Directed By: Stacy Peralta
Starring: Sean Penn, Jay Adams, Tony Alva
Tag line: "A Film About The Birth Of The Now"
Trivia: One of Sean Penn's reasons for signing on as Narrator was that he himself had lived and surfed in and near the Dogtown area
Jay Adams. Tony Alva. Skip Engblom. Stacey Peralta.
For many, these names won’t mean a thing. Watch Dogtown and Z-Boys, a brilliant documentary on the surf and skate culture of the mid-70’s as influenced by the small beach-side community of Dogtown, CA, and you will conclude, as I have, that each played a part in something very special.
Narrated by Sean Penn, Dogtown and Z-Boys combines modern interviews with archival footage, comprised mostly of still photos and home movies, to weave its tale of rags to riches on 4 wheels. Dogtown and Z-Boys immerses us in the culture, teaching us how the sport of surfing, combined with advancements made in the construction of skateboards, influenced a group of kids from the bad side of town to experiment on back streets and alleyways. From these humble beginnings, an entire sport was revolutionized, and would soon become, albeit briefly, a worldwide phenomenon.
Along with the history, Dogtown and Z-Boys gives us the attitude, which director Peralta delivers by way of a rapid-fire pace and overall style that's a cross between a PBS documentary and a music video. Yet, despite the guerrilla film-making tactics he employs, Peralta (himself a Z-Boy) always treats his subject matter with the utmost respect. In fact, one of the things I admire most about this film is how it approaches the culture with an almost reverent tone. Surfing, skating, and all those who surf or skate (or both) are presented with a veneration usually reserved for much loftier topics.
This is not just a film about a bunch of kids having fun; it's the history of a movement, as seen through the eyes of those who were a part of it. For these former Z-Boys of Dogtown, skateboarding was more than just a fad...it was their entire world.