Review: Skateland (Sundance)
PLOT: In a small town in the early eighties, the closing of the local roller-disco causes the nineteen-year-old rink manager, and his friends, to re-examine their lives.
REVIEW: SKATELAND is a fairly sweet coming of age drama/ eighties nostalgia piece, that has more than a few similarities to films like THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, AMERICAN GRAFFITI, and ADVENTURELAND. While its certainly not operating on the same level as those films, I nevertheless found myself becoming awfully fond of SKATELAND as the film went on.
Part of it probably has to do with the fact that I love the eighties. Sure, it was a nightmare for fashion, but it was also the decade I was born in (81 to be exact), so the nostalgia part of the film hit pretty hard. My fellow fans of the decade will find a lot to like here, from the retro Apple Commodore used by the hero, to the kick-ass soundtrack, featuring some of my favorite acts of the era, including The Police, Joy Division, and a particularly memorable use of Electric Avenue.
Its just a fun, pleasant film, which was a sharp contrast to some of the heavier films I saw at the fest. The talented young cast, led by Shiloh Fernandez, and Ashley Greene is extremely likable, which is extremely important for a film like this. Ive never heard of Fernandez, but he makes a solid lead. As for TWILIGHT-er Ashley Greene, I thought she was a wee bit too drop dead gorgeous to be playing a character thats supposed to be a wallflower, but, alas, this is a movie- where everyone gets to be beautiful. Shes does solid work, proving that Kristen Stewarts not the only TWILIGHT alum with acting chops.
However, the big standout in the cast had to be Heath Freeman, who plays Greenes older brother. Hes the small-town hero that everyone looks up to (that naturally, isnt all he seems), and hes excellent. Freeman also co-wrote the film, so he probably saved the best role for himself. Imagine Matthew McConaughey, in DAZED & CONFUSED- minus the scumbag factor, and youve got a good idea of the type of character Freemans playing.
Hopefully, SKATELAND will be able to ride enough buzz out of Sundance to secure distribution, as I think a lot of my fellow Joblo schmoes would dig this in a big way. Time will tell, but if you get the chance, give this fun little flick a try. You wont be sorry.
Additional Sundance reviews: CATFISH - THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT - ANIMAL KINGDOM - FROZEN - WELCOME TO THE RILEYS - SYMPATHY FOR DELICIOUS - BLUE VALENTINE - BURIED - HOLY ROLLERS - TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL - THE RUNAWAYS - HESHER- HIGH SCHOOL- JACK GOES BOATING- THE KILLER INSIDE ME - CYRUS - HAPPYTHANKYOUMOREPLEASE - NOWHERE BOY - MOTHER AND CHILD - GET LOW
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