Written by / 2/10/2013 / 2 Comments / , , , , , , , , , , ,

SKATEBOARD THE MOVIE

year: 1978 cast: Allen Garfield, Leif Garrett, Kathleen Lloyd, Tony Alva, Pam Kenneally rating: ***1/2
Although promoted as a Leif Garrett vehicle, the bulk of SKATEBOARD belongs to character-actor Allen Garfield as struggling talent agent Manny, who owes big bucks to a dangerous bookie.

Garfield previously appeared as antagonistic side-characters in edgy films like THE CONVERSATION and BUSTING, and with an exception of the low-budget gumshoe comedy CRY UNCLE, he was never given a leading role...
Steve Monahan leaps over Manny's car
After discovering a group of wayward teenage skateboarders, Garfield's tubby and neurotic Manny starts a hopeful team that travels in a decapitated bus doing borderline minstrel shows disguised as freestyle competitions.

As Garrett hangs out in the background, the true hotshots are real life rollers Richard Van der Wyk, Tony Alva, Steve Monahan and Ellen O’Neal.
The L.A. Wheels team bus after a makeover/paint job
While skating better than acting, there’s something genuine in the deadpan deliveries: after all, it’s the skaters territory more than Garfield who, with a constantly frantic bicker, seems more part of a low-rent gangster flick than skateboarding propaganda: which this needed more action shots of.

Although, towards the middle of the film, there are several terrific montage sequences of the kids in action, gliding down hills and rolling up and down sewer pipes with ease as The Jefferson Starship and/or Dr. John provide groovy tunes. 
Ellen O'Neal followed by Leif Garrett
Despite taking most of the screen time from the kids, Manny does make a likable antihero, especially after Kathleen Lloyd joins the ranks as the chaperon/nurse, giving him validity and a love interest.

But as the desperate gambler – who gets beat up in his motel room as a reminder of his debts – keeps barking orders at Van der Wyk's Jason, tension builds within the team, which might not last much longer. Especially when the inevitable corporate sponsors move in.   
Pam Kenneally as Randi
Neurotic mood swings aside, Manny eventually becomes the endearing sloppy uncle as the team climbs to the final competition where – after the star skater drops out – it's up to underdog Garrett to win an important downhill race, providing more suspense in the training (aided by Tony Alva) and buildup (Manny's life on the line) than the real thing.

While not a perfect movie, and not always worthy of the sport it's named after, SKATEBOARD is must-see viewing for anyone with ninety minutes to lose... the fun way. 
More Photos from SKATEBOARD: THE MOVIE
Richard Van der Wyk and Pam Kenneally
Tony Alva flipping out
Patricia Hitchcock (director's daughter and actress in PSYCHO) with Allen Garfield and Gordon Jump
The beautiful Kathleen Lloyd
Pam Kenneally and Richard Van der Wyk
Steve Monahan at the first paid gig
Allen Garfield lectures Pam Kenneally
Skater star Tony Alva
Leif Garret and David Hyde
Pam Kenneally and Allen Garfield
Riding fast and high
TONY ALVA SKATING THE PIPES DURING THE INTRO OF SKATEBOARD
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