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Lords of Dogtown (2005)Lords of Dogtown (2005)

This retrospective docu-drama ("inspired by a true story") was written by Stacy Peralta, one of the central characters in the film who also wrote the earlier genuine documentary called Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001). Set in Venice Beach in 1975, it follows the fortunes of three teenage surfers-turned-skateboarders who discovered the magic of attaching polyurethane wheels to the bottom of mini-surfboards: "They come from oil, and they grip. You can ride on walls." The film has very little plot or character development, a lot of drugs and alcohol, and the dialogue seldom moves beyond verbal towel-snapping, but there is enjoyable footage of these "wood-pushers" careening on car tops, weaving between traffic, carving empty swimming pools, hitching on the rear bumpers of buses, and competing in the first national skateboard competitions. This film hardly rises to the quality of what Riding Giants did for surfing, but it still provokes some interesting questions about how a small group of stoned beach bums who were greatly disenfranchised from mainstream society jump-started what is now a billion dollar industry complete with X-Games on ESPN.

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