Making the Grades
The biggest surprise about Grind is that a movie like this wasn't made years earlier. Skateboards have held some prominent "cameo" appearances in various films, but the only movie I could come up with where skateboarding was the main attraction was Most Vertical Primate. And for some reason, I don't know that the skateboarding culture took the chimp seriously.
However, don't assume this addition to a relatively new genre means you can expect a highly creative experience. Following the road movie template line by line, Grind doesn't add a single unexpected twist in the path of four guys who determine to get paid to skate. Idolizing pro-skaters, they leave the streets of Chicago to make a name for themselves on the cement slopes.
Heading the pack looking for their big break is just-graduated senior Eric (Mike Vogel). Because he is unable to get the resources together to go it alone, he enlists the support of Dustin (Adam Brody)--along with his hard-earned college fund, goofy Matt (Vince Vieluf), and the older womanizing Sweet Lou (Joey Kern) who comes with the kind of sleazy van that was sung about in 1970's music.
On the highway the foursome continue their attempts at intercepting their hero--fictitious pro-skater Jimmy Wilson (Jason London), a guy they couldn't get near when his tour was in Chicago. Somehow they believe this star will see their "fierce tricks" and want to sign on the wannabes. Unfortunately fate isn't so kind. With Dustin's college fund quickly depleting, thanks to a combination of bad decisions and Sweet Lou's obsession with anything female, the group fears they'll be returning to part-time jobs at a fast-food chili stand.
The moments of skating demonstrations in this movie are breathtaking. Yes, the stunts are dangerous (just like many other sports), but the choreographed moves--many shot in slow motion--are fantastic on a large screen. What's unfortunate is it takes nearly an hour before we get to see any action.
Instead, the bulk of the script explores an infatuation with scatological and gross-out humor. Flatulence and bathroom behavior abound, to the point of railroading an average movie with exciting skating into something much more dumb and dumberer.
Considering the target age range for this film, many parents may be concerned by the other thematic elements that are included. The portrayal of women as mere sex objects (the exception being the one female skater), scenes of young people driving dangerously, and other sexual and language content make this movie the same old PG-13 Grind.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Grind.
The odds of becoming a professional in any athletic discipline are very high. Do you think these guys would have made it in reality? What things could they have done differently that would have still allowed them to pursue their dreams, while not sacrificing jobs and college funds?
Casey La Scala wanted to make the big final pro-skate demonstration in Santa Monica, CA, as realistic as possible. However, he admits to taking creative license and 0x201Cpopulating the demo with a lot of bikini-clad girls.0x201D Do you think the excitement of professional skateboarding could have supported these scenes without the need of women being used as scenery?