A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids misbehave, learn some lessons, misbehave again.
Violence & Scariness
Mostly competitive, between anxious boys.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teenagers explore their sexuality, though not so explicitly.
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Some strong language.
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Products & Purchases
A theme in the movie: teenagers are contracted to promote products.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teenagers drink, smoke, use drugs.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this film includes teen smoking, drinking, drug use, foul language, sexual activity, and violence. The heroes are 1970s California rebels who essentially invent freestyle skateboarding, then confront a barrage of commercial contracts and crass promoters, instant celebrity, high stakes competitions, and insecurities among themselves. Some of the kids also deal with money problems at home, single and absent parents, and romantic pressures. One skater learns late that he's suffering from brain cancer, and his post-surgery appearance, surely gallant, may also be distressing for younger viewers. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Poised to be great, fast fun, this movie is too often slowed by clichés. The most thrilling moments in Lords of Dogtown feature skateboard wheels. More precisely, cameras mounted on and even under skateboards, so that the whirring of wheels, slamming over pavement, and hurtling headlong into air seem immediate and vital. But aside from this stunty camerawork, Catherine Hardwicke's second feature (her first was the affecting Thirteen) tells a conventional story. Based on the real life adventures of the same skaters at the center of writer Stacy Peralta's documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys, in turn based on a 1999 Spin article and Peralta's own skateboarding experiences, the fictionalized film is less about cultural resistance and wild riding in empty swimming pools than about capitulation.
The movie's most compelling question is unresolvable, as in itself it replicates the problem of selling out, by further exploiting the success of Peralta's documentary. Skip, of all people, ends up looking like the heroic holdout, broke but determined to stay true to his vision -- always ready to surf, never overwhelmed by career.
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Our Editors Recommend
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