director Tristan Patterson
A generation (or more) ago, Stacy Peralta and numerous others in the suburban desolation of Southern California invented pool skating, and about a decade ago, Peralta documented that in his very good film Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001). Peralta situated the birth of skate culture and punk in the LA suburbs as something reflecting the cultural malaise of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. It’s a fine film which I recommend.
Dragonslayer, by director Tristan Patterson, might prove a fascinating contemporary companion piece. The film follows the exploits of semi-professional skater, Josh “Skreech” Sandoval, a 23-year old inheritor of Dogtown’s legacy. Skating, broke, drinking and taking drugs, bored, poor, with a fairly bleak future, Sandoval represents a Southern California culture that has changed and has not changed, whose options may or may not be any better than 30 years before.
Scoping out empty swimming pools from Pomona to Fresno, trekking to Portland and Sweden, he is of a skate scene world that has grown since Peralta’s youth. Patterson paints a somewhat freeform image, told in 11 titled segments, ranging from the instructive to the poetic. Though you might come to your own opinions of Sandoval, who has a year-old son named Sid and a strange ability to attract pretty younger girls, Patterson isn’t casting his own judgment here. If anything, he’s hopeful for the guy, though Sandoval is the kind of guy from whom parents warn off their daughters.