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Waiting for Lightning
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Waiting for Lightning is a documentary about pro skateboarder Danny Way. It includes some horrible scenes of crashes and injuries, as well as stories about violent incidents in Way's past involving his mother's boyfriends. His mother confesses to a period of excessive drinking and drugs, and viewers see "dramatic recreation" footage of this. Language is sparse, with interviewees using "s--t" four times, and Danny saying "f--k" once after a wipeout. Corporate sponsors, especially DC Shoes and Monster energy drink, are prevalent. The movie's biggest drawback is that it doesn't actually interview Way himself, so this is for die-hard fans only. Others would do better to check out the more inspirational Bones Brigade.
What's the story?
During the days leading up to his monumental skateboard jump over the Great Wall of China in 2005, WAITING FOR LIGHTNING tells the story of skateboarder Danny Way. Born in Vista, Calif., Way's childhood was plagued by the death of his father, the departure of his beloved stepfather, his mother's series of violent boyfriends, his brother's serious injury, and other troubles. He found escape and success through skateboarding, inventing more and more elaborate stunts and building bigger and bigger ramps. It all leads up to the huge, potentially record-breaking, potentially deadly Great Wall jump. Will he make it?
Is it any good?
Rosenberg's filmmaking is as pedestrian as it comes. He slickly combines dramatic music, heavily edited talking heads, photos, silly dramatic re-creations, and some "cool"-looking skateboard footage. The construction is more like a TV reality show than a work of journalism or personal exploration; it's meant to keep you tuned in without actually revealing anything. The presence of skaters Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen only serves as a reminder of how good a documentary like Bones Brigade is by comparison.
"I cannot even imagine what was going through his mind," one interviewee says. Neither can anyone else, because WAITING FOR LIGHTNING director Jacob Rosenberg never really interviews Danny Way in person. The other interviewees speak breathlessly about his bravery and skills but rarely about his humanity. As a result, Way comes across like a cipher -- slightly aloof and distant, slightly reckless and stubborn, and not much like the role model he's painted to be.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Waiting for Lightning's violent crashes and accidents. What makes skateboarders push themselves so hard in such a dangerous sport?
Did the movie inspire you to do push yourself toward a specific goal? Is that goal related to skating or some other activity or sport? Can this attitude be applied to other things in life?
Does Danny Way seem like a role model for kids or teens?
- In theaters: December 7, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: March 5, 2013
- Cast: Danny Way, Rodney Mullen, Tony Hawk
- Director: Jacob Rosenberg
- Studio: Samuel Goldwyn Company
- Genre: Documentary
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: dangerous sports action, some language and thematic material involving drugs and alcohol
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.