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Dogtown And Z-Boys

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Dogtown And Z-Boys

Starring: Jay Adams, Tony Alva
Director: Stacy Peralta
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 89 Minutes
Release Date: January 2001
Genres: Documentary, Sports

*Also starring: Bob Biniak, Stacy Peralta, Nathan Pratt, Wentzle Ruml, Sean Penn

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

Stacy Peralta's documentary, DOGTOWN AND Z-BOYS, chronicles "the beginning of the revolution." The birth of this revolution happened not in Red Square but on asphalt playgrounds and in drained swimming pools, where a bunch of outlaw skaters brought their skateboards to mimic their surfing moves on land.

The energetic and fun film follows the punk rockers of the 1970's skateboard movement, a group called the Zephyr team or Z-Boys for short. Rather like a street gang, these surfers came together to surf around the dangerous abandoned piers in the rough Dogtown area of Santa Monica. They describe this area as "the last great seaside swamp." They all got a huge adrenaline rush from the danger of almost dying as they crashed into visible and invisible pilings that dotted their surfing area. Seeing themselves as the local Mafia, they threw rocks and glass at outsiders who dared try to surf their waves.

In order to keep busy during the day when the waves were down, these surfers started skateboarding, a sport that had flourished briefly and then died in 1965, much like the Hula-Hoop's rapid demise.

With fast cut editing, the movie uses both archival footage and contemporary interviews. One of the skaters, Skip Engblom, perhaps best describes the Z-boys influence. He says that they were like the pirates, and he was Captain Hook. In this version of Peter Pan, however, they won and converted the lost boys to pirates.

The spirited film has music from classic rock tunes like "Wake Up Maggie" to the theme music from THE GODFATHER. Perhaps the funniest part comes when they interrupt the story for part of an episode of "Charlie's Angels" in which Peralta's skateboarding gets in the way during a crime.

Although the most memorable parts of the movie are all of the editing tricks that Paul Crowder comes up with, the movie's success stems from a bit of good luck. You might never expect it, but the skateboard bad boys have turned into extremely articulate adults. Only a few of them appear to have crashed their heads into a few too many concrete walls. Most of the old skaters weave mesmerizing stories of their youthful passion, the art of "surfing the asphalt."

DOGTOWN AND Z-BOYS runs 1:29. It is rated PG-13 for "language and some drug references" and would be acceptable for kids around 11 and up.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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