July 21, 2017


22° C, Partly cloudy

Full Forecast

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect


Advertise With Us

Stacy Peralta skateboarding doc full of affectionate memories

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 9/11/2012 (1714 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

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


Advertise With Us


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

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. 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 January 2015.

Photo Store

Scroll down to load more