LORDS OF DOGTOWN
zero stars (out of 5)
June 3, 2005
John Robinson as STACY
Emile Hirsch as JAY
Victor Rasuk as TONY
Heath Ledger as SKIP
Nikki Reed as KATHY ALVA
Rebecca De Mornay as PHILAINE
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
There’s something about skateboarding movies that make me queasy inside. It has nothing to do with extreme sports or fear of seeing someone get hurt. It’s more visceral than that. The sport itself, I have nothing against. However, the skateboard culture and hype surrounding it just seems… well… stupid.
And nothing embodies that stupidity than the movies made within that culture. Don’t get me wrong. I find some of the stunts in “Jackass” funny. Of course, I also find many of them painfully idiotic – and not in a good way. But nothing is worse than the whole celebrity status of Bam Margera. At least “Jackass” was entertaining on a freak level. Shows like “Viva la Bam” are some of the worst things ever produced.
While Bam Margera and “Jackass” have nothing to do with “Lords of Dogtown” (although Johnny Knoxville does show up in a cameo role in the film), this movie embodies the entire culture. If you’re into that culture, you’re gonna find this movie a work of art. If you’re not, then you’d better have some strong painkillers on hand to make it through the film.
Not only is “Lords of Dogtown” easily the worst movie of the year, it is the worst movie I’ve seen in at least two years. Even worse than “Gigli.”
Back in 2003, I ranked the film “Grind” as the absolute worst movie of the year – by far. And not since that excruciating 90 minutes in the theater have I been in as much pain as I was during “Lords of Dogtown.”
To be honest, I actually dozed off about 20 minutes into the film. Too bad I woke up, because it was constant pain from that point on. I found myself longing for the sweet release of sleep – or even death – as I struggled to reach the end credits.
There’s not much to this movie in terms of plot. It’s the true story of how the skateboard culture erupted into the mainstream in the mid-1970s. It shows how these drug-addicted, violent miscreants fought against oppression in the skating world to bring out an art form. I’m relieved that finally we have some filmmakers brave enough to expose the corruption in local skateboard contests.
The height of stupidity of this film is the skateboard groupies. I’ve seen skateboard groupies – especially on the local level – and they don’t look like the hot girls in this film. Instead, they look more like me – a fat, middle-aged bald guy with a beard. Such was the problem with “Grind,” and we see that cinematic disaster repeat itself with “Lords of Dogtown.”
To say I hated “Lords of Dogtown” is kind. I could make a list seventeen miles long of things I would rather do than watch this reeking piece of celluloid again – and that includes rolling naked down a hill of broken glass and swimming in a vat of hydrochloric acid.
Heath Ledger, who plays the manager of this rag-tag group of skaters, turns in a performance so embarrassing that I wanted to call his own mother and apologize for him.
After watching this movie, I longed for the strength of plot from “House of Wax” and the sensibilities of “Alexander.” And I found myself asking, what could be worse than “Lords of Dogtown”…
…the answer: “Lords of Dogtown: Part II.”
The “Viva la Bam” crowd should like this film, but I’m afraid that even my two year old would find it completely void of dignity, maturity and intellectual stimulation. In short, “Lords of Dogtown” is nothing more than a steaming pile of dog crap.