Still Thrashin' 25 Years Later at Cinefamily (without Johnny Depp)
Who's The Geeze? That's Producer Alan Sacks and Original Dagger Christian Hosoi
Paul T. Bradley
Cory: They're just thrashers, they're alright.
Chrissy: Thashers? That sounds like, like vandals and juvenile delinquents. Troubled youth...
Cory: Nah, nah. It's just an aggressive style of skating. Y'know...we thrash.
Chrissy: Well, what do you thrash?
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Cory: What do you got?
(Spoiler Alert: Not long after this, the guy gets the girl, wins the big race, and gets the big contract. When does that happen anymore?)
Is that '80s retro thing totally dead yet? Has everyone moved on to fetishizing the '90s by now? We hope not; the '80s were some sick times.( For the record, we're not talking about fey "Flock of Seagulls" haircuts and crappy synth, we talking about, well, thrashin'.)
Sunday night, Cinefamily celebrated the upcoming 25th anniversary of legendary skateboarding film Thrashin' with a packed theater full of fans, including brahs and the female equivalents thereof. On hand was a cadre of the film's cast and crew and it felt more like a rad family reunion than a full-fledged rager.
For those of you who have neither thrashed nor seen Thrashin', you're missing out on a cultural gem and '80s memento in which Oscar-nominee and Razzie-winner Josh Brolin shreds his way through his first starring role with the straightest face he can muster.
It's an almost tongue-in-cheek Romeo and Juliet in Dogtown, replacing two noble houses with rival skate crews the Ramp Locals and the Daggers.
The cheddary love story merely strings along a gnarly patchwork comprised of stunts, so-cal Punk (a live performance by pre-fame Red Hot Chili Peppers) and, um, thrashing put on by the actual lords of the scene it celebrates. We can't help but chuckle through '80s-staple montages that are now the bread-and-butter of South Park-style satire. It's hard not to with stolid renderings of lines like:
"Breakin is a memory...for wimps."
"Should I wear this skull and the dagger or the hoop and the dagger?...Don't be a smartass, this is important to me.
"I'm gonna cream that mother!"
"This wild indian happens to be stylin' -- you don't know what you're talking about..."
Love story and training-montages aside, everything else in the film is about as authentic and cheese-free as it gets. Almost all of the film's skaters are legit: Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva and a young Tony Hawk, to name just a few.
Lords of Thrashtown: David Wagner (a.k.a Little Stevie), Catherine Hardwicke, Alan Sacks, and Original Dagger Christian Hosoi
Paul T. Bradley
In the post-film Q&A, producer Alan Sacks credits an LA Weekly article by Gloria Olin about a gang of skater girls called "The Hags" for his inspiration. He and writer Paul Brown researched the scene and put together their pitch based on the people they'd met.
Proud Dagger, and legitimate skating legend Christian Hosoi promises, "That's how we were in real life, man. We weren't even acting, that's just how we were in Hollywood at the time."
Supposedly, eleven skaters went to the hospital on the first day of shooting the LA Massacre downhill finale. "Oh, that's real," Hosoi says of one scene-stealing injury, "He's really injured, being worked-on by real paramedics...with real cigarette smoke coming out of his mouth."
Production designer Catherine Hardwicke, now more famous for her directing (you've heard of Twilight, yes?), clued us in that the Dagger's house was a legitimate Hollywood crack house. On her first day there, she says, "There was a total crackhead sitting there and I said, 'Hey, do you want to be on the art department crew?'...I almost got killed, like, every day on that set."
As to the longevity of the film's style, Ms. Hardwicke is only slightly embarrassed by the day-glo and fluorescent paints. The rest, she insists, she's proud of. As evidenced by her art show last-year (see "Daggers of the World Unite!"), we have no doubt.
Just Google image search the word "hipster" and you'll get a slice of how much that culture has influenced contemporary hipster, scenester and poseur alike. To the chagrin of hipster-haters, we don't think that the "I'm Imitating My Older Cousin in 1986" look is going away completely anytime soon.
Oh, for those of us IMDb-junkies, Thrashin' has become somewhat famous for rejecting a young and then unknown Johnny Depp. Sacks set the record straight: "Johnny Depp was the boyfriend of Sherilyn Fenn...and Sherilyn asked if he could come up and read for the par of Hook." He continues, "So, I had him come in and read. He came up and shook my hand and I, uh, felt that it was a little wimpy...so we cast Rusler instead." Pretty simple, right? Your villain can't have a weak handshake.
And, even though, as Mr. Sacks pointed out, "Johnny's got a $100 million opening on Hollywood Boulevard and we're here at the Silent Movie Theater," we doubt there will be puffy-shirted hipsters in 2036...well, maybe.
"That movie changed my life, brah! Got me into skating...and everything cool," a thrashed-out looking fan gushes to Mr. Sacks and Mr. Brown on his way out of the theater. Fans like that and Thrashin's irony-free authenticity makes its legacy so much easier to cherish. We'll see you all at the 50th, brah.
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