Sunday, March 19, 2017
Regret Watch: Thrashin' (1986)
Last weekend Turner Classic Movies' Saturday night programming block "TCM Underground" showed Thrashin', a 1986 movie about skate boarding. So, of course I set the 'ol DVR.
No, this is not Gleaming the Cube - which I've never seen, and came along 3 years later.
Most of the marketing for Thrashin' I was aware of came in the form of an ad or two appearing in my comics at the time. So, check the backs of your 1986-era comics to see if you, too, have a back-cover ad for this opus.
True story - I saw Thrashin' in the theater, and it's one of my earliest memories of being pretty certain I was watching a bad movie. Or, at least, experiencing the certainty that I did not like what I was watching. I would have been about 11, so I was leaving that point in life where you watch movies and either totally love them or you just forget about them. But I remembered kind of hating Thrashin' at the time.
In retrospect, that's because the movie is about 35-40% just dudes riding skateboards, which I guess makes sense in a movie about skateboarding. Maybe. But it's just a lot of footage of people skateboarding, so... it can get a little dull.
The movie has a lot of challenges. Clearly it's super low-budget, and exterior scenes may not even have been all shot with a permit. ADR takes place over some scenes where the actors' mouths aren't even moving.
Well, I can say - I didn't quite pick up on the fact that the story is like a suuuuuper watered-down version of Romeo and Juliet, I guess. Josh Brolin (yeah, I know!) plays a skateboarding dude who is given some back story that he's only in whatever California/ LA beach town I guess we're supposed to recognize for a limited time with his gang of skateboarding-bros. They come across a rival skateboarding gang, The Daggers, led by the guy who wasn't Robert Downey Jr. who gave the protagonists a lot of shit in Weird Science. Josh Brolin falls for his sister, Chrissy, whose hair is a visible continuity problem.
Fun Twin Peaks tie-in: Chrissy is played by Pamela Gidley who would go on to play Teresa Banks in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. But! Also - starring in this movie? Twin Peaks' own Sherilyn Fenn as Chrissy's brother's girlfriend, "Velvet".
Fun other stuff: You can see a circa 1986 performance by The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Director Catherine Hardwicke (Lords of Dogtown, natch!) worked on and appears in this film. And, apparently, 90% of the cast were pro-skaters they filmed.
While not necessarily so bad it will give you a headache, the best thing I can say is that the movie was low-budget enough that they were just out on the street shooting film of actual people, and in that way, it's probably a much better time capsule of 1986 than most stuff you'll see from the era.
All I know is that if I ever meet Josh Brolin, this is the movie I'll ask him about.