Joe Dust here with my first ever article for Nyrdcast, and it is a – SPOILER ALERT – film review (without any actual major spoiler alerts).
In fact, this particular film is a documentary entitled All This Mayhem. And in case you are wondering, yes it is indeed available on Netflix. All This Mayhem revolves around a simple premise: two, young Australian pre-teen skateboarders are discovered, pack up their belongings before they’re old enough to drive, and head for the United States in search of worldwide recognition during skateboarding’s peak years in the 1990s.
The central characters in this doc are Ben and Tas Pappas, two brothers who have an uncanny and natural talent for vert (vertical, i.e. ramp) skateboarding. They do not know how to approach anything in life if it’s not at 100-percent full speed, which is apparent early in this unflinching documentary. What is fantastic about this film is the amount of raw footage that was used throughout. Skateboarding was one of the first sports where a skater and videographer went hand-in-hand, so not only do we get to see the brothers grow up and quickly excel in their natural habitat on camera, but we also see their ultimate struggles with alcohol and drug addiction while co-existing in the seedy underbelly of the skateboarding world.
A fascinating – and polarizing – sub-plot of the documentary is the portrayal of skateboarding legend Tony Hawk. Hawk, who is now a household name throughout the world, is presented more-or-less as a villain of sorts throughout the film, which is a complete 180 from what we have grown to know from the charismatic skateboarding icon. Although much is up for dispute from the film (including from Hawk himself in later interviews), you know what you’re getting into when Tas offers the film’s opening line “There’s three sides to every story: there’s my side, your side and the truth.”
The arch of the film takes place when Tas, Ben and Tony are slotted 1-3, respectively, in the world rankings and ultimately leads to Tony Hawk pulling off “The 900” (a.k.a. a 900-degree turn in mid-air) trick, catapulting himself into skateboarding lore. Hawk pulling off the first 900 seemed like an enormous feat for skateboarding at the time, and it was, but this documentary leads you to question a lot of what you didn’t see at the X-Games event that day and how life paths were forever changed because of it.
Even if you have never watched a minute of skateboarding in your life, I would highly checking out this documentary based on quality of storytelling alone (and trust me, the brothers’ story is both tragic and inspiring). This is essentially Kids on skateboards, if that means anything to you.
As @nyrdcasttoner would say: “Fuck you, go see it.”