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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Although the movie's major refrain is that the teens in this small Texas town need to do something -- anything -- with their lives (and all the better if they can leave town to do so), very few actually face this challenge or overcome those odds. Viewers see examples of characters who have failed and returned.
Positive Role Models
The main character is passive and irresponsible. He's a talented writer, though viewers rarely see him writing or making any attempt to use his talent to better his life. He'd rather work his job at Skateland and drink with his friends. When something finally happens to him, it's not because of his own doing.
Violence & Scariness
A few bullies show up from time to time and threaten violence. In one sequence, they bash in the back window of a car with a baseball bat, which results in a chase and a car crash. Eventually there's a fight sequence that includes smashing with a stick, some blood, and attempted choking.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A teen couple kisses and has sex (no nudity shown). Also lots of sexual innuendo, flirting (including one scene of homosexual flirting), and ogling of pretty girls. Though there are some strong women in this story, women are frequently treated as objects.
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Language is infrequent but strong, including several uses of "s--t" and "a--hole." Also insults like "slut," "faggot," and "queer bait."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teen characters are regularly seen smoking cigarettes, drinking all kinds of alcohol (mostly beer, as well as some scotch), and occasionally smoking pot. Nearly everyone smokes cigarettes, including adults.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this teen coming-of-age drama set in a small Texas town in the early 1980s includes many scenes of partying and teen drinking (mostly beer, but some hard liquor as well), as well as heavy cigarette smoking and a scene of pot smoking. Language is infrequent but fairly strong -- including "s--t" and "a--hole," in addition to some homosexual slurs. There's kissing and some sex, but no nudity is shown. There are also some bullies and fighting. The movie has several female characters who are beginning to assert their identities, but it also treats many other women as objects. The movie isn't particularly good, but some of the actors come from the Twilight franchise, so teens may be interested. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Anthony Burns makes his directorial debut with this aimless coming-of-age tale, which happens to be about an equally aimless hero; Ritchie never really takes any action of his own. The movie tries to capture the mood of a time and place, but instead the scenes feel arbitrary and sometimes even pointless. Even the camera never seems certain about being in the right place. Some shots appear to have been captured accidentally or randomly.
SKATELAND has an interesting sub-theme with its female characters: Ritchie's mother splits up from his dad and gets her own apartment, and his younger sister is a take-charge kind of girl. Most of these women appear to be asserting their independence for the first time, but at the same time, the movie allows its male characters to ogle and objectify other female characters. Ultimately, while some of the movie's period details don't seem quite right, it's certainly realistic. But the lesson here is that realism doesn't necessarily translate into interesting cinema.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.