Every once in a while, this blog has led me to a few hidden gems to discover for myself. While I aimed to track down and fill in the gaps on classic films, I also hoped to find some that would go into my rotation of comfort films. And thanks to Olive Films, I think I’ve found just one of those movies in David Winters’ 1986 ode to skate boarding, THRASHIN’.
Growing up in a small town, I was drawn in by skate boarding culture. Sadly, I was extremely uncoordinated and clumsy, something I still suffer from. But I dug the outsider nature that the town’s skaters had, and THRASHIN’ immediately took me back to that. In a town full of cowboys and jocks, my friends were The Goonies on four tiny wheels with plenty of grip tape and attitude. Sadly, I moved away to the actual town of The Goonies where it rained so much that no one could skate despite having some killer hills to downhill on. While my friends kept that same outsider attitude, I didn’t realize that I missed that thrill of vicariously enjoying then pull off an amazing trick they’ve been working on for a while.
THRASHIN’ starts off with Josh Brolin as Corey Webster, heading to LA from the Valley, to participate in the biggest skate competition around, The LA Massacre. Meeting up with his friends, The Ramp Locals, he prepares for the competition and enjoys the splendor of Dogtown. Along the way, he earns the ire from local skate toughs The Daggers led by Tommy Hook (Robert Rusler, WEIRD SCIENCE, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2). And of course, any 80’s underdog story isn’t complete without a love interest, filled beautifully by Pamela Gidley (CHERRY 2000) in her first role as Chrissy. Big problem with their love story though is that Chrissy is Hook’s younger sister.
While the story was your standard underdog/bully story, where THRASHIN’ sets itself apart is filling the screen with some pretty amazing skate boarding (complete with many pros from the time) and an extremely fun soundtrack. Each scene involving someone on a skate deck is shot lovingly, similar to recent Olive release STONE COLD’s affair with motorcycles. Minus a few gaffes involving an exposed boom mic, the rest of the film is expertly shot for a lower budget film. Probably helps that the cinematographer was Chuck Colwell, fresh off of 2nd unit for THE TERMINATOR.
The soundtrack ties in 80’s pop, new wave, punk and rock in a way that makes sense. With such a diverse soundtrack, it could sound like a horrid mishmash, but I found myself really grooving to it. And upon a 2nd viewing, my 2 year old daughter found it very easy to dance along to. From the main theme performed by Meat Loaf to a nice on screen performance from early Red Hot Chili Peppers, you’ll have yourself singing some of the songs a few days later. Sadly, the official soundtrack never was released, so I am hoping beyond hope that this go by Olive does well enough to get the attention from one of the revival record companies so that it can get a proper release.
Be sure to embrace the 80’s feel of this underseen classic and pick up Olive’s beautiful transfer! Now available as of June 23rd, 2015 on DVD and Blu-ray.