Skateland Movie and Blu-ray Review
Mon, 08.29.11 | 6:31:06 pm
edit by erictaylors
New review of Skateland and Ashley Greene’s performance! There’s also a brief non-detailed mention of the bonus features available on the Blu-ray (comes out tomorrow, August 30!):
When I walked into the Sundance Film Festival industry screening of Skateland two years ago I wasn’t expecting to walk out having seen my favorite tribute to John Hughes and utterly in love with Ashley Greene (or at least her character, Michelle Burkham). Truthfully, I expected just the opposite. Most films that try to play tribute to the ’80s end up lampooning the decade of excess rather than celebrating its eccentricities and as far as I was concerned Greene was just another pretty face capitalizing on the success of Twilight.
Skateland tells the story Ritchie Wheeler (Shiloh Fernandez) and his group of friends that live in a small town in Texas in the early ’80s. Ritchie has worked as the skating rink manager at Skateland for the last four years but with interest in roller skating fading the rink’s owner has decided to close up and sell the building. Ritchie is forced to consider a life beyond the rink, the weekend parties at Kenny Crawford’s (Taylor Handley) lakeside home and the post-high school apathy that has taken over his life.
Greene plays Michelle, the beautiful younger sister of local motocross legend Brent Burkham (Heath Freeman), who works at Musicland, decorates her bedroom with posters of The Cure and Depeche Mode, makes mixtapes from her extensive vinyl collection and wears excessive blue eye shadow. She’s also one of the few people pushing the reluctant Ritchie towards a college education. She’s independent, intelligent and, for lack of a better word, dreamy.
Having grown up on films and soundtracks of Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles and Some Kind of Wonderful I tend to by very critical of films that attempt to tap into the nostalgic atmosphere of the ’80s. Skateland does it exactly right as it features the expected archetypes but never submits to cliché. It’s the polar opposite of Topher Grace’s unbearable Take Me Home Tonight and easily outshines Sundance alum The Informers, the lifeless cinematic adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ short stories.
Sadly bonus features are limited to 30 minutes of deleted and alternate scenes that are interesting but were wisely left unused. An audio commentary from writer/director Anthony Burns and writer/producers Brandon and Heath Freeman would have been ideal.
Sadly Skateland was never given the theatrical release or publicity push that it deserved. Hopefully the Blu-ray and DVD release helps the film to find an audience. If you have any love for the ’80s, John Hughes or want to change the way you look at Ashley Greene as an actress I insist that you watch Skateland.
Skateland is available for pre-order: