How I'm just now discovering this movie, I have no idea. And I guess I'm not just now discovering it...I've actually been wanting to check it out for a while but I've never been able to find it. And in fact, I haven't really put much effort into finding it. Well last night I ran into Wal-Mart to buy some yogurt and there was a display of DVDs on sale for $5 next to the cash register. One of them was Lords of Dogtown. Naturally, I bought it. And I'm so glad I did! And I'm so sad it's taken me 5 years to finally see it! I really loved it. Released in 2005, the film is based on the story of "The Z-Boys", an influential group of skateboarders who revolutionized the sport in the 70s in Venice Beach, California.
It might be a story about skateboarders, but underneath that facade, there is a story about a group of adolescents who want more than what is being offered to them. They want more than what their parents have to offer them. They want to help their parents out. And some of them just want to prove to their parents that they're more than what they think they are. They really just wanted to be treated better. They may go about that in all the worst possible ways, but you can feel them reaching for more. The group starts out as friends, become a skate team and are thrust into the spotlight, then with the pressures of money and fame, the friendships crumble. So many times in real life this same story is played out. Fame and money can make or break you. You can remain the same person you always were or you can let it change you. But there is always a chance to find your roots again and that's what this group of kids do. They realize what's important when their friend and fellow-skater becomes sick. They put the past behind them and come back together to be there for a friend. To be friends. To enjoy the things they've always enjoyed together. In a sense, to skate. But to also reconnect and love each other.
I'm happy to have this movie in my ever-growing DVD collection. I feel like it's one I'll watch often. And I can easily say that this is probably one of my favorite performances of Heath Ledger's. By far.