Thrashin‘ is the title of a film about two rival skateboard gangs in Los Angeles directed by David Winters and written by Paul Brown and Alan Sacks. When the film was released in 1986 it was not well received by the critics, saying that the film was just a poor skateboard version of West Side Story or Romeo and Juliet. However, Thrashin’ gained somewhat of a cult status among the kids of the 80′s – it had all the right ingredients: gang rivalty, forbidden love, break dancing, and most important, some really cool skateboarding (of all types: ramp, street, freestyle, pool, downhill…) performed by some of the best skaters of the 80′s, including Tony Hawk, Tony Alva, Per Welinder and Christian Hosoi.
Okay, if you haven’t witnessed the fantastic glory that is Thrashin’, I’ll fill you in on what it’s all about.
There’s this guy, Corey, played by Josh Brolin. He’s your average choad skater dude. He hangs out with his fellow dudes, the Ramp Locals, they all live in the valley and they thrash. Then there’s the Daggers, the rival skate gang of the Ramp Locals. Monk the Punk is the leader, but Hook is the one you want to watch for. They’re all a bunch of punks from LA, they like to thrash as well, but they also like to destroy.
So one night, Corey and the Ramp Locals go to this awesome club where everybody dances on skateboards and gets drunk. The Red Hot Chili Peppers make an appearance and play some rock. But soon enough Corey runs off with Chrissy, a hot blonde in a hot pink dress, who’s also Hook’s sister. They Hook up. This pisses Hook off, and he’s not going to let Corey off the Hook very easily. What ensues is a gang war. But not just any old gang war, that would be boring. This is a skater gang war. Much much better.
Anyways, the plot of this movie shouldn’t concern you too much. Even though it has a nice little Romeo and Juliet parallel, it’s not the star of the show. No, no, what really stands out is the acting. My friends, these actors exhibit nothing short of pure excellence. The timing of every line is executed with such delicacy, it’s quite an amazing and beautiful thing.
The Ramp Locals all have their share of cool quotes, and they all skate well, each one of them pulls a boneless every five seconds. But Hook, played to perfection by Robert Rusler, is the star of this movie. His every nuance is plastered with genius. Watch as he plays air guitar for all of his friends, marvel at his dramatic reaction to the news that his sister is dating somebody from….the Valley!
There are so many wonderful little quirks in this movie. There’s a skate joust in a ditch. The house that the Daggers live in is spray painted with the word DAGGERS all over the place, as well as some actual daggers drawn. There’s at least 8 skating montages, the soundtrack is pretty choice as Devo, the Circle Jerks, and many other make a contribution. Sherilyn Fenn even has a small part, as well as Tony Alva.
Okay two more things. One, during the scene when Hook and Corey get into a fight and Chrissy breaks it up, Hook challenges Corey to the skating joust. He then proclaims, “Be there!” Then, in what could be argued as one of the best editing jobs ever, they cut to a little kid that screams, “No you be there!” It’s hard to describe but the timing and inflection in the actors voices cannot be matched, it’s simply radical.
Two, during the climatic downhill race, the LA MASSACRE, put the movie on mute, there’s not a lot of dialogue and for some reason the music they play is not very climatic. Then put on Judas Priests’ “Heading out to the Highway” followed by “You’ve got Another Thing Comin’”, these two songs go together like that old Wizard of Oz, Dark Side of the Moon thing, for when Rob Halford sings, “Take a chance before, I FAAAAALLLL!” skater’s will fall, if you cue it up right, it’s uncanny. Then “Nother thing comin” will start when Corey and Hook are head to head, it’s fucking awesome! Do it! Do it now!