Kill the Engine

I Finally Watched 'Street Dreams'

By Michael Sieben

Last week I tried to watch Street Dreams only to find out that I had mistaken the title for a Christian propaganda film titled Hardflip. If you want to read a review of that movie, click here. If you want a review of Street Dreams, trudge onward.

As I mentioned in last week's review, I'll pretty much watch any movie that has skateboarding in it. I had assumed that Street Dreams might be the worst in the boarding genre, but surprisingly I actually enjoyed the film. Sure, it has its faults; the acting is poor, the storyline is predictable, the soundtrack is horrendous, the motion graphics at the end of the film don't stylistically match any other aspect of the movie... stuff like that. Nevertheless, I totally liked the movie. Why?

Unlike most movies that incorporate skateboarding into the storyline, Street Dreams has actual skateboarders playing the roles of the main characters, which means all of the stunts were performed by the actors instead of stunt doubles in bad wigs. This probably doesn't matter to most viewers, but if you actively participate in skateboarding, then you know there's nothing worse than watching some bozo do a limp mongo push toward a ledge only to cut to an actual skateboarder performing a delicate dance on top of it. The angles are always wrong in these scenarios, too, because you have to make sure the athlete's face is obscured, so you usually wind up with a butt shot or a foot-fetish scenario.

At some point during the film I realized that the only reason I thought I'd hate it is because I'm secretly jealous of most of the dudes in it. The majority of the skaters/actors in the film found a way to capitalize on their skate stardom and turn their subculture fame into successful mainstream revenue outlets. Some people refer to that as "selling out." I refer to it as, "Good job being a smart person."

One of my main complaints with the movie probably has a lot to do with the fact that I'm a dad. The main character, Derreck Cabrera (played by Paul Rodriguez), is an up-and-coming skateboarder who is fucking up in every other aspect of his life that doesn’t involve riding a skateboard. He's failing out of school, he's having issues with truancy, he gets arrested for trespassing, and he is constantly making his momma cry. And for what? To win fifth place at Tampa Am. Can anybody out there name a skateboarder who placed fifth at Tampa Am off the top of their heads? No? Exactly. I understand that in order to have an underdog story you need to come from humble beginnings and achieve the impossible, but fifth place? It just seems kind of depressing instead of impossible.

My only other major complaint with the movie was the soundtrack. It seems like Hardflip and Street Dreams both consulted the same youth culture consulting firm when deciding what type of music best accompanies skateboarding. The answer? Limp Bizkitesque garbage. I think more young skateboarders are listening to Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin these days than this type of crap. But I’m guessing there are a lot of hoops you have to jump through when making a movie, and if old white dudes who fund movies want kids to skate to rap-rock on the big screen, then that's how it is, I suppose. It's still painful though.

So, in conclusion: my apologies to rap-rock, I'm sorry that your genre is so crappy. And I'm sorry that I'm jealous of P-Rod's diamond earrings and flawless nose grinds. The End.

Previously - I Finally Watched Hardflip

 

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