In my quest to find unusual cult and camp movies from years gone by I stumbled on this gem capitalizing on the then-rising fad of skateboarding and Leif Garrett's blossoming teen-idol career, and it is a hilarious if painful mixed-genre low-budget monstrosity that could have only been made in the 1970's. The story involves lots of hormonally explosive teens who form a skateboarding team to save unlikely leading man Manny Bloom (Allen Garfield) from death at the hands of mobster bookie Sol (Anthony Carbone.) A side note: for those of you who are familiar with "The Mighty Boosh," Garfield has an uncanny resemblance to the character of Bob Fossil, especially during the outdoor dining scene with his hair blown asunder. This thought gave me no end of amusement.
The team of skateboarders Bloom assembles are quite the ragtag bunch, fronted by genuine skateboarding legend Tony Alva as Tony Bluetile. Obviously Garrett (as Brad Harris) as the teen heartthrob is front and center, and given the material acquits himself perfectly adequately. In the commentary Alva revealed that Garrett learned to skate for the film, and in that regard, particularly given the focus on his character, I thought he was better than expected. Of course the film has ridiculous drama, even more ridiculous romance, a multi-colored school bus full of kids (where have I seen that before?), and a life or death conclusion where Sol commands Bloom to have Harris to take a dive. When Bloom refuses out of respect for his skateboarders (!) he knows that if Leif doesn't cinch the one mile downhill race he is a dead man. I won't spoil the fun of watching it for yourself to discover how it ends up.
The film is an odd little production featuring guest stars like Gordon Jump (WKRP's Arthur Carlson) as Leif's father, and from the really weird department, Orson Bean as himself. I also recommend watching the closing credits carefully for some humorous credits (if you can stand the incessant 1970's soundtrack.) Most amusingly to me was the Public Service Announcement at the very end of the film claiming that these stunts are extremely dangerous and not to try them without proper gear, etc. The DVD is much more ornate that you would expect as it has a commentary track with director George Gage and Tony Alva, which is modestly interesting (there's even a very brief lesson on the irrigation of Phoenix courtesy of Alva!) There are also additional interviews with George Gage and Tony Alva. (I found Alva to be more interesting.) The original theatrical trailer is also included, and it is hilarious in an overblown 1970's way.
"Skateboard" is not a good movie in the conventional sense, but it is entertaining as a camp classic. For those into skateboarding, 1970's culture, or B-movies this is a little-known gem of eye-rolling quality.