November 26, 2012

No Country For (Some) Old Men

Pretty Sweet premiered at the Familia HQ Sunday night.

A small roar filled the skatepark anytime a recognizable Minneapolis spot appeared in Pretty Sweet. This enthusiasm is understandable from us seemingly much-maligned-Midwesterners, who are very much in the middle, yet still periphery to the periphery of the country. Therefore, anytime the perhaps last last biggest video, ever, condescended to give our fair city a piece, a piece we gave back. Perhaps the most enthused in the building were the youngest people there. A group of 12-year-olds sat to my left. They not only provided stellar one-liners at the close of each section (old video premiere going souls, they must be), but they swelled with hometown pride when Cory Kennedy showed up at the History Center, or when whoever else skated whatever else. As long as it was here.

Quartersnacks wrote smartly about Pretty Sweet, calling it "perhaps the first skate video made with a generational shift in mind." I agree, and building on that, without getting all that silly about it, it also had globalization and localization in mind. Fit in plenty of trips to China, a kid from Kansas, and seemingly endless amounts of footage from all over the U.S. (from at least some of the team) and we have a video that brings cupcakes for everyone.

The 12-year-olds felt included. Transported 18 years into the future they would not construct the same shoulder-chipped introduction as I. What doesn't seem like that long ago, is, when the only time your hometown showed up in a video was a 411 Roadtrip. You knew Moses Itkonen skated the Hyatt Ledges in Let The Horns Blow because he skated the Hyatt Ledges in the Let The Horns Blow. It was a pact, a trust, a smell gesture meaning we were a part of it that existed elsewhere, though we'd probably have to move to gain full membership. Nowadays, the kids expect, and deserve full membership, even if they stay at home. Skateboarding came to them.

Moving forward, possible spoilers (but nothing specific) below the picture, unless you're already bummed I said so-and-so was at a certain spot in St. Paul, in which case you've already stopped reading.

Video premieres can and should be hard on the senses. This event, in particular, was a Katrina X Sandy category brostorm in the best of ways, co-mingling the 12-and-under crowd with dudes that appeared in their senior portraits with Mariano's first Girl board. The sound mixer was maxed out (I saw it with my own two eyes) and the waves bounced through my clothes with memorable force, rivaled only by the All In Triple Rock premiere that was a true chest-thumper. In short, everybody was pretty well blitzed.

Pretty Sweet is chaotic, definitely a little extra-chaotic in that environment. The well-done intro is the longest shot in the video by magnitudes; the amount of clips that must have been on Ty Evans' final Final Cut timeline is mind-numbing.

For all the hemming and hawing about possible soundtrack Ty faux pas, the music fits, altogether, with some definite nods to The Current's type of offering and the past (they most likely paid out for music rights, all worth it). It all fits in with Girl's Now/Nostalgia, the hashtag and the legends.

We watched the video on BluRay, finally a forced but welcome use of all the HD that's out there. Even projected on a white cinder block wall, the clarity was impressive, though the wide format fisheye is still jarring, yet cool.

Ok, skateboarding.

Who showed and who blowed? Everybody and nobody, respectively. It's a weird one, after all, since this video represents an actual generational shift. Daniel Castillo, by consensus, saved himself with a grab and Rick Howard decided to show up in skits and perhaps more in the bonus. As the previously linked QS write up notes, Pretty Sweet showcases the young dudes and the medium-aged dudes the most. Full, comeback-type video parts for some of the guys don't materialize, though, there's still hope in the bonus (bites bent thumb).

As for more specifics? Vincent Alvarez opens the video and bludgeons with a mix of sketch and finesse, going back to the original "Lowcash" with skate rat wheels and his weird world of skating like only himself. Cory Kennedy got "best in show" votes with a combination of a very proper song and skateboarding which befits the expectations surrounding the dude, generally winning over dissenters as "First Part B" if we're to look at this as a combo video. At this point, I'm pretty sure a lot of beers, on video, have already been guzzled. The fact that these dudes are a unit is shown so hard and heavy that that '97 Shorty's team that went horseback riding together is put to shame, convincingly. Yusuf Islam tries to abide.

Chocolate's "Big Three" ams, Raven Terhsy, Stevie Perez and Elijah Berle show up and put up, to mixed reviews by the mostly old dudes that I talked to, though it must be noted that these guys can do everything. They all have clips that are outright shocking from an expectations point of view, and it must be left to everyone's discerning tastes to speak to each's relevance and so forth (if I had to choose, I take Berle).

As for the rest of the Girl and Chocolatiers who don't have full parts, many have nothing left to prove, and the video allows them to prove just that. Kenny Anderson does team handsome with his usual aplomb, harkening back to Planet Earth/Rhythm with nollie flips out of stuff. Speaking of flips out of stuff, Chris Roberts nollie heelflips out of whatever he can, and it's all done very well, slow-motionly. Brian Anderson does one of the best tricks in the video, aging popstar and all, while Biebel does his standards and looks just a little bit weird in straight-slim.

Malto has a Cody Davis-seque intro, minus the weed but concordant on the pj's and it's way better. If anyone knows exactly what song Malto should skate to, Pretty Sweet handles it and the kid put out his most defining part yet.

I heard from a very reputable source, last night, that Marc Johnson skates like "he's so alive," fluid, and just on it. He might very well make kids try to learn late flips, again, and overall skates like a dude that's as amazing as he ever was and yet unknowing of any outside expectations. He's a man untethered with an amazing song and a SOTY behind him; if there's anything I'd rather re-watch at 1:18 a.m., it's him.

If there is anything or anyone who will make 12-year-olds true believers in a company that might cause cognitive-dissonance due to its name, all the while satiating the 30 plus crowd, Guy Mariano is it. Us, we, we're just happy to see the guy. The kids? He has unnamable tricks at the ready. Last part, here you go.

Girl and Chocolate are as big-tent as any outfit out there and they're producing plenty of content, but more importantly, a feeling. The feeling is something that the Crailtap camp understands; the old men and the kids all guzzle beers together; listen to punk rock and metal and gangster shit and modern rock with convincing convincingness; they're all friends too. Pretty Sweet actually gave me the feeling that skateboarding is pretty ok, hewn in a fabulous postmodern world where who knows if MJ's setup really disassembled?

I suggest you buy Pretty Sweet from a skateshop near or far from you when it becomes available. It just dawned on me that this is one of the few recent videos that would stand in for some of the few videos (411 #10, Second Hand Smoke, Mouse) that I watched over and over when I was 14. Yeah, it captured, or re-captured something with me, and it's heartening that the kids to my left seemed to get it too.


Anonymous said...

I concur MJs part is the most rewatchable

Benjamin Ragsdale said...

Where was Pappalardo?

Anonymous said...

pops got cut!

Anonymous said...

*with a bandsaw, making a table/stool.

russian mail order bride said...

yikes, didn't even notice "Pops" wasn't in there. I hate to say it, but some of those dudes are showing their age. how time flies...