This is from a long time ago. I had this copy in my back pocket for the duration of the shoot. “Record Sound” is a note from Clint, the DP and co-maker. The rest of the scribbles are mine.
Throughout the entirety of Skateland, I kept waiting for something to happen. Something edgy, provocative, perhaps even offensive or off-putting. As that something continued to evade the film, it created an uneasy feeling, as if the film were falling deeper and deeper into an abyss. Looks great, feels great…but what’s going on?
And then, I began to feel the film ending.
It hit all the appropriate well-worn notes to such a degree that I found myself wanting to cringe, and yet not enough to turn it off and move elsewhere. So what was it that kept me watching?
As the last shot faded out, I said to myself, well, that was kind of John Hughes-y. And then, as if on cue, “In memory of John Hughes” showed up on the screen.
Hughes was edgy for his time, but never so much as to alienate his base or his times. In the wake of Hughes and those kinds of movies and all that has happened since then, it’s surprising as a viewer to look back on my initial reaction to this film. I guess I am predisposed to anticipate some sort of upheaval of everything I understand and expect, and when that doesn’t occur, the subsequent reaction is to declare failure. My reaction is saying I don’t have time for things that aren’t 100% trending, innovative, provocative, edgy, uncompromising. Of course that isn’t true at all, and I’m inclined to be in the other camp both in my taste and in my filmmaking. I prefer something genuinely felt and honest, not just something designed to push my buttons. But as an audience member, over the past 10 years or so, I believe I’ve been conditioned to see things in such light. We are too busy for each other. We need to be shocked into paying attention.
There’s nothing particularly new about Skateland, and I’m not attempting to claim it’s a great film. I do however think there’s a place for something like this. Maybe an homage period drama is the wrong place for it? Maybe someone needs to pick up the torch and find a way to give the current generation their John Hughes. Does that already exist somewhere? Do teenagers have their dose of this in some other form? Do they even need or want something like that? I don’t know. As it stands, Skateland is mostly for older kids to remember that for all their cool edgy 80sness, the Hughes movies had a lot of sweet, comforting cinematic hugs in them for teenagers.
“Here, I was born…and there, I died. It was only a moment for you; you took no notice.”