DVD review: 'Skateland'
A Texas-set coming-of-age story that follows squarely in the footsteps of “Dazed and Confused” and “The Last Picture Show,” writer-director Anthony Burns’ “Skateland” is a thin but engaging 1980s nostalgia piece that also owes a debt to that era’s guru of teen angst, John Hughes.
If all that sounds highly derivative, it doesn’t detract from the movie’s laidback charm, its artful use of costume, setting and music to evoke a rich period atmosphere and a fresh-faced cast that manages to breath life into some largely pro forma characters.
Burns and co-writers Brandon and Heath Freeman effectively evoke a sense of folksy melancholy and Longhorn grit as they set their story in a rustic East Texas town and the ramshackle social center for disaffected youth, the Skateland roller rink.
Manager of this about-to-close establishment is Ritchie Wheeler (Shiloh Fernandez,), a 19-year-old who spends his days and nights in post-high-school limbo – skating, drinking, flirting with girls, hanging out with friends and behaving as if he were in the 13th grade.
Apparently, Ritchie is a promising writer (we see him late at night pecking away at the keyboard of his Commodore 64 computer), and his younger sister, Mary (Haley Ramm), wants him to go to school and develop his talent.
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