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Sundance 2012 Review: BONES BRIGADE: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY

Movie Review Sundance by Joey Paur

Due to my lack of research preparing for the Sundance Film Festival, Bones Brigade: An Autobiography wasn't even on my radar. When I first saw the title I wasn't even sure if it was the "Bones Brigade" skateboarding team that I grew up knowing, reading about, and watching. Then when I saw that it was directed by Stacy Peralta I knew that it was, and I was excited as hell to see it!

The Bones Brigade is a skateboarding team that was organized by 70's skateboarding legend Stacy Peralta in the early 80's. He set out to start his own team of skaters, gathered together a group of no-name kids that had a deep passion for skateboarding, and mentored them to the top. This team produced some of the greatest, most legendary skateboarders of all time including Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero, Tommy Guerrero, Mike McGill, Lance Mountain, and Rodney Mullen, who I admired as a kid growing up in the 80's. These guys took skateboarding to a whole new level of awesomeness, brought the sport into the mainstream, and turned it into a booming business that they could make a ton of money from. For example, Hawk was pulling in $20K a month right out of high school. These were the people that invented modern skateboarding as we know it, and everything we know today, including all of the tricks and the language of the sport.

This documentary is my favorite film from the festival so far. Peralta is a hell of a great filmmaker who is behind several of my other favorite docs such as Riding Giants, Dog Town and the Z Boys, and Crips and Bloods: Made In America. This is also my kind of thing. I have a deep love for film, but I also have a love of surfing and skateboarding because that's what I grew up with; that's what I grew up doing. I love that culture and lifestyle, and it's a lifestyle that I still live to this day. I don't think I'll ever grow out of it. I knew all about these guys growing up. I read the skateboarding magazines. I witnessed the sport changing. It was an amazing time in history to live through. It was awesome to be a fan at that time, and it's so cool to see what was accomplished by these talented individuals.

This film gives the audience an intimate look into each of the lives of the main figures involved with the Bone Brigade. Growing up I use to think these guys lived perfect lives and were invincible, but this doc reveals that they weren't. They were people just like you and me that had to deal with overcoming their own issues. They are human, and I was able relate with almost all of them, especially for the fact that my way of thinking is unconventional just like them, and my life is driven by the passion for the things I love. I immersed myself and my talents into things that other people might feel is a waste of time, but I do it anyway. I've always pushed forward and worked on doing what I love to do. That's just what you do when your passionate about something, when it's in your blood what can you do other than what you love?

There was a lot of drama, humor, and great information packed into this film. It was loaded with some radical skateboarding footage from the 80's and early 90's, including some of the first footage of groundbreaking tricks like the Olie. It also has these wonderful deep personal interviews with most of the men that led the world into this skateboarding revolution. I loved seeing and hearing the stories of how the Bones Brigade actually came together and seeing each individual personality come to life for me on the big screen. All of these years that I followed these skaters who I respected, I never knew what they were really like, and who they really were until now. There is an amazing mix of wonderful personalities here, all of which you can help but love and respect. Watching the film was an incredible experience for me. 

Any fan of Skateboarding is going to love the hell out of this film. Even if you're not into skating it's a fantastically fascinating documentary that's a must see for all of you. 

Here's the Synopsis:

Today skateboarding is omnipresent. Take a walk down any street in any town, and you are destined to see someone riding a skateboard. Well, it wasn’t always like that. In the early ’80s, skateboarding was fading away until Stacy Peralta brought a profoundly talented group of outsiders together and dubbed them the Bones Brigade. This documentary chronicles their epic rise, using awesome archival footage and moving first-person accounts from Brigade members Steve Caballero, Tommy Guerrero, Tony Hawk, Mike McGill, Lance Mountain, and Rodney Mullen, among others. Through passion, drive, creativity, and a surprising sense of teamwork, they revitalized the sport and influenced generations to come. 

Peralta brings his fourth documentary to the Festival and continues to display an uncanny knack for fusing style and substance in his films. BONES BRIGADE works on a number of levels and will blow the minds of anyone who grew up emulating these guys, but it also resonates for anyone who ever found a family or a purpose in an unexpected place.


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