movie shine.
Plus the nostaliga of the 70's and remembering the old banana boards just cracked me up.
If you are going to see one really good flick this summer - this should be it."