Saturday, April 10, 2010

Skateland- He said

It seems that culturally speaking, the time is hot to strike the iron that are the “coming of age” movies. Sure they have been around for a while, but it seems that this decade’s young people are as hopelessly lost and confused about life. Films like Garden State, SLC Punk, and most recently Adventureland are obvious examples of movies similar to Skateland. This is the work director Anthony Burns; he wrote this script with Brandon Freeman, and it seems to be slightly autobiographical events in their lives. It stars Shiloh Fernandez as Ritchie, Ashley Greene as Michelle, and Heath Freeman as Brent. This movie follows Ritchie as his life changes beginning with his job Skateland. He is consistently plagued with the fact that he has no clue on what to do by those near him.

The movie starts of with Ritchie, Michelle, and her older brother Brent goes to a party thrown by their friend Taylor. You get a good sense of the kind of people that they are through their interactions, and you can immediately start caring for them. We learn that Ritchie is a writer who has no ambition to leave his comfortable town. The movie really gets going with Teddy, Ritchie’s boss, telling him about Skateland’s sale. This is one of many events that will test his resolve. A lot of the time he spends doing nothing, or drinking beers with Taylor and Brent, or driving around. Michelle and his sister keep pushing Ritchie to go away and make something of himself. Speaking of his family, Brett Cullen, who plays his father David, did superb as a father that is going through a rough patch, but genuinely loves the kids, and their scenes are some of the best.

As a small town 1980’s tale in Texas, the comparison to Dazed and Confused will arise. Don’t make this mistake; one is a straight up comedy, whereas this is a drama with funny parts thrown in. The only common thread is both of these movies have a great attention to detail to recreate the feel of the decade. I felt immediately immersed in this decade as soon as the movie started. As someone noted in the Q&A, they did a great job as well o recreating the constant noise of animals that inhabit East Texas. The movie is also beautifully shot; the way certain scenes were filmed and edited, makes me want to rewatch the movie to experience it again. The movie goes into dangerous cliché territory in certain situations towards the second half of the film, but it never gets there, instead it creates tension that makes you care for these characters. I know that for one scene in particular my heart was pounding for their situation that to me is the sign of a great movie.

Overall Skateland might feel like familiar territory to some, but it is a well written and beautifully shot movie that deserves all the hype that is has been getting. Unfortunately there were only two screenings for it this weekend, but I’m confident it will be released soon. Well worth a premiere night admission ticket.

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