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Skateboard Movies Show Awesome Tricks with Simple Plots

Updated on July 8, 2019
Kenna McHugh profile image

Kenna wrote and directed several plays, taught acting for kids. She is a former talent scout, and at times directs or performs.

Lords of Dogtown

The first skateboard movie that stands out the most for me is Lords of Dogtown. A couple of reasons right off the bat are the late Heath Ledger shines in this movie under the direction by Catherine Hardwicke. Hardwicke is best known for directing the first Twilight movie, which turned the theater-going people on its ear, creating an ever so popular franchise.

The Lords of Dogtown follows four young boys in the 1970s in southern California. Owner of Griffen Skateboards, Thane Magee took to riding the board and doing tricks since he was seven in 1977. He highly recommends the movie because it "gives an idea of the California lifestyle of skateboarding."

What is Dogtown Santa Monica

One cool hangout is the famous Dogtown in Santa Monica. Dogtown is a coffee, breakfast, and lunch spot. Dedicated to keeping American skateboard and surfing nostalgia alive, the skateboard and surf community hang out together at Dogtown.

In the movie, we see these young skateboarders eat, sleep, breath, and live skateboarding.

We meet Skip, played by Ledger, at his surfboard and skateboard shop. The kids look up to Skip because he is the oldest and knows more about surfing and skateboarding than anyone in the area.

Empty Swimming Pools

The young, long blonde haired boys with their vans sneakers and boards live the life of riding their skateboards all over the beaches. They want something more from their skateboarding. That something is a higher purpose in life - empty swimming pools.

One of the boys discovers an unused swimming pool. Thus, it becomes the next wave of skateboarding. The four boys search the neighborhoods looking for every empty pool to conquer and skate through and through.

With the drive to find a the bigger and better pool, the young boys empty the pools. They go to wild parties, picking up cute, tanned girls and wait for the next step towards their higher purpose.

The movie touches the innocence of the young at heart, living free without the burdens of adulthood.

Skate Kitchen - Teenage Girls Skateboard Together

Crystal Moselle directs Skate Kitchen. The movie focuses on Camille, played by Rachelle Vinberg. She skateboards but is introverted, so keeps to herself. When she cuts off her relationship with her mother, she hooks up with an all-girl skateboarding group. She becomes friends with the girls and develops confidence.

She also meets Devon, played by Jaden Smith, who is also a skateboarder but isn't as he seems. As the story unfolds, Camille learns about true friendship and self-discovery.

What is so cool about this skateboarding movie is that it is about a teenage group of girls who skateboard together, compared to Lords of Dogtown, which is all boys, and the only girls are cute and suntanned.

The girl's group is called Skate Kitchen. They are talented, outgoing, and being cute or suntanned is the least of their concerns.

Paranoid Park

Another skateboard movie that caught my eye is Paranoid Park, directed by Gus Van Sant, based on the book by Blake Nelson. In the story, we meet a teenage skateboarder named Alex, played by Gabe Nevins, a withdrawn 16-year-old boy who has recently discovered Paranoid Park -- a massive skate park in Portland, Oregon. The Portland unruly skateboarders built Paranoid Park with the purpose of a place to cruise the concrete without being constantly harassed by the cops.

Alex hooks up with another skateboarder at the park, and they quickly become friends. His new friend is known for being an anarchist at the park. But that does stop Alex from being his friend, and he feels he needs more drama in his life to forget about his troubles back home.

Making the Right Choices

Making the right choices defines the story in the movie. Alex and his new friend take a wild shot and hop a train when a security guard sees them and chases after them. But tragedy falls upon the two teens when the security guard gets killed because he chased them, and they are angst over the consequences of their youthful waywardness.

Alex doubts he can convince anyone how the events transpired that night. Who would believe him if he told the truth? The local authorities commence an investigation into the death while troubled Alex expresses himself in a journal. We get to experience his hardship and personal pain, wearing the same shoes as an adolescence boy who was only seeking to escape from the troubles of home and the concept of mortality.

Thrashers

Directed by David Winters, this 1986 movie follows how some Valley boys deal with punk rockers. Billed as a teenage adventure, Thrashers received 72% at Rotten Tomatoes.

The skateboarders called "The Ramp Locals" use their skateboards against the punk rockers. Corey Webster, played by a young Josh Brolin, leads the group, while the street punks follow Tommy Hook, played by Robert Rusler.

The difficulty begins when Corey falls in love with Tommy's little sister, played by Pamela Gidley, who is visiting from Indiana. Like all gang conflicts, it builds during the severe "LA Massacre," which is a 20-mile downhill skateboarding race. The prize is a corporate sponsor.

The best scene of any skateboard fan is the final race. A camera is strapped to the front of a skateboard the thrills from this point of view is an exhilarating sense of the gallant "thrashers" -- hence the movie's title.

© 2012 Kenna McHugh

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    • Kenna McHugh profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenna McHugh 

      3 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you for your post and comment. It has been some time since I wrote this. I will look into. Did you like the movie?

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 

      3 years ago from Texas

      The plot of Paranoid Park is far from simple, and you have gotten the basic elements of it entirely wrong. This statement:

      "But tragedy falls upon the two teens as the security guard is killed, and they are angst over the consequences of their youthful waywardness."

      is completely false. The person accompanying Alex on the train ride is not a teen. It is yet another shiftless adult in his life. That person stays on the train and abandons Alex to deal with a horrific situation alone.

      Paranoid Park is about how teens who grow up with absolutely NO reliable adult influence in their lives have to turn to each other in times of trouble in order to cope.

      Your interpretation of the plot is simplistic. The plot, itself, is quite complex.

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