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Dogtown and Z-Boys /

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Peggy Oki, Shogo Kubo, Wentzle Ruml, Allen Sarlo, Jeff Ho 

Directed by: Stacy Peralta 

Produced by: Agi Orsi, Jay Wilson 

Written by: Craig Stecyk, Stacy Peralta 

Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics


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Movie Image
Movie Image

     Documentaries are normally boring, bland, and informative; in a bad way. I abhor them. There is nothing more uninteresting to me than sitting in a dark room watching actual history come out of a projector. This is probably why I dislike the critically acclaimed Gladiator. Though Gladiator is a work that I am not fond of, most films “Based on a True Story” never bother me. Dogtown and Z-Boys is different. It has something that appeals to everyone. Skateboarding. Whether you are a fan of the sport or not, I am definitely not, the “Z-Boys” are interesting enough to make a quality documentary. What is more fun than watching people break the rules? Nothing.

     Recent films like Jackass have tried to accomplish just such, but have not succeeded. When watching Dogtown and Z-Boys, we know that it is entirely real. Sure, Jackass is full of stupid guys, doing dumb stunts; but the skaters in this documentary had no one behind them when they were caught permitting illegal activity or even breaking bones. This information is rather obvious, but the way the movie is made ensues this even more. We see the old grainy, hand-held footage, old-style clothing, and macho, care-free lifestyle of when it was filmed. Along with the old footage comes new. We get to see how all of the “Z-Boys” made out, and what “Dogtown” looks like in present day. Everything is entertaining and informative.

     The narration is done by actor Sean Penn. He provides something very important to the films tone – a stern and steady sense of calmness. What the “Z-Boys” did was obnoxious, naive, and ridiculed. To make the movie work and think like a documentary, the material had to be dealt with in a less wild manor. Penn’s lines are not used avidly, but when he speaks the information is very helpful, and goes along with the video well. The though outlandish, highly dangerous, and not to mention illegal activities are not only fun to watch, but give some rather valuable background information on two of the most popular leisurely pastimes in today’s society, surfing and skating. Most of us hate the obnoxious and rebelling skaters today, but to see their history is actually quite intriguing, and can be very valuable as well as insightful.

     For a beautiful, new, and unique style of making documentaries; Dogtown and Z-Boys. We get a fresh new insight on a sport that our country has grown to be accustomed to. The insightful interviews with the members of “Dogtown” and exhilarating skating videos are even at times inspiring. The beautifully done narration goes along with the prestigious story well. Dogtown and Z-Boys will never bore, and that’s the great thing about it. These days, it is crucial when making a documentary, to use watchable footage. Many critics scowled upon In the Praise of Love because of how boring they thought it was extremely flat. If a film company wants their stuff to sell, they must make all of the material used in a mainstream way. Sony Pictures Classics’ and the “Z-Boys” do just this.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews


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