Friday, May 3, 2013

Skatesploitation Part 2: SO YOU WANNA GO THRASHIN'! THRASHIN'!

When it comes to skatesploitation, the 1986 film epic Thrashin’ is the proverbial Vallely elephant popping bonelesses in the middle of the room. It’s the titan, the heavyweight, the millstone hanging from the subcultural neck. Both reviled for its hollywood cluelessness and beloved for being a much needed primer on contemporary skateboarding for anyone cut off from the subculture’s epicenters in the 80’s, Thrashin crystallizes everything sickening and crucial about the mainstream’s commodification of skateboarding in the awkward middle years of the 1980‘s. Thrashin’ is a terrible movie, but it’s OUR terrible movie. Thrashin is woven deep into the fabric of a whole generation of skate culture. People still parody it in videos, and quoting any of a handful of “classic” lines from the film at a session is sure to get you a few chuckles or callbacks form anyone over 30. As a sign of its time, a time when the mainstream was trying to make a few quick bucks off skating, and kids on the fringes were salivating for  any skate knowledge they could retrofit from the mainstream, Thrashin’ is a potent but ridiculously embarrassing landmark, a snapshot of the barney culture’s commodofication machine trying its hardest and failing to box skateboarding into a lowest-common-denominator-soluble package.