Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Movie Review //
Skate Kitchen

Every month I check to see what is new coming to both Netflix and Hulu.    When I saw the title "Skate Kitchen" coming to Hulu, I immediately made note of it and intended to watch it.    I'm not sure why, but I thought for some reason it was going to be a series so I was kind of surprised when I put it on and realized it was a film.   Also, I don't want my views of this movie to seem unfair but I will watch anything that has skateboarding in it.   Anything.  Because if you have bad acting and no plot at least you have some skating, right?  Luckily, this doesn't really apply to "Skate Kitchen", as it has characters you'll love and a plot worth watching repeatedly.

One of the first things that I need to get out of the way and say fascinates me about this film is that everyone skating (except Jaden Smith) is actually skating.   That is to say, the main core group of women who are the Skate Kitchen are not actors who can skate but rather skateboarders who can act.    This idea is something I still can't quite wrap my head around completely because if you were going to make a film about anything else it would be easiest to have those involved play the parts but could you imagine them trying to act? So I'm not sure how this works, but it does.

This is the story of a young skater named Camille who goes from Long Island to NYC to skate with what becomes more than just her friends-- they become a family.    There are several interesting points we need to make at this time about the film and how important I feel it is because Camille has to travel this far behind her mother's back just to do something she loves.   If you really examine why Camille's mother is against her skateboarding it's not because of the danger of it so much that she doesn't want her little girl acting like a boy, as you can see in scenes when she tries to "pretty her up". 

Just this part of the film alone is a great and understated way to say that not only do we not have to do what our parents-- we don't have to be who they wish for us to be and we need to pave our own roads-- but also that doing something that is primarily done by another gender doesn't make you that gender.   Can you imagine if parents were all "Don't be a doctor because that's a man's job!" (Which is, sadly, probably not too far from the truth)  But anyone can do anything, so go for it.

What happens next in the film is perhaps what is wrong with society today only, you know, with skateboarding.   Everything seems to be divided into two, does it not?  Politics is seemingly a two party game.  Everything seems to be "Either you're with us or you're against us".   So as Camille decides she wants to start skating with the boys, it brings tension between the rest of the women and her.   Now, this is probably the type of thing that people write entire essays about but it's something which shouldn't be taken lightly as a subject.

On one hand, you have the idea that Skate Kitchen is Camille's family.  She belongs with them and she should skate only with them.  The male skaters have all been just obnoxious to the women in general throughout the movie to the point where it's become physical.   So Camille seemingly joining them is a real betrayal and that should be clear enough.   At the same time though, the boys watching her skate could have given some of them a new perspective and sense of respect for not just her but women in general.

And that is the problem right there.   While joining them feels like a betrayal, it might earn not only her but the rest of Skate Kitchen some respect when the boys see she can do tricks they can't.    It's one of these fine lines of not crossing lines of trust but also if we don't interact with each other we'll never see life for anything more than just one side.   Like I said, someone could write an essay sized story about the complexities of this all and that is why you should watch "Skate Kitchen".

On the surface, "Skate Kitchen" seems like a coming of age movie for a young woman with family issues torn between two worlds.   It's that idea of her never really having a family and then finally finding one.   And, sure, if you want to view it as such, you can.   It can be so carefree and fun because there is a lot of great skateboarding in it as well.   But if you really want to sit back and appreciate all of the levels of storytelling and what is going on with how this movie was made you'll find not only one of the best films of the year but one of these films which will still be talked about for years and years to come.

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