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Skateboard Movies Show Awesome Tricks with Simple Plots

Updated on December 12, 2017
Kenna McHugh profile image

Kenna worked on many productions as PA, Craft Services, Talent Scout, Grip, and Producer. Credits include Bowling for Columbine, Wallace.

Lords of Dogtown

I found a couple of skateboard movies you might like. The first one 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, and it is directed by Catherine Hardwicke. Hardwicke directed the first Twilight movie, which turned the theater-going people on its ear, creating an ever so popular franchise.

The movie follows four young boys in the 1970s in southern California. Thane Magee, who owns Griffin Skateboards has been skating since he was seven in 1977. He highly recommends this movie because it "gives an idea of the California lifestyle of skateboarding."

The characters in the movie are best friends – free spirits – hanging out at the beaches. One cool hangout is the famous Dogtown in Santa Monica. Clearly, we see these young skateboarders eat, sleep, breath, and live skateboarding.

All they do is skateboard, and if they are not skateboarding, they hang out. We meet Skip (Ledger), at his surfboard and skateboard shop. He is one cool dude.

The young, long blonde haired boys with their vans sneakers and boards live the life of riding their skateboards all over the beaches. Yet, they yearn for something more. 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 encompassing area looking for every empty pool to conquer and skate through and through.

With the drive of “the bigger the better” and instances where the young boys empty the pools themselves, we vicariously go to wild parties, picking up cute and 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.

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 In the story, we meet a teenage skateboarder named Alex (Gabe Nevins), who is a withdrawn 16-year-old boy who has recently discovered Paranoid Park -- a massive skate park in Portland, Oregon.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 to a place to cruise the concrete without being constantly harassed by the cops.

Alex hooks up with another skateboarder at the park and quickly become friends. His is known for being an anarchist at the park. But that does deter Alex and he feels he needs more adventure in order to forget about his troubles back home.

Alex and his new friend have a wild shot at hopping a train when a security guard spies them and chases after them. But tragedy falls upon the two teens as the security guard is killed, and they are angst over the consequences of their youthful waywardness.

Alex doubts he will be able to convince anyone how the events really 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 of 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 some Valley boys deal with punk rockers. Billed as a teenage adventure received 72% at Rotten Tomatoes.

How do skateboarders deal with punk rockers? They forego the usual fists, knives, and zip guns. “The Ramp Locals” use their skateboards. The skateboarders are called "The Ramp Locals." They are led by Corey Webster, played by a young Josh Brolin, 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."

© 2012 Kenna McHugh

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    • Kenna McHugh profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenna McHugh 

      2 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 

      2 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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