Lords of Dogtown

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -3

As teenagers growing up in the Venice, Calif., neighborhood of Dogtown during the late 1970s, Stacy (John Robinson), Jay (Emile Hirsch) and Tony (Victor Rasuk) spend their free time surfing and skateboarding. While surfing is their first love, their listless hero and patron, Skip (Heath Ledger), thinks that skateboarding might be the next big thing. As a result, he shifts the resources of his surfboard shop toward producing skateboards and forms a skateboarding club, the Zephyrs, to train the boys for upcoming competitions. With their raw style, Stacy, Jay and Tony become instant successes, skyrocketing beyond Skips ability to support or direct them. Meanwhile, the boys begin to develop a whole new style of skating, inventing and practicing tricks in abandoned swimming pools. But as they grow in popularity, the boys feel the strain of money and success on their lives and relationships.

As a drama/documentary, Lords of Dogtown provides an interesting, though at times monotonous, look at the early history of competitive skateboarding. To this, the film adds a moderately engaging narrative about the difficult and tragic lives of the people in Dogtown. Their tragedies include broken, impoverished families, drug and alcohol addiction, and tired, overworked parents who barely play a role in their childrens lives. Unfortunately, the lack of parental authority in the film leaves teenagers playing adult roles and making adult decisions. Without proper guidance, they live reckless and wild lives. While the teens do make mistakes in their relationships and learn from them, much of their wild behavior, including premarital sexuality and marijuana use, is clearly condoned and glorified by the film. Together with some moderate violence and foul language, these elements earn Lords of Dogtown a negative acceptability rating.

Preview Reviewer: Shaun Daugherty
Columbia Pictures

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (29) times mild (hell 2, damn 1); moderate (b-stard 1, t-ts 2, other 1); strong (-ss 16, b-tch 2, SOB 4)

Obscene Language: Many (26) times moderate (scr-w 1, s-ck 1, other 2); strong (s-word 21, d-ck 1)

Profanity: Several (6) times moderate (OMG 3, G 3)

Violence: Many times mild (teens shove each other and throw food at each other, boy falls down when he hears loud noises, boys repeatedly fall off their skateboards and surfboards, man throws surfboards from a building, boy destroys a surfboard in anger, one youth approaches another with threats); moderate (boy punches man in the face, young men fight and punch each other, man repeatedly hits and kicks a youth, youth hits man with a skateboard)

Sex: Several times mild (youths shown kissing and caressing each other, teenage girl claims to sexually satisfy her boyfriend, teenage girl begins to undress in front of teenage boy with implied sexual activity, man shown in limousine with several partially undressed women); moderate (teenage boys and girls shown kissing and caressing each other while partially undressed and in bed together, young man shown with women in sexual poses and partially undressed)

Nudity: Several times mild (women shown with very revealing clothing a few times, young men and ladies shown in their underwear, man and woman shown in bed with sheets partially covering them)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Several times mild (popular skater signs a womans leg); moderate (teenage boy puts banana down his pants, boys jokingly suggest that a girl take off her shirt, a girl tells her boyfriend not to wear underwear when he is with her); strong (boy twists a girls words to make them refer to a sexual act, unmarried young man talks about wanting to have sex every night because of his popularity, youth talks about having sex with two different girls in one night)

Drugs: Several times mild (frequent use of alcohol by adults and teens, teens shown smoking cigars); moderate (teens shown smoking marijuana; drunk man slurs his speech, acts violently and stumbles)

Other: (Teens never attend school, law enforcement is shown to be ineffective and easily avoided by law-breaking teens, police officers referred to as pigs, teens damage property and wander around without any adult supervision or rules, teens make adult decisions and acts in reckless ways, boy is prescribed marijuana to relieve pain, security guard accepts bribe)

Running Time: 105 minutes
Intended Audience: Skate and surf fans of all ages

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