Skateland (2010) Poster


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Really enjoyed this little film
Beckalina731 January 2010
I saw this film today at Sundance and really enjoyed it. I don't know why the other two reviewers here suggest it would be better as a comedy about the era or should be like Dazed and Confused. That would be a completely different story and the writer and director obviously wanted to tell THIS story. They show a young man dealing at age 19 with his world crashing in on him, in several ways, pretty much all at once. I appreciated the story they chose to tell and found the lead character rather charming and a nice portrayal of a not too perfect "good boy." I was interested in following what he was going through. Sure, there have been many similar teen stories, several set in this era, and not a lot of new material was explored. Except that the Skateland theme will be memorable to many of us who enjoyed a skating rink during our childhood and teen years.

One of the sad things about seeing films you like at Sundance is that so many of them never see the light of day again. This may not be a blockbuster, but as the closing credits ran, I thought - this one will make it. I think the casting will help assure that this one isn't going to be mothballed.
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ferguson-629 May 2011
Greetings again from the darkness. I am a sucker for coming-of-age stories based in the 60's, 70's or 80's. So all it was took was seeing the trailer once for me to catch up with first time director Anthony Burns' film set in 1983 in a small east Texas town. No matter that I spent almost no time in a skating rink growing up. The basic time and place was enough to lure me in.

Pet Peeve Alert: I have stated this many times, but I can never understand why directors feel the need to cast twenty-somethings as high schoolers. Immediately I am on the defensive. That's not to say that Shiloh Fernandez, Ashley Greene and Haley Ramm aren't fine actors, because they certainly are. They just aren't believable as 17 or 18 year olds. Same with Heath Freeman (the film's co-writer). As Brent, he is cast as the older guy who still parties with the high schoolers when on break from his time as a dirt bike racer. Mr. Freeman is talented, but looks to be pushing 40 years old! Remember Matthew McConaughey in Richard Linklater's excellent Dazed and Confused? At least he didn't look 15 years older than the other kids. There are elements of that film, as well as Almost Famous and American Graffiti, present here. Unfortunately, Skateland never comes close to the detail or emotional strength of any of those three films.

For the first hour, I kept holding out hope that the film would find itself and really present something new and special. It has the look of important commentary. It just leaves us holding an empty bag.

Certainly all the pieces are here ... wannabe writer, inspirational sister, broken family, rich and poor friends, cool and uncool students, hangers-on, local thugs, etc. Even Skateland itself has a real look and feel. For whatever reason, these pieces never jell ... they just lay there expecting us to assemble a meaningful, completed puzzle.
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A charming comedy forced to be dramatic
chimotion31 January 2010
The eighties music was wonderful in addition to a solid production design team and a good cast.

The film had some very charming and humorous moments. I believe the film would have benefited by sticking to its comic explorations of the era and interpersonal dynamics of its main characters and sub characters.

The dramatic essence of the film did not work for me. I did not feel vested in the characters enough to care about several of the "tragic" circumstances explored by the filmmakers. At one point the soundtrack explodes before and during a chase sequence that I found out of sorts.

I feel with some additional sound and visual editing this charming film can be made ready for a larger distribution.
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Hellmant24 October 2011
'SKATELAND': Two and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

This is no 'ADVENTURELAND'! I've heard comparisons been made between the two and 'ADVENTURELAND' was actually one of my favorite films of 2009, this film is mediocre at best. Both are coming of age tales set in the 1980's about recent high school graduates evaluating their lives and deciding what they want to do next, while working dead end jobs (in this film it's at a skating rink, in 'ADVENTURELAND' it was at an amusement park). They also both co-starred female 'TWILIGHT' stars as the love interests (in 'ADVENTURELAND' it was Kristen Stewart, in this film it's Ashley Greene). Both young stars are talented and more than adequate in their respective roles but lead Shiloh Fernandez (of 'DEADGIRL' fame) is nowhere near as memorable as Jesse Eisenberg. Eisenberg gave 'ADVENTURELAND' a lot of heart and relatability that this film just doesn't have. 'SKATELAND' is passable sappy drama but ultimately forgettable.

In the film Fernandez plays a 19 year old skating rink manager, named Ritchie Wheeler, at a rink in Texas during the 80's just when skating was starting to dies off in popularity. Due to business deflating the rink is set to close and Ritchie is forced to look for another job. At the same time he has to deal with his parents (Melinda McGraw and Brett Cullen) getting a divorce and his sister (Haley Ramm) always pestering him about college applications. He's also in love with his best friend's sister (Greene). Things become even further complicated when tragedy strikes his best friend (Heath Freeman).

The film was directed by Anthony Burns and written by Burns as well as Heath and Brandon Freeman (who also has a small part in the film). The writing and directing is decent and so is the acting (Greene is a standout) but there's nothing much to the story. It's so routine and unoriginal and nothing really exciting or memorable happens. It's definitely not a bad film it's just also definitely not a very good one either. It's one most people will probably forget quickly after watching it and if that's the case what's really the point?!

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See it... Absolutely see it. You'll find you in this film.
LiveFearless11 March 2011
This movie has one of those scripts that captures your heart and doesn't let go. I will admit that I saw this movie multiple times at Sundance 2010, sure, the music was perfectly selected and placed in this film, the editing was wonderful... but it was the script. If you were reared in the 80s, had parents in the 80s, were aware of this thing called 'divorcing parents' in the 80s, well I could go on, but I know that there is some reality in this movie that will relate to you. It's coming to theaters March 25, 2011. If this movie isn't playing in your city, either demand it or fly to a city that's showing it. Do not wait for this one on video, you would miss out on experiencing the music as it's meant to be felt in this film if you wait to see this on Blu Ray or DVD. These guys have done a poor job of Marketing this movie (if only they had asked me), but they've got a film that COULD be the launch of something much bigger than what John Hughes dreamed of and did. It's not just a story, it's a heartfelt story... Finally a script that reaches into your heart and doesn't let go. I met with these guys repeatedly to explain what a master work they have. Since they aren't marketing it as the genius work this is, just go see it and get everyone you know to go see it, you won't be disappointed. Those that missed giving the GREAT review... I understand, it was COLD at Sundance, so the ice can have an effect on the positivity factor in the brain. Do not miss this movie!
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An 80's film that has it all.
JimmyCollins15 August 2011
I know a lot of people compare Skateland to Adventureland and I don't want to follow everyone else but it's kinda hard not too. Both have the coming of age in the 80's plot, both have a killer soundtrack and both have a Twilight gal, the thing Skateland has that Adventureland lacked was heart, what Adventureland has in laughs Skateland has in emotion. The plot isn't necessarily original but we all know Hollywood don't know what originality means, it stands out from the crowd because it doesn't drown itself in the cliché feel good factor.

Shiloh Fernandez has graduated to leading man quite nicely, he has a very serene screen presence, and in this he sports the 80's shag to perfection. The scenes with him and his mother and sister are quite touching, I would have like to see a little bit of the story from the mothers point of view, she us almost painted as a cold woman so easily ready to abandon her children, but I picked up a vibe that there was more to the story than that.

The reproduction of the 80's is flawless, from the hair and clothes all the way down to the posters on a bedroom wall. Props to the production designers for that, so many period films of late aren't convincing enough with these details.

Check it out if you're in the mood for something a little different from the usual coming if age story, it's hard not to just sit back and enjoy the story unfolding before you. :)
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Wow - not sure why there are negative reviews...
ABThomas27 September 2011
I couldn't sleep tonight, I woke up at 1:30am and decided to watch a movie. I like coming age dramas and indie flicks, so I thought I'd give this a go. I was captivated from beginning to end, loved the characters and was especially impressed with Shiloh Fernandez. I've never seen him before and was pleasantly surprised how natural he was, I will be keeping an eye out for him in future movies.

All the characters were well developed and fair enough it's not particularly anything new, but still a great story from a different town.

Uplifting, sad, funny and real. This film is for people who 'appreciate' film. 9/10
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An enduring period piece for the 1980s
FilmRap3 March 2011
Anthony Burns along with Brandon and Heath Freeman wanted to write and make their first movie about East Texas in the early 1980s where they grew up. The tag line of the movie expresses what they were trying to capture, " It was a time when life was easy a place they though would never change." Skateland was the town roller rink where the young people gathered and some hung around or returned there even after graduating High School. The film focuses on a crowd where everyone smoked, drank beer and jockeyed for their boy girl relationships. The two main characters are Brent Burkam (Health Freeman) slightly older than the rest who unsuccessfully raced motorcycles for a few years and comes back to town to hang around with buddies such as Ritchie Wheeler (Shiloh Fernandez) who is about to graduate high school. He is the assistant manager of the roller rink and can't decide what to do with his life. There are shades of young Ron Howard and Richard Dreyfus, playing characters trying to figure out their lives in American Graffiti with the 1970s take on that decade. Jump forward ten years and we have the constant music beat of the 80s setting the background for the young peoples angst, mixed with drinking, parties, cars and some violence. While the story is about the guys, there is an interesting influence of the women. Ritchie's younger sister Mary(Haley Romm) and his girl friend Michelle(Ashley Greene) are the strong characters of the movie perhaps reflecting the women's movement as did the actions of Richies Mom (Melinda McGraw). While the setting and life style may not quite be the early 80s of the northeast where our kids grew up, this young movie team has created an enduring period piece. The photography, setting and the direction is definitely first rate . We may look back on this film and realize that it was a breakout for several of the actors who were excellent. The movie earned a slot at the Sundance Film Festival which is not an easy accomplishment for an Indie low budget film which was a first time effort for the Director and writers. It will have distribution and will open in late March- early April in NY and LA. (2011)
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teen angst
mthiland8 May 2010
I saw this movie (well most of it) at the SXSW Film Festival and was hoping to thoroughly enjoy it as I, too, was a teenager during the 80's. I thought the acting was very good, costumes were great and right on target, and the music and skating scenes definitely took me back. However, the editing was all over the place. There were too many plot lines and not enough threads to connect the importance of them. Without spoiling anything, there is a scene where the main female character is wearing a necklace before it has been given to her.

The way females were characterized in this movie really struck me as tragic. With the exception of the main character's younger sister all of the female characters were portrayed as beautiful, clueless, only good for one thing, young women. In one line a girl is actually referred to as 'property.' I rarely leave a movie before it is finished (especially when the creators are in attendance and I'm sitting in the front row), but during the pool playing scene at Skateland I just couldn't take it any longer and left.

I really feel the movie had potential, it just wasn't edited well at all. And to make matters worse the Director sent a LOT of kudos out to the editor before the movie started and quite frankly, they were undeserved.
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"Dazed and Confused"
lake-644-69134326 January 2010
I sat in the packed theater house. Eagerly awaiting this film. Why? Well, I remember 1983 and how it felt. The sights, the sounds, the emotions. It was my age of innocence. And a decadent time for many. And now I was going to visit that time for 90 minutes.

The film takes place in North Eastern Texas town. The year is 1983. Ritchie (Shiloh Fernandez) is a 19 year kid. Not sure where his life is going to go. And quite content working at Skateland for his life. Ritchie's choices. Only include. Not making a choice. With the closure of Skateland and his parents looming divorce. Ritchie is confronted with the question all 19 year olds hear. "What you going to do with yourself".

For a directorial debut. Anthony Burns held his own. However, we have all seen this film before. Nothing new here. A John Hughes throwback. Great music with very few great scenes. Ashley Greene of "Twilight" fame also stars in "Skateland". So, now I have watched 3 films with her that were "Ehhh" Wait for DVD. Or rent "Dazed & Confused".
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If you don't like it, it's because you don't get it
rooster_davis13 August 2014
This is one of those movies that sneaks up on you and you don't even start to realize how good it is until you're halfway through it - but you have to 'get' it. People who suggest that this should have been a comedy, or who don't think it compares to a different movie, well those people just didn't 'get' it. This is not a formula story with a predictable plot; instead, it's an offbeat story that puts you right in the background of the lives of ordinary people dealing with the kinds of things you might have back in that day. I know that is how it came across to me, and why it connected with me so well.

I won't go into the whole plot line but I will share two moments I really liked. One was when Richie's friend has sold the skate rink where he has worked for the last few years. Richie asks if he can close the place up one last time, and in the deserted rink he plays the same music, runs the flashing lights, talks over the PA system, and just relives countless moments he's had during his time working there. In one brief moment his head drops and you know the sadness is really hitting him. Young people are usually new at learning what loss is all about and it can be painful watching them experience it. Another scene I like, earlier in the film, is when Richie is working at the rink and sees a few young men shooting pool - and they were the ones who were indirectly or directly involved in the death of his best friend. With the 'limbo' pole in his hand he makes for them and flips out on them, venting his rage, almost killing one of them.

The story is deceptively low-key but so much of real life is just that way. This is not a nostalgia comedy - not all nostalgia is necessarily light-hearted comedy - so it may not be the best movie for a lot of people who would do better with something like 'Dazed and Confused'. If in your past you knew people and situations like the ones here, you'll 'get' it and enjoy it.
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No Almost Famous
bkodellis14 May 2011
I too checked out this film at the SXSW Film Festival just about two months ago and thought it was going to be similar to Lord Of Dogtown with Heath Ledger (a movie that I liked and thought was charming). I thought the acting was solid (I don't like Ashley Greene much but Shiloh Fernandez, who I just saw in Red Riding Hood, gave a very convincing performance). The rest of the movie was very confusing to me. It cuts all over the place and I found no real "through line" or sense of continuity.

But, I think the filmmakers did a good job of putting a microscope to the time's of the 80's (the culture...specifically the teenage male and female angst and social classifications). I don't know that I would go see it again. It's no "Almost Famous." I thought it was a cool little movie that could have been better if it had a more specific storyline, but it just wasn't the case. Maybe it should be re-cut.
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Rink Rats Welcome
stangpt-7207320 January 2018
Myself being what was termed a "rink rat" of the 80's had me identifying with this movie more than most I'm sure. Skateland took me back to those days and many of those smiles in accompaniment. I suppose this fact in vacuum would make my view a bit skewed but for anyone like me who spent almost every weekend growing up in a skating rink this movie does a great job of creating the environment we called home.......A little world of escape away from the real world. Where's my time machine?
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John Hughes meets an After School Special
Fluke_Skywalker3 September 2013
The blurb on the back of the box caught my eye "It's 'American Graffiti' for the generation baptized in 'Star Wars'.". Hey, that's me! Let me just say that it's no 'American Graffiti', though there are certainly some similarities. Like 'Graffiti', 'Skateland' takes place right in the middle of a transition in eras (Here 70s to 80s), and you have that unique blending of those two aesthetics and mindsets. And it's about young people in a small town trying to figure out who and what they want to be. It's all been done before, and much better. The performances are good, and the soundtrack is killer, but it's a fairly bland film that isn't nearly as profound as it thinks it is.
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A year or less of Teen friends growing up
lcdpersonal12 April 2013
Nice unpretentious film in the genre of John Hughes teen years flicks. A nice little gem. Well worth a watch if you aren't expecting something award winning but still nicely done, subtle and warmly thoughtful of this time in our lives. Early 80's time space and appropriate music from that epic era, add a great soundtrack, as usual. Suspend judgment thru the first bits and give it a chance. Story is a bit typical, as seems characteristic of these. Loved that many of the characters seemed quite realistic and not stretched or inflated for any reason. Lastly, the Skateland hook is fun and memorable for most. Make some popcorn and enjoy.
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Where's the Skating in Skateland?
jsballfamily9 November 2011
At the end my son turned to me and said, "That's it?" I graduated hs in 1983 and my 13yo son loves rollerskating so we thought this would be a great movie to watch together. I've never seen Adventureland (mentioned by some other reviewers) but I'll admit to hoping this might have some similarity to Saturday Night Fever (disco vs skating) but don't get your hopes up. Some good: the acting and the music. Some Annoying and Bad; the oh so slow, wandering plot (what plot?), the lack of actual skating scenes and the unrealistic portrayal of 'small town' Texas (not everyone dressed with the best style all the time, not all girls were hot and brainless and not all boys had perfect hair and muscles - the young men in this movie look to be in their mid to late twenties and since when did small towns have a mall?). All in all, it was a pretty boring movie and we really wish there would have at least been some crazy fun skating scenes to make the movie more exciting.
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somethings missing
Eddie_weinbauer27 June 2016
This Could've been good.But it could seem like the meat in the story ended up on the cutting room floor. They should've worked a bit harder on the 80's vibe ,they're trying to pass off.

When you can't decide if you're making a love story,a drama,a coming of age movie,or just plain ol party movie.Than you bound to go wrong. The acting is kind of stiff,especially the interaction scenes between the boys and the girls.A lot of the conversation seemed forced and stilted. I guess is has to do with different chemistry between the two genders.

There's also a big lack of background story here.basically the only thing you see is the guys partying and the girls walking around being drunk.All having meaningless conversations,only interrupted by one or two remarks about a girl's ass,as she walks across the room. I missed them having discussions about something relevant to the 80s period.Like Miami vice or something big happening in the world or on TV.OR the latest music video by a certain band on MTV. I've seen producers stray away from stuff like that before, to avoid putting the movie in a certain time frame.But this movie needed it,quite badly.

I got the feeling they mixed Dazed and confused,with There goes my baby(which is a better more serious movie. I didn't quite get the 80s vibe they tried so hard to pass off.It needed more than just the clothes and the music.It needed something to grab your attention,make you interested in the characters and their life,as you follow them
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