(director/writer: Mikey Alfred; cinematographer: Ayinde Anderson; editor: Alex Tsagamilis; cast: Ryder McLaughlin (Michael), Miranda Cosgrove (Rachel), Mikey Alfred (Mr. Laface), Vince Vaughn (Oliver), Angus Cloud (Walker), Nico Hiraga (Jay), Aramis Hudson (Adolph), Tyshawn Jones (Isiah Jordan), Bobby Worrest (Nolan Knox); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Pharrell Williams, Noah Centineo, Mimi Valdés, Malcolm Washington, Yusef Chabayta, Andrew Chennisi, Carmen Cub: Amazon Prime Video; 2021)
“It should provide its target Gen Z skate-boarding audience with a visually great looking coming-of-age film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The 26-year-old skate-video impresario Mikey Alfred makes his directorial debut with this stylish but clunky skating film, which is semi-autobiographical. The ads call it the first-ever movie about becoming a professional skater. It should provide its target Gen Z skate-boarding audience with a visually great looking coming-of-age film; but, hey bro, its dialogue is in slang and sucks.
The plot is built around a high school kid who must decide between choosing the future his father wants or of following his dream of becoming a pro skater.
The youngster already has experienced a lot in his short life. Alfred along with his cinematographer Ayinde Anderson started a skate and clothing brand (Illegal Civilization) when he was 12, and he went on to co-produce Jonah Hill’s skater coming-of-age tale, Mid90s, when he was 23 (which is why this film comes off as seemingly a companion piece to that film).
The director is played in the movie by Ryder McLaughlin. In real-life Mikey grew up in North Hollywood with a father who had been to prison in the eighties. On his release starting his own construction business. His mom was a mall worker before landing a job with the legendary producer Robert Evans as an assistant on the film about Evans called “The Kid Stays In The Picture.” In a Hollywood article, Evans said “Mikey is the first kid I knew who reminded me of me.”
The film story is about a high school senior in North Hollywood who wants to pursue his skateboarding dream as a pro. But his father (Vince Vaughn) wants him to go into the construction business with him or get a college education. Real-life pro-skate friends Nolan Knox and Isiah Jordan (Bobby Worrest & Tyshawn Jones) encourage him to go pro, as do his immature social friends Jay (Nico Hiraga) and Adolph (Aramis Hudson). The ambitious kid must also deal that summer with his longtime crush Rachel (Miranda Cosgrove), as he starts to doubt what is the best move for him and as she gets ready to attend Stanford in the fall.
It’s a personal, slice of life film that didn’t mesh with me, but with the right young audience it should get over. Though the slight plot might grow tiresome if you could care less about skateboarding.
REVIEWED ON 7/13/2021 GRADE: C