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.


4 comments:

Groboclown said...

I remember watching this in the theater, too, and, strangely enough, I watched it again about 6 months ago.

It's cheesy and terrible, but it came across as though the people involved actually tried to make the best out of what they were given. Well, most of them. The story had a lot of problems. That whole bit where the girlfriend gets on a bus but then turns around is really pointless except for the Romeo and Juliet connection.

Ryan Steans said...

Man, I am 87% certain we saw it together when we saw it in the theater.

Groboclown said...

I thought we had, but wasn't sure until you verified for me. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this was my idea. I'm so sorry, man.

Ryan Steans said...

All is forgiven. It's not like I didn't force march you through some terrible movies.