Skateland, not just another 80s movie.
Skateland is far more than an ‘80s party movie. It captures a whole generation, and reminds audiences that a good movie can come from a straightforward and commonly known theme in life: growing up.
The film is set in East Texas and follows Ritchie Wheeler (Shiloh Fernandez), a 19 year-old who is still trying to find his purpose in life. As a manager of the local skate rink, Fernandez is reluctant to leave his hometown, where things are comfortable and more importantly, fun.
Wheeler's friends, easy-going Kenny Crawford (Taylor Handley) and super confident bike-racing Brent Burkham (Heath Freeman), along with Freeman's onscreen sister, Michelle Burkham (Ashley Greene), are all content on smoking, drinking, and hanging out on the lake as they live in the moment.
Like the characters, the funny and lighthearted movie slowly becomes more serious and mature, as Fernandez and his friends are forced to decide their future and at times confront their past.
First time director and writer Anthony Burns, along with writers Heath Freeman and Brandon Freeman, did a great job of making the PG-13 indie film a true snapshot of the early ‘80s for a small Texas community. The clothes, music, cars, moustaches, and even the constant cigarette smoking highlight an often-overlooked part of the era.
Skateland successfully went beyond the party scene and was able to relate to what many young adults are going through today. The characters did a great job of inviting the audience to feed off the raw emotion of the film. They leave you with a vested interest in the overall story and a longing to experience life as they know it.
Fernandez was a little stiff at the beginning of the film, but eventually proved to be worthy of the lead role. Overall he was excellent and left one guessing where his ever-changing life would lead to next.
Green steals the show in a subtle manner and proves to be the driving force behind Fernandez's transformation throughout the movie. Despite her character being the youngest, she proves to be the most mature.
Handley and Freeman stand out in their rolls showing how important it is to have good friends. Most importantly, their side stories are worth following, which keeps the story rolling.
Skateland shows that it isn't necessary to have a huge budget or a major studio backing the film in order to be successful. It boils down to good direction and solid acting.
There wasn't a dull moment throughout the entire film, and just when the plot seemed to reach a steady point, another twist was thrown in.
This movie conveys the uncertainties life, and shows how hard it is to leave what some have known their whole life.