Bones Brigade: An Autobiography


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Bones Brigade: An Autobiography

Stacy Peralta does one more ollie for the road.


It hardly matters that Bones Brigade: An Autobiography, Stacy Peralta’s latest look at the skateboarding culture that blossomed in the golden age of Tony Hawk and Tommy Guerrero, is old hat. Peralta has certainly been down this road before, specifically in the charming Dogtown and Z-Boys, which profiled the early 1970s skateboarding crew known as Zephyr, of which Peralta was a member. Retread or not, Bones Brigade is a likeable visit to old stomping grounds, the sort of chatty trip down memory lane that should satisfy stalwarts while more or less appeasing the uninitiated.

Peralta reassembles many of the talking heads from the earlier film, including his business partner, George Powell, and the still-boyish Hawk. This time, though, Peralta turns from his own team to the titular bunch of floppy-haired outcasts—Hawk chief among them—whom he and Powell recruited to form a new wave that eventually took the sport from the fringes to the mainstream. The film is helped along by pop cultural mainstays like music-video director Spike Jonze and Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst, both of whom make appearances.

Though he displays his usual flair for mixing up high-octane archival footage of impossible board maneuvers with infectious music cues, Peralta’s greatest asset this time is his unseen presence behind the camera, which entices his subjects—most of them old friends and former protegés—into warm and surprisingly candid interviews. Many of those talks run overlong, but there’s a lot to admire in this deeply personal approach to what is essentially the social history of aimless white American youth from the early ‘80s to the late ‘90s. Whether you care about the sport or not, you’d be hard-pressed to stay unmoved by the lyrical testimony of soft-spoken Rodney Mullen, the now aging wunderkind for whom inventing new tricks was a 16-year-old kid’s first and only brush with the sublime.