Heath Ledger, Lords of Dogtown
Credit: The Lords of Dogtown: Jamie Trueblood

How do you tell Mozart he needs a script doctor? The Z-Boys (the skateboarding team run out of Skip Engblom’s Zephyr surf shop of ”Dogtown,” in the Venice section of L.A.) are the maestro-level pioneers/gods of hardcore skating; as such, their ethic has always been hubristic. One of their number, Stacy Peralta, co-wrote and directed the excellent 2001 documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys, whose success convinced him to try his hand at writing Lords of Dogtown, a feature. Director Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen) achieves a rich and authentic look and the actors totally shred, but giving Peralta a Salieri might have avoided decisions like making the hapless composite character who sweeps up the shop the film’s emotional center. EXTRAS Prodigious. Several featurettes lay out all the gnarly trauma (including Hardwicke’s fractured orbital bone) visited upon the crew by drained swimming pools, and Philippe Dussol and Lance Mountain’s rad skate cam techniques get their due in the making-of. A commentary with Hardwicke and the leads is awash with dudes and kooks. In his commentary alongside Peralta, Z-Boy Tony Alva reflects his crew’s exalted but off-kilter attitude by identifying one scene as ”old-school Shakespeare type of stuff.”

Lords of Dogtown
  • Movie
  • 106 minutes