Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lords of Dogtown: "Poetic License"

JUST A QUICK riff on Caroline's post about Dogtown and Z-Boys.

Not too long after the documentary about the Westside skate tribes made its rounds, a feature film based on their story premiered on the big screen in 2005. The film,  Lords of Dogtown, is the dramatized retelling of the story of skaters Jay Adams, Stacy Peralta and Tony Alva. 
Jay, Stacy and Tony -- the "Hollywood Version" in  Lords of Dogtown
Directed by Stacy Peralta, (who was part of the scene and also prominently featured in the doc) Lords of Dogtown explores the same ground yet via a different prism.  It's a clarifying compliment to watch the two side by side. While 2001's Z-Boys was frank, edgy and gloriously frayed at the edges in a realistic way,  the Lords of Dogtown is all mood,  evoking a re-enacted of-the-moment "sense of place." It speaks to some elements we have been discussing in class -- voice, point of view and how memories of places and scenes now gone -- unfold differently in various hands.

Jay Adams, for one, pretty much thought the film was in a way, Dogtown Lite.That, however, he suggests, was largely the problem with the Hollywood version of gritty subcultures:

 "Movies about surfing and skateboarding have always turned out to be pretty bad. Usually they're pretty corny. The only one that I ever really liked was “Big Wednesday.” Movies like “Thrashin” made me want to hide. I think “Lords of Dogtown” was kind of like “Blue Crush” but for little boys instead of girls. “Blue Crush” was a little girl movie. I thought they did a good job on it. I thought the same for ours. I mean, it was PG-13. How real can it be?
First of all, Stacy Peralta never hung out with us. He was a Z boy, but he wasn't a Dogtowner. I have to give Stacy a lot of credit. Think of how hard it would be to write a movie about yourself and not come across as being big-headed. Stacy was a really great skateboarder. He did good in contests and was smart as far as making money is concerned. Some of the things in the movie were true, but a lot were made up just to make the story better."

Adams has photographed and written extensively about the scene himself.  You might want to check this out too. 

Here's a couple of windows in on that moment in L.A via Stacy Peralta's POV.:

Lords of Dogtown: The Trailer: 

 Pool Skating: Let's turn "the dream" inside out . . .

-- L.G.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you posted this! My friend's boyfriend is into skateboarding and surfing, and so when I told him what I was watching, he was excited and told me that there was a movie based off of the documentary (of course thinking he could further peak my interest by telling me that Heath Ledger was in it). However, after watching the trailer to decide if I wanted to watch it or not, I decided that I thought it looked kind of cheesy and forced at parts. Maybe I would have felt differently and thought it looked amazing had I not seen the documentary beforehand, but maybe I was experiencing the same thing that I call "the book/movie effect"--I personally think that nine times out of ten, the movies that follow the books they are based upon pale in comparison, so I always read the books first. The documentary is like the book in this situation because it's the "real" story, and so after watching the documentary, I didn't really feel the need to watch the movie based off of it because I know that it won't be as good or real. The quote from Jay Adams kind of sealed the deal for me and I might decide to move this movie to the back of my personal movie queue. If it's anything like Blue Crush, which I have seen, I have no such desire.