I was lucky enough to worm my way into the Philadelphia premier of Stacey Peralta’s Bones Brigade documentary last night and I’m happy to report the film does not disappoint. Much like Dogtown and Z-boys, it’s insightful, funny and sometimes touching, with in-depth interviews of all the major players, but focusing heavily story-wise on Hawk, Mullen, Lance and Stacey’s guidance in general. It does a good job capturing the feeling of that decade, the excitement surrounding that team and just the joy of skateboarding and progression in general.
I’ll be honest – as a child and skater of the 80’s, this film was pretty much tailored for my generation so of course, I am somewhat biased, as watching the old footage brought back waves of nostalgia for sure. My first board was a Lance Mountain mini and I can vividly remember my friends and I watching Animal Chin and Public Domain over and over again. I went to the demos in ’88 and ’89 and saw the madness for myself. I was a full on fan. So I would definitely be interested in hearing someone’s take on it who is younger and not necessarily into skateboarding.
And although the movie was well done, my only criticisms were these: I was a little surprised they didn’t mention their artist, VCJ, who easily created some of the most memorable and long lasting board graphics of all time (the Hawk skull, Mullen chessboard, Cab’s dragon, the Bones logo, etc. etc.) and was a major part of the success and impact of the brand. Also, they really glossed over the downfall of Powell-Peralta, crediting their first demise entirely to Stacey quitting, with no mention of Mullen and Vallely leaving to create World Industries with Steve Rocco and the company war that soon followed. Given Peralta’s dual role as both participant and director in the film, it sometimes comes off as a propaganda piece (no pun intended), and a one sided account of how great a mentor Stacey was and how amazing a company Powell-Peralta was. Very little to no criticism whatsoever – which leaves you wondering what the film would have looked like had a different director been behind the lens. (to be fair though, the film is billed as “an autobiograhy”, and, because it was Stacey doing the interviews, the riders were generally extremely open and candid about their feelings toward that time in their lives. Their guard obviously left down, I was a bit shocked at the number of tears shed throughout the film. I’m not sure another director could’ve gotten that much out of the crew.)
And I’m not sure why the Philly crowd was booing Shepard Fairy but cheering for Fred Durst? No need to hate on Shepard because of his success. And why was Fred Durst in the film?
Anyway, minor criticisms aside – definitely make a point to check the film out this fall when it gets the official movie theater release. For all the ground it covers, it’s’ really well done and worth checking out. I personally can’t wait to see it again.