Posts Tagged ‘Extremely Sorry’

The Peace Which Passeth All Understanding

October 25, 2009


Burpin’ and gurpin’

Those who are products of the 1980s will recall “Transformers the Movie” as an emotional tour de force that involved entire planets being consumed by the pesky Unicron, with tears shed at Optimus Prime’s death but somehow no bullshit teenage romance, and a Weird Al song also. The film taught many truths about this human life (imparted by giant warlike robots no less) but the one that really hit me was when Soundwave, Starscream and the Constructicons had gathered after some time apart and were trying to chop it up over a few energon cubes like it was the old days… but their stilted conversation and uncomfortable silences said it all: times had changed and the Decepticons, like all of us, were holding too tightly to something that had long since transformed. Or maybe it was the world that had transformed around them? Or maybe Unicron ate everything. My memory is not what it used to be but I believe the movie won a thousand Oscars.

Now, I don’t know enough about Flip or the various personalities involved to try and cast Ewan Bowman or Jeremy Fox or Geoff Rowley as the hometown-bound friend who can’t, won’t, let go of the past. Maybe it’s none of them, but more so than the labored claymation and boring little kids and brow-furrowing musical choices this is what sort of ends up sinking the “Extremely Sorry” vid for me, the fact that it walks and talks like “Sorry 3” when pivotal dudes have moved on and the planet has gotten a half-decade older. Respect is due the three musketeers and their one-for-allness after so many years, and both Glifberg and Penny do deliver to a far greater extent than they’re generally getting credit for out there in internetland, but we’re left with a bloated production that’s generally treading the same water as five years ago, except with more skippable parts, a heavier weight to bear and yeah, that music.*

(We would like to here make a semi-major detour and get into Luan de Oliveira’s section for a minute, which is actually kind of hot and offers one of the few reasons for optimism re: this next generation of multinational young Flippurs, alongside Nordberg. His switch frontside heelflip means business and if he can keep away from those humdrum switch boardslide to TKTKTK ledge combos he will do well – fast skating, decently built lines and an eye for tricks that are hard and look cool, for instance the very first ledge jam.)

Not sure if it was the best-best, but for sure the most interesting part in this Flip video is Shane Cross, he of the headbands and Hawaiian shirts, whose posthumous part gets some heavy stylizing and ghostly effects that harken back to Arto Saari’s Penny dream sequence in the first Flip video – another one of those Bones Brigade type of moments. It might be reaching to interpret the edit here as an indication of where they hoped Shane Cross might’ve taken things eventually, but the tricks are intense – the side view of the nosegrind makes all the difference and the execution generally is top notch. To me the effects didn’t detract from the skating so much as broaden the universe of the sort of things we might be able to see when putting in a new DVD, quite a bit different than a lot of what’s come before and heavy skating to boot. The biggest bummer is that Shane Cross has gone, and the Flip dudes did right by him with this part, but it’s too bad they didn’t save a few more of the genius pills for the rest of the video.

*The editors of Boil the ocean will ride for the Pink Panther song, however

Sleeping Through the Afternoon

October 24, 2009

Rip-Van-Winkle
Tick-tock

Ayy, don’t think of it as a lull in posting, but instead rather a meta-type comment on laziness and sloth, or more specifically the type of calculated and semi-responsible laziness apparently practiced by Mark Appleyard over the last half-decade as we continue to parse the new Flip video. Appleyard’s part was good and all – indeed pretty great at points, yah – but kind of like when you first learned about Dr. Dre’s history with Eazy E and Jerry Heller, the thing took on a whole new depth after I checked out Appleyard’s Thrasher interview (Geoff Rowley cover).

I heard a rumor that you finished your part years ago.
Yes I did. The bulk of it I fininshed in 2004, right after the SOTY, when I was really on fire.

You’re like the kid that finishes his homework before class is even over.
Yeah, get ‘er done. Finish it on up.

So this hasn’t been a big push for you these last few months.
Not really. I don’t really work well under pressure. I try, but as far as going out and kickflip boardsliding down El Toro, that’s not really my style. I don’t really want to risk anything or get hurt ’cause I like to skate a lot. I want to be able to skate on a daily basis and not to anything that’s too stressful.

What trick are you most pleased with in the video?
Maybe the tre flip noseslide I did down Wilshire — five years ago.

Reading between the lines (on the page and in the vid) you can roughly guess that Appleyard has spent the past five years more or less perpetually smoked out, becoming a devout follower of Jah and occasionally buying expensive Rolex timepieces or filming a trick. There’s no jarring fresh-to-hesh stuff going on but you could kind of place some of the footage by the bagginess of any given pair of pants. Beyond an acknowledged addiction to the nollie backside bigspin he remains super good, a solid case for the frontside noseslide to fakie and other tricks that others sometimes would do better to leave alone, like the switch 180 manual/5-0 (the one down the Standford hubba ledge was pretty bonkers). Notable also: the nollie bigspin b/s tailslide and the kickflip b/s tailslide shove-it on the just-liberated Hubba Hideout, and taken on its own, slipping the nollie backside noseblunt in the first third of the part hints at a far more interesting video that could’ve been, at least editing-wise.

There’s less nuance to former Appleyard roomie Rodrigo TX’s section, but of course way more tech-trick fireworks, with a lot of stuff that looks like it could’ve been shoehorned into his “Menikmati” section (5-0 180 out on the hubba, or anytime he wears shorts). The tall backside tail’s awesome, along with the picnic table Pupecki and the Mariano bench trick, and that one line sort of made me wish more dudes skated in camo pants still. Most of those Barcelona bench moves are totally out of hand and in terms of raw unbridled skills TX probably still ranks alongside your Chris Coles, Marc Johnsons and Eric Kostons, but I’m not sure if the dude has a real classic video part in him.

Lance Mountain and Bob Burnquist Are the Runaway Jury

October 20, 2009

lance_flip
In a theater near you

Back in, uh, 1998, vertical pioneer Tony Hawk and snowboard movie-man Jamie Mosberg unveiled “The End,” a statement of purpose that laid the groundwork for Tony Hawk’s rise to sport celebrity, solidified years of cartoon graphic deck sales and set the bar impossibly for future incarnations of the Birdhouse team. As you can imagine it was a pivotal moment for the culture and Tony Hawk mentioned at one point or another that one of the highest pieces of praises he received was somebody telling him “The End” was like one of the old Bones Brigade videos, which you can definitely see, and which is certainly no left-handed compliment despite the cheese factor spread over pretty much everything in the 80s.

There’s not a lot about the “Extremely Sorry” video itself that translates to easy comparisons with the classic Powell Peralta productions – it will take someone far bolder than I to hold up Louie Lopez et al alongside the Guy/Paulo/Rudy contingent – with the obvious exception of Lance Mountain, the Bones Brigade’s Ringo, and Bob Burnquist, sometimes known as the Bob Burnquist of mega-ramp skating.

And what about Bob? He makes for an easy target, what with his dramatic contest tears, recreational base jumps, TV stunts focused on geologic wonders and so on. It would be folly to dismiss shit like that switch feeble grind on the mega-bar or that heelflip frontside 540 spin that’s in the new Thrasher or all those tricks into (i.e. from the deck, into the transition of) the mega-quarter-pipe*. Or the switch backside tailslide, or those tricks at the beginning that remind you how he used to skate for Julien Stranger and those dudes. In some ways Bob Burnquist’s mega-complex is an extension of Tony Hawk’s bullring loop, but different, because it’s hard to shake the feeling that there’s something sort of fundamentally artificial about the whole mega pursuit… the idea of donning body armor (or not, I guess) and zipping to and fro on a golf cart to ride off a ski jump on a longboard. Like an underwater motorcycle race, or skyboarding. Quibbles aside, Bob B does for sure deserve a heaping helping of credit for filming a video part of this stuff, rather than dribbling it out from X-game to Dew Tour in a bid to rack up contest purses, which I guess he could do anyway.

On the other end of the spectrum one finds Lance Mountain and his personal backyard BBQ, throwing back to any number of previous video parts – Bones Brigade and otherwise in what struck me at one point as being a more wholesome version of Chet Childress’ Burnside odyssey in the Black Label vid a couple months back. Watching Lance Mountain crunch around the coping is all types of awesome with that ridiculous smith grind, the even more ridiculous feeble grind, those inverts, incorporation of various swimming implements – the late invert! – tied up with a loose weekendish theme that a 10-year-old kid could relate to, at the same time he’s bugging out off a hippie jump over the deep end ladder. I think I felt 10 years younger watching this part, which makes me wonder how Lance Mountain felt making it (broken bones notwithstanding)

*holy fuck by the way

Invincible Criminal

October 18, 2009

rowley_xtremely
Revel in your pain(!)

There’s a certain quality to Geoff Rowley’s skating, or maybe more accurately to his “being” as a pro-whatever, that is highlighted when the filmer stills his hand from marking that day’s hammer and instead follows along as Rowley pushes once, twice, and diddles about with various flatground tricks like he was getting double points for those shove-its like it was his own personal bonus round. Which it may well be, and of course we’ve only a vague idea how long any particular trick takes him to land, but if you were to pick a scrawny Brit to shoulder the weight of a baggage-heavy production like “Extremely Sorry” you could do worse than a never-say-die type who won’t stop even after he’s won that particular day’s battle.

So you could interpret Rowley’s lead-off position in the Flip video proper in any number of ways: that it’s the second-best part, following on some unwritten rule of video sequencing that came to prominence around the time of “Misled Youth”… that it has a frontside flip late shove-it in it, which is a trick that everyone will be feverishly gossiping about and therefore it’s pointless to put it at the end of the video because everybody is gonna just fast-forward to see it anyhow… or that Rowley looks to meet head-on the challenge of following up the two past Flip videos, some six years since the last one, half the team gone, crazy diamond Shane Cross departed, Boulala jailed, and the mountain-sized expectations of a viewing public eager to write off this new generation of longhaired tween ATVs and the custom-composed rap/rock soundtrack.

There’s some validity to this whole mess – you take your chance going for a trilogy when half the cast checks out after the second reel, and years of anticipatory ads and deadline back-pushing and Grand Canyon base-jumps do not dull usually a video hype cycle. Geoff Rowley the human probably cares as much about all this as he does about those who would gnash their teeth over the thought of him slaying a mountain lion, or his engaging in those aesthetically displeasing truck hang-up tricks (that would include me). “Extremely Sorry” has some of his craziest shit ever, the part will not be remembered as his best, but he is still out there doing things like that wallride 5050 and that into-the-bank ollie and the rather costly rooftop maneuver, and his brand of ultra-gnarly skateboarding has never really beaten you over the head with its ultra-gnarliness. All of which oughtta be respected, whatever comes next – b/s 360 powerslide or one of those puberty-stricken gap kickflippers. Or satanic poetry, or claymation. Or drum’n’bass music.

Enjoy The Pain

October 8, 2009

flitwick
Hard flip

Now I’m not saying really that I want every pro or amateur skateboard rider to be able to deliver a Scott Bourne-level thesis on the Meaning Of Shit when they’re interviewed, but as one of the eight people who reads the text in between the photos in magazines (in this case TWS, no less) I’m appreciative when kid bigspin says something that occasionally makes you think, or makes you feel like you’re thinking, or shows that they think about thinking at various and certain times. Even if I don’t agree with the direction of the thinking. You know? So it was with this Christoph “Willow” Wildgrube* feature in the Brock issue of Transworld, on the Cory Kennedy-related topic of landing tricks first try, family ties and the more general concept of work:

There’s a hardflip in Cologne that’s in the video that you made second try, would it feel better if you had to battle for it more?
Yeah, maybe. Sometimes you need to fight, otherwise skateboarding gets too boring and you forget how to enjoy the pain. Sometimes you really need to feel the pain in your body. You need pain to skate. It’s really nice once a month to get a trick in a couple of tries, it’s good for your brain and it’s good for your body and your soul, but sometimes you need to fight a little bit more. Sometimes there are days when I don’t think about anything and I just blast, but then I have days when I think too much and I have to think about my family to get motivated.

One time recently, my dad came with me to a spot to watch me skate because he had never actually seen me skate before. It was quite a windy day at the spot and he was watching for the wind, he was shouting “Hey Willow! This try there’s no wind!” and I would just jump down the stairs. It’s a kickflip that’s going to be in the Flip video. I think you might be able to see my parents in the background.

There’s also a pretty nutty laser flip sequence in this article, labeled a “laser heelflip.” On a related topic, the DC website’s recent feature on Greg Meyers labeled what I guess is a heelflip varial a “heel shuv” which was a little too 90s even for me.

*and seriously with a name as hot as Wildgrube why would you acquiesce to a Warwick Davis nickname?