Better known as a filmmaker nowadays, with acclaimed films like Dogtown and Z-Boys and Riding Giants under his belt, former Z-Boy and Skateboarding Hall of Fame inductee Stacey Peralta brings us his latest project based on his historic mentorship of some of skateboarding’s greatest innovators, Bones Brigade: An Autobiography. A decade after the now seminal Dogtown, and after being pestered by the Brigade members for a Bones Brigade film for almost the same amount of time, Peralta has finally delivered a follow up showing the 1980`s segment of his skateboarding career that saw him move behind the scenes and put young stars in the spotlight.
Bones Brigade: An Autobiography
Starring: Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero, Rodney Mullen, Lance Mountain, Mike McGill, Tommy Guerrero, Tony Alva, George Powell, Christian Hosoi and Stacey Peralta.
Directed by Stacey Peralta
Shortly after retiring from competition, Peralta teamed with business partner George Powell to form Powell-Peralta skateboards in 1980, and wanted to develop a team to be the faces of the brand as opposed to just bringing in already established pros like the other companies were doing. Bone’s first recruit was Caballero, Cab for short, the feisty 12 year-old kid was small in stature who could skate like no one’s business. Over the years the Brigade would inflate to up to 30 members at a time, but the group was mainly known due to its core 6, the kids that starred in the videos and movies that were produced by Peralta and even Hollywood fare like Gleaming the Cube and Police Academy 4. Tony Hawk, Mike McGill, Lance Mountain, Rodney Mullen and Tommy Guerrero make up the rest of these six, some of the best skaters ever. Hawk is the most successful skater in history, McGill the inventor of the McTwist, and Mullen the most dominating freestyle skater of all time and the innovator of the street Ollie. And while no slouches themselves, Mountain is the heart of the group with Guerrero being the goofy younger brother. Peralta spends most of his time with the fascinating stories of Mullen, Mountain and Hawk, with Mountain and Mullen’s stories proving the most intriguing.
Mountain is indeed one of the biggest personalities and the heart of the group, a decent skater who became famous due to his appearance in the early Bones Brigade Video Show, a video cassette that sold more than 30,000 copies. Mountain’s spends most of the film still in awe that he was ever included on the team, wearing his emotions on his sleeve, and ends the film on the verge of tears recalling the end of the team. Mullen relays the story of his father and his constant struggle against him to be allowed not just to compete but skate in general. Mullen dominated competitions, going undefeated for years, but he burns out on competition and leaves the scene all together. Mullen is constantly referred to as the oddball of the team, but while Lance may have been the heart of the team, Mullen is the heart of this film. Tony Hawk’s legendary battles against rival Team Alva’s Christian Hosoi are also documented and the film talks about how Hawk was hated by the hardcore skate crowd and actually spit on after winning. This leads to a sabbatical for Hawk in which Mullen of all people helps him work through. The six become mega stars after, what Peralta now calls the amateurish, Search for Animal Chin movie. This goofy little film led to more TV and movie offers for the Bones crew that would land them everywhere.
Bones Brigade the film ditches the narration style of Dogtown and plays out exactly as the title of the film would dictate, an autobiography. Having the members themselves tell the stories and history of the team instead a narrator makes the project more personal a film for all involved. Everyone comes off well here but its Mountain and Mullen who steal the show, their stories until now have been the least known to the public eye. Mullen deserves a documentary/biopic of his own as his struggles with his traditional father steering him away from skateboarding and his eventual perseverance is the stuff of Hollywood. Hopefully the eventual DVD release will feature more of both these stories. It’s Mountain and Cabellero that get emotional about the end of the group, with Cab being the only skater who never left Powell.
A suitable and solid follow up to Dogtown and Z-Boys, Stacey Peralta has crafted himself another winner here. In many ways the film is much more personal and involving that Dogtown, Bones Brigade is a more personal portrait and the amount of credit that is doled out to the deserving yet modest Peralta would explain his hesitance to the project for so many years. A Must See for Dogtown fans, yet still highly accessible for those who haven’t, Bones Brigade: An Autobiography is definite recommend.
4 out of 5 stars
Bones Brigade: An Autobiography starts an exclusive engagement at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema on Friday November 30th, for further information check out their online schedule.
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