Lords of Dogtown

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Lords of Dogtown
Review (4/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)


Lords of Dogtown is a movie based on the true story of three surfer dudes living in the slums of the California coastal area. The kids were surfers by day but once the waves died, they put their focus into the art of skateboarding and with the help of a surfboard shop owner named Skip Engblom (Heath Ledger) and his revolutionary new skateboard wheels, they were able to turn their skateboarding talents into a relatively lucrative career and helped bring skateboarding to the internationally-renowned sport that it is today. The members of the Zephyr Team, also known as the Z-Boys, included Jay Adams (played by Emile Hirsch), Tony Alva (Victor Rasuk) and Stacy Peralta (John Robinson). Johnny Knoxville also stars in Lords of Dogtown as some sort of pimp daddy named Topper Burks and professional skateboarder Tony Hawk has a brief cameo.

I have to say that seeing Lords of Dogtown and seeing some of the young children in the theatre watching the movie, if I had kids, I sure as hell wouldn't want them watching this movie. Before the movie started, there was a prize giveaway and one of the kids that was pulled from the crowd was able to rhyme off the names of the three Z-Boys (none of whom I have ever head of in my entire life) quicker than I can name the last 200 Playboy Playmates. I was actually quite impressed with the young fella, who by my estimates was probably somewhere around 6 or 7 years old. But I can assure you that what I saw on the screen was not impressive. Let me just "rhyme" off some of the shit I saw the Z-Boys pull off - underage drinking, underage sex, smoking, drugs, stealing, vandalizing, fighting, trespassing, running from the police, squirting ketchup on an innocent bystander just to be funny and joining a gang. I could probably go on but I'm sure you get the point.

I understand that the Z-Boys did not grow up in the greatest surroundings but giving young kids the impression that this sort of behaviour is somewhat cool, well, in my books that just ain't cool. I know these kids revolutionized the sport of skateboarding and now it seems they are all fairly stable and successful individuals (except perhaps Jay Adams) but to me, at least two of the three kids were just punks who don't really deserve to have a movie made about them or to have young kids in today's society looking up to them or where they came from.

But that's just my opinion. As for the movie, it wasn't that great either. Besides being pretty much disgusted by most of the people in Lords of Dogtown, I found the movie generally to be boring and unwatchable. Not many of the characters were portrayed as very interesting. Not many of the skateboarding stunts seemed to be too flamboyant. It did have some good moments, like the last half of the movie got more interesting, seeing the boys reach international fame and being inundated with endorsement deals was a bit surprising and somewhat shocking and it did have a rather touching ending.

In the end, Lords of Dogtown is a story I'm not too sure has to be told, at least to anyone under the age of 20. I would rather see a movie like this rated "R" than a movie like Revenge of the Sith. I guess in the end I found Lords of Dogtown to be a slightly less than average movie that made a bunch of kids who, at times, acted like a bunch of hooligans, look like heroes and it just makes me wonder what the young minds of the world who idolize people like that are going to think. If these guys represent the Lords of Dogtown, I sure as hell would hate to see who was the king.

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