A movie review of "Skateland," a story of small-town Texas youth circa 1983.
Anthony Burns has a knack for setting a mood.
The director/co-writer of “Skateland,” a story of small-town Texas youth circa 1983, catches the feel of teenage dreams stunted by circumstance, powered by a soundtrack that captures that era’s first flirtation with MTV.
Unfortunately, Burns and co-writers Brandon Freeman and Heath Freeman (who co-stars) don’t have a particularly original story on which to hang their well-crafted nostalgia.
Ritchie (Shiloh Fernandez) is drifting through life with high school in his rearview and a dead-end job at the local roller rink. Meanwhile, his younger sister (Haley Ramm) is urging him to go to college, his parents (Brett Cullen, Melinda McGraw) are separating and his best bud Brent (Freeman) is back in town, his desire of being a pro motocross rider in shreds. So much change, so little time. And it all sounds so good as A Flock of Seagulls and Blondie blare from the soundtrack.
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There are some nice touches in “Skateland” — Fernandez captures that sense of restless aimlessness — but the sum doesn’t add up to more than its parts. Not much happens — a showdown with the town bad boys/bullies provides the spark for much of the action — and perhaps that’s the point. Everyone needs to kick-start their lives and get out of town.