ARGUABLY THE BEST SKATE VIDEO OF ALL TIME
Whilst thinking of new articles for the site - pondering which legends to interview and writing important theses about subjects that matter the most in skateboarding we have often talked about reviewing videos. Unfortunately with the near perpetual release of new clips, a review always seems out of date before it's even written. How to combat that? Write a review about a film that was released 27 years ago.
With that in mind, I asked the most evil person I have ever met (Anton Glass) and the kindest softest 40 year old you'll ever meet (Leighton Dyer) to review the 1986 classic, Thrashin'.
This timeless film never gets old and requires at least annual viewing to fully understand all of its intricacies, so can surely only be legitimately reviewed now that it's 2014.
NB: Leighton watches this film religiously so wrote his beautiful words from memory whilst sipping on an ice cold coconut water. Anton however had never seen it until he was forced to review. He sat down with a crack pipe and a pirated copy whilst begrudgingly moving his destructive hateful thoughts from his deranged mind onto paper.
Foreword by Alex Dyer.
Leighton James Dyer reviews Thrashin'
Skateboarding videos are losing their roots of late. It’s true there’s some incredible skating in this era but something is missing. And that little something is raw, passionate, gifted acting.
Way before hitting the big time with the 1995 classic, Codename Silencer and then the 2003 blockbuster, Welcome to Ibiza, hot-shot director David Winter was working on what would later be described as his magnum opus, the late 80s art-house gem, Thrashin’.
This critically aclaimed work of art originally hit the theatres in 1986 - opening to tremendous box office success. Although his earlier work was largely ignored, Thrashin’ starring a young Josh Brolin and Sherilyn Fenn helped launch David Winter into the mainstream with a skateboarding/love story/film-noir/drama loosely based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
Now just to paint a picture of Chrissy, although Hook’s sister, she is not a Dagger. She is visiting LA from Indiana for summer so she doesn’t really look like the rest of the gang and the girls associated with this crew of skallywags.
One evening, after spending a few passionate hours with Chrissy, Corey is skating home when he is confronted by the Daggers gang. He knows he’s in big trouble and is chased through the city and some car-parks all to an excellent soundtrack (Wild in the Streets by The Circle Jerks). He barely escapes, and after practically killing a few members of the Daggers gang as they fall four stories off a car-park, he jumps on the roof of a bus and somehow avoids the few remaining living gang members who want his Valley blood.
This scene truly sums up skateboarding in an era – love, punk, gangs, death, downhills, squirrels and buses.
Clearly the Daggers are furious at the near loss of their gang-members and are out for revenge. So in perfect skateboarder fashion they burn down Corey’s friends’ (the Ramp Locals) half-pipe.
Hook challenges the hero Corey to a joust at a nearby drainage ditch. Hook boldly demands, “BE THERE”. To which a very young and overly confident whippersnapper from the Ramp Locals says, “NO YOU BE THERE”. Of course Hook quickly snaps, “SHUT UP YOU LITTLE PUNK” to the valiant young scamp.
The following evening The Ramp locals apprehensively accept their fate and head to the Joust. The joust is something we as skateboarders experience daily, but to the layman this spectacle must have been terrifying. A haunting picture of eerie mist coupled with flames, glowsticks and the faces of a hundred gothic skaters armed with what can only be described as clubs, going head to head in a terribly dangerous display of masculinity. Bear witness as Christian Hosoi and Steve Olson cheer on Hook as he ridicules the clearly out-classed Corey. Tragically, our hero is injured in this battle and has his arm is broken as the police arrive to move on the delinquents. He is traumatised that the LA Massacre is now looking more and more unlikely with only a few days to prepare :'( Tears.
Half way through her journey home Chrissy jumps off the bus and decides to hitch-hike back to LA. She’s had a change of heart. Showing a bit of leg gets her back in no time.
Looking as gorgeous as ever, we see Chrissy making her way to the finish line as Corey climbs further and further towards the front of the pack. Only Hook is in his way now as the two men tackle each corner with precision and grace. They inch past one another at almost equal speeds as they near the finish line. Hook, with one last dastardly and unsportsmanlike attempt, tries to push Corey off - but instead flies off the side of the mountain in despair. Simultaneously and victoriously Corey hits a giant jump ramp and tweaks a frontside early grab at 63 miles per hour to win the race. It’s a truly a beautiful sight as he crosses the finish line into his Ramp Locals impromptu crowd surf and is instantly offered a pro sponsorship on Smash Skates. He literally wins Chrissy back and finally gains respect from Hook who shakes his hand and offers his sister up to him like a piece of meat. The end.
Anton Glass reviews Thrashin'
The question is, when did it get shit and whose fault is it, the obvious and to a degree correct answer, is either 1992 and Rick Howard or 1998 and Jamie Thomas. However I’d like to suggest that an even more correct answer is the 29th of August 1986 and Thrashin’.
As well as making skating look rubbish it also introduced the understandably resilient idea that being a gay and a skateboarder was essentially the same thing. Which sounds great but this is not the cool, sucking cocks, boshing loads of drugs, having a great body kind of gay but the GAY, liking girls, crying and just trying to have fun on your skateboard because that’s all that matters kind of gay.
The daggers are the bad guys, essentially for no reasons other than their refusal to hide their sexuality and their love of leather, their hair and flexing at the beach. They live in a typical skate house with a community vibe that seems to be based upon the Manson family, except instead of killing minor celebrities their group activity of choice is busting ballet based contorted airs off of day-glo launch ramps.
Rocco metaphorically burnt all of the vert ramps in the world and everyone loved him for it. A while after this the Anti-hero team burnt a fun box (the vert ramp of fake street obstacles) and everyone (except a few europeans, germans at that AKA the embarrassment of Europe) loved them too.
Incidentally this gang of coked up gaylords is aptly played by the Alva team, in the course of my research for this piece I discovered that shockingly Alva is still “a thing”, if anyone reading this knows Rocco could you ask him to come back for 10 minutes just to take care of the unfinished business of putting this always shit company down.
But anyway, thats the set up. Daggers are Bad.
If, in this essentially anti-skateboarding film, we accept that the Daggers (badly) represent the dangerous non conformist, individualistic side of early californian skateboarding Corey basically represents the religious american right WOOH TEAMSPORTS side because he’s A/ a closet case trans person B/ he’s a fucking cock and C/ he’s a fat-faced, vain, crybaby.
We hear about him before we see him, the almost monastic chanting of his name that opens the film is clearly trying to evoke comparisons between him and many of the other great messiahs of history E.G Tom Cruise, Mickey mouse and Hitler.
The boys want to be him and the girls want to fuck him, some kids want to fuck him too.. but he’s more into fucking the kids that don’t (like most of the people that like this film all of Corey's friends are twinky little boys half his age), this is all subtext that only the experienced viewer will spot but it is definitely real, not just in my head at all.
The following scene shows Corey checking his hair out in the mirror as the camera pans ominously across a series of post it notes left by his mum, “be careful at the LA downhill” in particular setting a mood of dread that i haven't felt the like of since I watched the shining on ketamine..
I’m pretty sure this was what the film was originally supposed to be and if only they’d stuck to this plan they may have actually ended up with an ok film but for whatever reason the director fucks this idea off and despite giving the audience the idea it will be tricky for Corey to get to LA his journey there is then covered by a three minute sequence where he rolls slowly down one mellow hill, does 3 powerslides, 2 bomb drops and pats the same girl in a different outfit on the arse twice.
More flirting, stick based foreplay in a ditch, some kind of a race, I asked her her name she said blah, blah, blah etc.
Nope. The director completely dispenses with the occasionally tiresome but somewhat necessary devices of exposition and story telling, replacing them with either minor members of the cast repeatedly shouting what is happening or about to happen or neon graffiti quite literally spelling it out.
I have now proved that every aspect of this film is of a low quality and an insult to every skateboarder, the guy that discovered the camera and whichever cavemen respectively invented walking and talking. But hey, maybe its still worthwhile because it has a great message that we all need to hear to make sense of our existence in these complex and confusing times? The message of Thrashin’ is if you're not happy with the corporate takeover of skating, support your local shop and the companies that are run by skaters for skater.. oh wait..My bad. That isn’t the message of Thrashin', it's the message of every fucking article thats been written about skating for the last 3 years.
The actual message of Thrashin’ is that skateboarders are much like the gangs of adolescent chimpanzees that take on rival groups by fighting their leaders, stealing their women, ufkcing their babies and chucking shit around, oh no, that isn't the message of Thrashin’ either, thats what i realise every time I go on any major skateboard internet forum.
Much like the Kabbalah, the Bible or the Koran the actual message of Thrashin' is too complex and frankly too fucking stupid to be condensed into one throwaway line but if it could be i strongly feel that that line would be “That wild indian look... is stylin’”.
TLDR summary. It’s shit. Do not see.
Oh, one more thing...