Skateboard ★★★

An obvious attempt to make a cash grab on the the hype of the skateboard and surfing scene of 1970's Southern California- This film has absolutely no right being as entertaining as it is - but don't credit that to the filmmakers by any means - this film works because of the genuine charm the young and inexperienced actors and skaters bring to the screen. For a movie with a lot of technical problems ans a lackluster script - the faces on the screen save it from disaster.

The story focuses on an out of luck Hollywood Agent named Manny Bloom (played by Allen Garfield of GET CRAZY and PUTNEY SWOPE fame) who is drowning in debt - making him a target for loan sharks and investors alike. Finding himself in a situation where he needs to pay off $20,000 to a local loan shark by by the end of the month, he takes a shot at representing a local skateboarding team by putting on expositions and trick shows. While taking charge of these misfits children and teens- his bitter nature begins to soften as they begin to form a family bond and sense of belonging - making Manny seem like more of an "uncle" figure than a manager. This bond gets put to the test however when he decides to enter the team into a down hill race that could win him the $20,000 that he so desperately needs... but at what cost?

Shot on a shoe-string budget - mostly without permits - in the heart of Southern California's beach scene- the film is riddled with technical issues such as visible boom mikes, continuity errors, extras staring directly into the camrea, etc. But what makes this film work is the chemistry of Allen Garflield and the skate team, consisting of future teen idol Leif Garrett and real life Z-BOY Skate Legend Tony Alva. Rumor has it that Garfield himself directed and coached the young actors and encouraged improvisation as most couldn't remember their lines. Filmmaking issues aside - the film serves as a memento of skateboard history as we see many scenes of both recreated and stock footaged skateboarding events that are must see's for skating enthusiasts. All in all, I had a great time with this nostalgic look at the skateboarding days gone by and Allen Garfields terrific performance! Check it out.

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