David Winters was known for making plenty of made-for-TV movies in the 70’s and even crafting the Alice Cooper documentary Welcome to My Nightmare, but he made a cult name for himself when he created the skateboard equivalent of Endless Summer with Thrashin’. Having lived a third of my life in the 80’s and remembering the second half better than the first, I can recall the high school kids pounding the pavement with skateboards. They had the best artwork. None of them wore helmets or pads, and most importantly none of them had ever seen a real half pipe in person, but they loved the image of cool that seemed to ooze from their decks. Gleaming the Cube. Back to the Future. Thrashin. These are the movies that created skate-cool, and, in the case of Thrashin’ we got a second look at a very young Josh Brolin, fresh off his work on Goonies. Olive Films has given us the chance to view this piece of nostalgic iconography in HD via their new Blu-ray available now.
Olive does one thing categorically well; this company finds movies that are in dire need of release in HD and then do so. Thrashin’ looks pretty damn good with good grain structure and preserving the look and feel of a 1980’s action comedy film (really a novelty of film of sorts). The artwork is pure 80’s with the classic logo and of course, Brolin’s name on the front. Unfortunately we do not get any extras with this release, but for a fairly obscure release with a strong cult following this I’m simply glad to have the chance to enjoy in with as many bits on screen as possible.
If you happen to be familiar with the movie, you know it’s plug and play 80’s story line with skateboard inserted. You could take the Karate Kid or similar, against-all-odds themed movies and input a few characters and change cultural reference from karate to skateboarding and you might have the same movie. There are bullies. There’s a love story, but what this movie has that the other do not… a half pipe. This is the thing of cool that gave rise to dreams and launched powerful brands like Skate or Die that gave way to Tony Hawk’s successful video game franchise later. Once we all saw that you could build a half pipe with a little know how, the kids in my neighborhood would try their hands at ramps and other dangerous obstacles.
Brolin is quite a bit like you might remember him in Goonies only a hair older. His performance does not betray the talent that lies underneath his new face on the block exterior. In years to come as he joins the rank of horror folk in Planet Terror directed by Robert Rodriguez or his powerhouse performance in No Country for Old Men he will become respected and admired. He had to cut his chops in TV through the early 90’s and eventually hit in a few action pictures and horror jobs in the late 90’s before he would be recognized as a true Hollywood talent like his father before him.
In the all fairness and in the interest of full disclosure I cannot skateboard. I tried. I nearly broke my neck trying and a buddy of mine broke his wrist in the effort. That doesn’t mean that movies like Thrashin’ became any less the image of cool that we grew up appreciating or that we could look back on as the foundation of a sport that took some time to catch on but nearly defined a generation with it’s imagery and sense of style.
You can pick up Thrashin’ from Olive on Blu-ray now. It will most certainly take you back and is the perfect movie to inspire some late night board riding, if you can manage to wrestle the deck away from your kids and not end up in traction. Of course there’s a new generation of boarders out there who grew up on Ellis and Hawk. They could certainly use a history lesson too.
L.A.’s rival skateboarders, the laid back Ramp Locals and the punk rock Daggers go to war for skateboard supremacy in the action packed drama Thrashin’. No sooner has he arrived in Los Angeles to compete in a downhill skating competition, Corey Webster (Josh Brolin, No Country For Old Men, The Goonies) finds himself falling for Chrissy (Pamela Gidley,Liebestraum), a beautiful blonde with close connections to the skating scene. It turns out Chrissy’s brother is Tommy Hook (Robert Rusler,Weird Science), the tough-as-nails leader of The Daggers, who has his sites set on the skateboard competition prize. Chrissy’s love for Corey will be tested when her overprotective brother and Corey face off in a deadly skate race in Thrashin,’ directed by David Winters (Code Name Vegeance, Mission Kill), written by Paul Brown and Alan Sacks, and co-starring Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks, Of Mice and Men), Brooke McCarter (The Lost Boys) and Chuck McCann (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter).