My sister, who was a few years older than me, received a skateboard for Xmas. Boldly, on the first day of Spring, she took it out to do what I guess were some crazy skateboard moves and she hurt herself real badly. That was the end of skateboarding in our house (although I did find her skateboard years later and nearly broke my skull with it). So while other kids would seem Tony Hawk, skating to “Skateboard Johnny”, which for some reason never charted, and then ran to the street, boards in hand, I picked up a joystick and played lots and lots of Atari.
Some fads are big enough and lucky enough to have entire films dedicated to them. In a historical sense, these films come to represent the times, fashions, cultures, even the language involved in these fads. Breakdancing had Breakin’ (Beat Street being a close second), BMX racing had Rad … heck, even Nintendo had The Wizard. While Gleaming the Cube was a good film, the greatest skateboarding film of all time has got to be Thrashin’.
(In case you missed it, that was Meat Loaf singing the movie’s title track.)
Hot off his role as “Brand” in 1985’s hit film The Goonies, Thrashin’ stars a young Josh Brolin as Corey Webster, a hot young skater from “the Valley” and a member of “the Ramp Locals,” a group of fun-loving skaters. For the summer, Corey has left the Valley and come to stay with the Ramp Locals in Los Angeles while training and getting ready for the L.A. Massacre, a fast and dangerous downhill skateboard race.
It isn’t long before Corey and his pals encounter The Daggers, a local skateboarding gang. The Daggers are led by Hook, played by Robert Rusler who, just one year prior had appeared in both Nightmare on Elm Street Part II (as Grady) and Weird Science (as Max).
Like most other skateboard-related movies, Thrashin’ featured lots and lots of famous skaters of the era. (That was Christian Hosoi, leaping off the top of that car.) This film is known for (among other things) its cheesy dialogue and one liners, many of which I still repeat today. “Breakin’ is a memory.”
Corey Webster soon falls in love with a beautiful blonde named Chrissy, played by Pamela Gidley. In 1985, Gidley won the Wilhemina Modeling Agency’s “Most Beautiful Girl In The World” contest. First place must’ve been a starring role in this film! (While Gidley will always be “Chrissy” to me, to many others, she will always be “Cherry 2000”.)
For anyone who has ever seen or read “West Side Story,” it will come as no surprise that beautiful blonde Chrissy is actually Hook’s sister. We learn this shortly after Webster and Chrissy meet at “The Thrash Bash,” a local bar/club for skaters.
This was actually the first time I had ever seen the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Fans of the band will recognize original guitarist and founding member Hillel Slovak on guitar. (Slovak passed away from a heroin overdose in 1988.)
When the Ramp Locals aren’t busy fighting with the Daggers, they spend their time having fun and skating in places like the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I love this scene because it doesn’t look like they shut down the block for filming and that all these people just happened to be there.
Unfortunately it was only a matter of time before Hook and the Daggers caught up with Corey. In this riveting scene, the Daggers spot Webster out on his own and give chase. Wild in the streets!
Some of the famous skaters that appear in Thrashin’ (many of which appear as Daggers in that chase scene) include Tony Alva, Steve Caballero, Tony Hawk, Christian Hosoi, Tony Magnussen, Mike McGill, Lance Mountain, Billy Ruff, Steve Steadham, and Per Welinder.
After yet another confrontation between Hook and Webster, Corey’s arm is broken. That doesn’t stop him from entering the L.A. Massacre with a cast on! This scene always looked very dangerous to me and I’ve always wondered if anyone got seriously hurt during filming.
For some reason the only clips I could find of the L.A. Massacre were in Spanish, which just goes to show Thrashin’ was an awesome movie regardless of the language. At least I think that’s what it means.
As I previously mentioned, Thrashin’ has become a cult classic, thanks in part to some of the terrible dialogue. YouTuber “Facetina” uploaded this clip titled “The Top 10 Lines From Thrashin'”, and it contains some winners.
#8 is one of my all time favorite quotes, but it happens so fast that I want to point it out. When Hook is challenging Webster to a fight, he says “be there.” One of the Ramp Locals’ younger brother says, “No, YOU be there!” which is followed by, “YOU shut up!” It’s so fast that it almost sounds adlibbed. Whether or not it was, it’s still genius. To this day, any time I hear someone say “be there” I always follow it with “YOU be there! … YOU shut up.” Few people get the reference.
If nothing else, Thrashin’ taught us that “Cabriolet” (pronounced “cab-REE-oh-lett”) is Hungarian for “fast car”.) Just don’t tell Tracey Chapman …
If you would like to see the most awesome skateboarding movie of all time, Thrashin’ is available on DVD from Amazon as well as Netflix.
Or, if you would prefer, I’ll be watching the movie this weekend at 3pm sharp. Be there!
No, YOU be there!
YOU shut up!
I was a little too young to appreciate the first Police Academy movie when it was released back in 1984 (I was 11), but by the time Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol rolled around in 1987, I was a fan of the series. When many people think of Police Academy 4 they remember the performances of Bobcat Goldthwait and David Spade (along all the other Police Academy regular roster), but what I will always remember this movie for was this four-minute long skateboard sequence.
Although that was David Spade appearing at the beginning of the clip, that wasn’t him skateboarding. The skateboarding stunts in the film were performed by members of the Bones Brigade, a famous group of skateboarders that included Steve Caballero, Chris Miller, Tommy Guerrero, Lance Mountain, Mike McGill, and Tony Hawk. According to Tony Hawk, he was originally supposed to serve as David Spade’s stunt double, but was fired “for being too tall.”