Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Stacy Peralta skateboarding doc full of affectionate memories

  • Print

Skateboarding legend Stacy Peralta's latest documentary, Bones Brigade: An Autobiography, is like a high school reunion, filled with affectionate memories of an earlier, more innocent, time.

The director returns to his pro-skateboard roots, and it's clear from Peralta's comments, sprinkled through the film, that the sport and the players remain his first love. But while his breakthrough documentary, Dogtown and Z-Boys, cracked open the window on a largely unknown world in vibrant and visceral ways, Bones feels like an epilogue.

The film follows the inception and the unexpected success of the Bones Brigade, the skateboard team that would dominate the 1980s. (The '70s-era Zephyrs were Dogtown's subject.) The Brigade was cobbled together by Peralta and George Powell, an innovative skateboard maker and Peralta's business partner at the time. It was a motley crew, a collection of scrawny teenage outcasts who would go on to redefine the sport. A rail-thin, sandy-haired Tony Hawk would become the most famous, a crossover mainstream star. But the others -- Lance Mountain, Steve Caballero, Tommy Guerrero, Mike McGill and Rodney Mullen -- left deep imprints, all chronicled in the film.

Cutting between raw footage of the guys, some barely 13 at the time, trying out their nascent runs and riffs, and their much older and wiser selves, is telling. As they begin to reflect, there is a wistfulness that creeps in for those freewheeling days when they were superstars, competing and putting on exhibitions around the world.

With most interviews conducted in a room covered floor to ceiling with skateboards, one by one they sit down alone to reminisce. The first thing that strikes you is what unlikely renegades they were. Often bullied and mostly from troubled homes, none was physically imposing. The skateboard became their ticket to freedom and respect. It is compelling stuff.

But the director doesn't stay there long. Intercut is '80s-era footage of the skateboarding world -- some of the Brigade, but more of it street-level montages. The grainy, home-movie, hand-held sensibility doesn't do justice to either the kids' abilities or their daredevil moves.

Athletic excellence would keep the Bones Brigade on top of the sport for years. But it was Peralta and Powell's marketing savvy -- a gritty, street style of graphic outrage rather than the more typical boys-with-boards ads -- that would turn the team into a sensation. The documentary spends a great deal of time on those commercial moves as well as the rise and fall of skateboarding's popularity in general.

The former members of the Bones Brigade are middle-aged now. Most are married with kids; nearly all retain a link to the skateboard world with small ventures that help pay the bills. And all of them still get on a board every now and then -- which would have been a kick to see, but the documentary never goes there.

Too soon, the historical timelines, the economic ups and downs of the business, begin to feel like an intrusion. What grabs you, stays with you, is the story of the boys who would be skateboarding kings and the men who remember their brief and shining reign.

-- Los Angeles Times

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 10, 2012 G6


Updated on Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 12:55 PM CST: rearranges photo, adds fact box

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Full analysis: Manitoba Moose are back in Winnipeg

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Susan and Gary Harrisonwalk their dog Emma on a peaceful foggy morning in Assiniboine Park – Standup photo– November 27, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Bright sunflowers lift their heads toward the south east skies in a  large sunflower field on Hwy 206 and #1 Thursday Standup photo. July 31,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)

View More Gallery Photos


Will you miss the old Banana Boat building?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google