Dogtown And Z-Boys
An exhilarating crowd-pleaser, Dogtown And Z-Boys documents the history of the Zephyr team, a gang of gifted outlaws who revolutionized skateboarding in the '70s. Rising out of the ruins of some of Southern California's most dangerous neighborhoods, Team Zephyr helped elevate skateboarding from a fad and fringe leisure activity into a multimillion-dollar industry, art form, and thriving culture, becoming countercultural icons in the process. Directed by Stacy Peralta, himself a Zephyr team member (or Z-Boy), Dogtown does a skillful job of situating the rise of the team within a specific time and place. Veterans of Southern California's surfing scene, the skateboarding revolutionaries of Dogtown come mainly from lower-middle-class broken homes where opportunities were limited. Bored and restless, they found a sense of identity and solidarity in the Zephyr team, a tight-knit gang of outcasts who behaved less like athletes than rock stars or attitude-driven gang members. Iconoclasts who essentially created modern skateboarding, Team Zephyr eventually came to epitomize the sport for much of the world, and Dogtown And Z-Boys gets off on the giddy excitement of kids making history while inventing the rules as they go along. A surprisingly stiff Sean Penn provides the film's awkward narration, but what drives Dogtown isn't its straightforward chronology or its conventional mix of interviews and narration. Instead, it works because of the glorious footage of the skateboarders themselves, as well as crisp, propulsive editing and cinematography that delights in the kinetic thrust of world-class skateboarders taking pleasure in their own prowess. Documentary filmmaking at its most joyous and accessible, Dogtown And Z-Boys is so much fun that its considerable worth as history and sociology seems almost incidental.