Shot in a documentary style, the film opens in 1975 on coastal California. Beach bum and small surf shop owner of Zephyr, Skip (Heath Ledger) introduces his young customers to urethane wheels for the new design of skateboards made out of plastic. Stacey Perata (John Robinson ), Jay (Emile Hirsch ) and Tony (Victor Rasuk). Due to the drought of 1975, water conservation policies mandated the draining of swimming pools. These outlaw kids take their skateboards and develop their skills inside the water vacant swimming pools.
From this unusual practice, Stacy, Tony, and Jay develop unique skills and enter good old fashioned skateboarding contests. At their first tournament, Team Zephyr makes a name for themselves as both skate boarding gods and hot headed rebels. From this experience, the boys make a name for themselves as the Lords of Dogtown and Z-Boys. These teen counter culture heroes develop a cult following among the surf and skateboarding shops accross America.
Given Tracy Peralta's screenwriting credit for "The Lords of Dogtown" is corporate myth making bordering on self indulgence. Peralta does shine too much as the white knight at the exp sense of the other characters. However "Lords of Dogtown" works as a tale of successful entrepreneurship and dream catching. Today's teenagers will remember this DVD fondly twenty years from now.
The torch off hippiedom is carried through the Heath Ledger character. Skip works to surf , booze and party. When Stacey can not donate as much time to skate boarding practice due to his part time job, Ledger's character mocks Stacy. This proves to be Ledger's undoing as the new skateboards business explodes and Ledger does not have the business acumen to manage his fortune.
"Lords of Dogtown" reveals that character is fate. The usual gang of idiots are involved in vandalizing behavior and their lives do not am mount to anything beyond high school. Growing up with the responsibly for familiar obligations, Stacy, Jay, and Tony make financial choices to best support their families. When Tony becomes arrogant with fame, Stacey becomes more humble When tragedy arises, Z-Boys and the Lords of Dogtown are able to recapture the magic of their youth for a swan song finale.
For people of my generation, "Lords of Dogtown" is a stroll down amnesia lane. The soundtrack features the most memorable music from the Hard Rock and Pop 40 tracks. It is interesting to note that while the boys rock to Ted Nugent and the Allman Brothers, they make out to Stevie Wonder and the O'Jays. "Lords of Dogtown will appeal to a select group of individuals, but those individuals are likely to purchase the DVD release, the soundtrack on CD and hang out more at Island Water Sports.