'Skateboard: Special Edition' [DVD]
(Allen Garfield, Kathleen Lloyd, Leif Garrett, et al / DVD / G / (1978) 2019 / Liberation Hall - MVD Visual)
Overview: A Hollywood agent finds himself in debt to a powerful bookie so to make a fast buck, he creates a team of exceptionally talented skateboarders and enters them in a downhill race. If they win, they will get $20,000!
DVD Verdict: The phenomenon of skateboarding which blossomed in the '70s gets a look in this G rated film about a down and out promoter who sees a bunch of kids doing their skateboard thing and turns them into a team.
Allen Garfield stars as the promoter who gets to like the kids no matter how much he first sees them as just a cash cow.
Garfield's probably a decent enough guy under ordinary circumstances and considering what he does for a living. But these times aren't ordinary, Garfield is into Anthony Carbone for some bucks and then borrows some bigger bucks to promote the team.
The leg breakers will be paying him a call if he doesn't succeed!
Which explains the pressures he puts on the kids to win although they don't understand it. Neither does Kathleen Lloyd, team nurse and guardian and all around confidante to Garfield though he levels with her.
Leif Garrett who was on the cusp of bubblegum stardom plays one of the kids and Garfield's eventual savior. The rest of the players are skateboarders first and barely handled the dialog, it has to be said.
And although billed as a Leif Garret vehicle, the bulk belongs to character-actor Allen Garfield as the tubby, struggling talent agent.
While Garrett meanders in the background as one of the younger skaters, too shy to really take chances, the true hotshots are real life rollers Richard Van der Wyk, Tony Alva and Ellen O'Neal.
And while the trio skate better than act, there's something genuine in the deadpan deliveries: after all, it's their territory more than Garfield who, with a constantly frantic bicker, seems more part of a low-rent gangster flick than skateboarding propaganda: which this needed more action shots of.
But Manny's a likable antihero, especially after Kathleen Lloyd joins the ranks as the chaperon/nurse. Although scenes where Manny attempts talking ingénue Pam Kenneally from sleeping with Van der Wyk seem a bit creepy, he eventually becomes the endearing sloppy uncle; as the team climbs to the final competition where – after the star skater drops out – it's up to underdog Garrett to win a do-or-die downhill race, providing more suspense in the buildup than the real thing.
Still, it's skateboarding and Leif Garrett combined that people paid to see and 'Skateboard' gives them their money's worth. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
• Audio Commentary Track with George Gage and Tony Alva
• Interview with George Gage
• Interview with Tony Alva
• Theatrical Trailer
• Photo Galleries of Lobby Cards and Posters
• Scene Selection Menu
'Skateboard: Special Edition' [DVD] is out August 27th, 2019 via Liberation Hall / MVD Visual.