If you loved "Dogtown and Z-Boys" and "Riding Giants," you won't be disappointed with the next chapter in the Stacy Peralta collection of documentaries. If you missed them, "Bones Brigade: An Autobiography" offers a unique story that stands alone as great entertainment. Featuring the origin stories of skateboarding royalty like Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen, "Bones Brigade" is eye candy if you're a skater, a fan of skaters, or even if you just watched your buddy play a Tony Hawk video game.
Stacy Peralta has made a career of riding, talking and filming hunks of wood that you can do gnarly tricks on. The Venice Beach, California native was part of a game-changing group of surfers who took the hot-dogging trickery of the waves and grafted those ideas onto the relatively tame world of skateboarding in the 1970s.
Peralta was a talented boarder himself, and became a member of the legendary Zephyr Skate Team (Z-Boys) that featured names like Tony Alva and Jay Adams. By the time the early '80s came around, Peralta was ready for the next step in his career: skateboard manufacturing and leading a fresh crop of boarders named The Bones Brigade.
One of the striking early revelations in "Bones Brigade" is just how young the original team was. Ranging from 10 to 14 years of age at the team's beginning, these half-pints hardly looked ready for the half pipe, but Peralta had an eye for raw talent and a fiery constitution. His genius was in finding the perfect mix of kids for team potential, with little to no egotistical baggage. "Bones Brigade" catches up with the personalities attached to the team, all of who remain deeply affected by this heady time in their lives. Their testimonials sometimes feel overblown, but by the end of the film, it's hard to argue against how defining the Brigade was to their trajectories in life.
The team was raging with talent. Peralta was able to take the good times, the competition trophies, and the personalities of his group and market skateboarding using imagery, branding and multimedia. His collection of Bones Brigade videos contain great footage of skateboarding tricks, but the acting and storylines are so goofy they verge on cult status.
"Brigade" goes a little long, clocking in just under two hours. The film's only fault may be that names like Tony Hawk, Lance Mountain and Rodney Mullen deserve their own separate stories (obviously). But, overall, The Bones Brigade's eventual legacy would be the popularization and monetization of extreme sports as we know them today. There would be no Shaun White without them. That very notion makes "Bones Brigade: An Autobiography" an important document in the lineage of pop culture.
Tue, May 1, 6:30 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
Wed, May 2, 2:00 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
Sun, May 6, 4:00 PM The Revue
Full schedule of Hot Docs screenings Hot Docs Day 3: 'Beauty Is Embarrassing' Hot Docs Day 2: 'Beware Of Mr. Baker' Hot Docs Day 1: "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry"