Monday, October 10, 2016

Skateboard (1978)



Cheap-looking, derivative, and superficial, Skateboard borrows myriad elements from The Bad News Bears (1976), but fails to mimic that picture’s nuanced characterizations. Instead, Skateboard tells a drab seriocomic story about a shady talent representative exploiting talented teenagers. And because cowriter/director George Gage uses lengthy scenes of kids performing skateboard tricks to pad the movie’s running time, he’s in the exploitation business, too—he seems to believe that fans of skateboarding should be satisfied with any old movie containing ramp rides and walking-the-dog routines. The cast mostly comprises unskilled juvenile actors, abrasive character actor Allen Garfield plays the leading role. He’s a poor substitute for Bad News Bears star Walter Matthau. Whereas Matthau leavened his cantankerous characterization with glimmers of empathy, Garfield spends so much time hurling invective at his costars that he’s unpleasant to watch. And at the risk of body-shaming, he looks like a predator when he’s surrounded by gleaming California kids, seeing as how he’s a pasty blob of a man with a horrific combover. The gist of the piece is that low-rent agent Manny Bloom (Garfield) owes money to a crook, so when he spots kids skateboarding in his neighborhood, he abruptly forms a team called the Los Angeles Wheels. Predictable complications ensue. Star athlete Jason (Richard Van der Wyk) rebels, an injury sidelines another player, and Manny has trouble keeping the kids under control while traveling. Eventually, he hires an attractive nurse, Millicent (Kathleen Lloyd), resulting in a dubious romantic subplot. Underscoring the tedium is lots of shrill pop/rock music, with several songs shrieked by future Jefferson Starship vocalist Mickey Thomas.

Skateboard: LAME

1 comment:

SLO AV said...

I remember seeing this at the Culver Theater with a full house of blonde skater types. Twas the time of the season... I thought it sucked then too, but it was topical at least.