This DVD was inspired by a true story about the birth of skateboarding in the 1970s. It is directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen) who has shot it documentary-style complete with grainy film and handheld cameras. This type of camerawork lends to a feeling of authenticity about the film. You feel like this is an actual home movie from the 1970s and not a Hollywood movie. The skateboarding and surfing scenes are thrilling and plenty. I went into the movie with no real expectations as I had not seen the documentary film (Dogtown and Z Boys) about the same subject nor do I know that much about surfing or skateboarding. I came out surprised that I had enjoyed the film and it had somehow made me care about the characters. The script, which used both humor and touching moments, was well written and got you involved with the characters and their stories. Scriptwriter, Stacy Peralta (award winning writer/director of the documentary Dogtown and Z Boys), was one of the characters portrayed in the movie and has a talent for writing. Everything about the movie felt authentic: the actors, the music, the fashion, the language, and the surfing/skateboarding.
The movie begins in 1975 in Venice Beach, California. Local surfer Skip (Heath Ledger – Monster's Ball and The Four Feathers) decides that he wants to start a skateboarding team that will be sponsored by his surf/skate shop, Zephyr. He is a kind of legend in the Venice Beach area, so he recruits the best local skaters to be on his team. Most of the local skaters are chosen for the team except for Stacy (John Robinson – Elephant) because Skip does not think he is one of them because he has a job and has to go to work instead of skating all the time. Stacy decides to enter a skateboarding competition even though he is not on a team. He does well and wins the competition. This causes some tension between him and his friend Tony (Victor Rasuk – Raising Victor Vargas) from the Zephyrs, who wants to be recognized as the best skateboarder. Skip decides to add Stacy to the team.
The Zephyr team starts breaking into the backyards of middle-class homes (while the families are gone) and skateboarding in their empty pools. This gives them practice at challenging surfaces and inclines. The only backyard pool they cannot skate in is Sid's (Michael Angarano – Seabiscuit and Almost Famous), the only rich member of the blue collar Zephyrs and the worst skater, because his father will not allow them. Skip is mad at them for ditching practice everyday to go skating in the pools. He decides to make his own skateboards, but he has a hard time keeping up with the orders from places like Brazil and Australia.
Skateboarding is becoming very popular and many people are trying to cash in on it. At another skateboard competition, Tony is approached by the largest skateboard producers in the United States, G and S, to join their team. The rep offers Tony money and a car, while saying he is the best skateboarder. Tony talks to the other members of Zephyr and finds out they were also told the same story by G and S; this makes Tony angry because he wants to be the best. Tony, Stacy and Jay (Emile Hirsch – The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys) are on the front cover of Skateboard Magazine. The boys realize that there is a possibility to make a lot of money with skateboarding. Tony is approached by Topper Burks (Johnny Knoxville – Men in Black II and Coyote Ugly) to join his skateboarding team. Topper is rich and offers Tony a lot of money. Tony decides to leave Skip and skate with Topper's team. Topper also approaches Jay and Stacy, but they decide to stay with Skip. Stacy comes to Skip's skate shop the day after a party and finds out that everyone has left Skip and the Zephyr's team. Stacy and Jay have to now decide what they are going to do in the future.
Special DVD Features:
Includes over 4 minutes of never-before-seen footage
Original Z-Boys commentary
Director and cast commentary uncensored
Dogged on Dogtown featurette – injuries and mishaps during the filming
Music video – "Nervous Breakdown" by Rise Against
Making of Lords of Dogtown
Bails and Spills featurette
Extended Pool Session
Of Course We Want a Skateboarding Bulldog!
Deleted and extended scenes
The Ocean Washes My Hair and Make-up Test
The Making of Pacific Ocean Park
Dogtown cameo featurettes