Magazine article Variety

Only the Young

Magazine article Variety

Only the Young

Article excerpt

Only the Young

Docu

Of the past decade's many fine films on skateboarders and international skateboarding culture, ranging from Larry Clark's "Wassup Rockers" and Stacy Peralta's "Bones Brigade: An Autobiography" to Tristan Patterson's "Dragonslayer" and Serb helmer Nikola Lezaic's "Ulva Ros," "Only the Young" stands out as the most human and affecting. An unqualified hit in its True/False preem, Jason Tippet and Elizabeth Mints' feature debut will rouse fans during a strong fest run.

Although the new generation of skateboard docs has struggled in the marketplace, "Only the Young" could conceivably buck the trend, due to the filmmakers' warm feelings toward their likable and interesting teen characters, who feel less like documentary subjects than like figures J. D. Salinger might have crafted in a genial mood. The pleasurable visuals and unconventional soundtrack help, too.

The pic continues a little-noted trend of live-action filmmakers emerging from Los Angeles County-based CalArts, best known for its prowess in animation and experimental film, and staying close to home to make striking features. Tippet and Minis join fellow alums Lee Anne Schmitt ("California Company Town," The Last Buffalo Hunt"), David Fenster ("Trona") and Mike Ott ("Littlerock") in making a memorable contribution to what might be termed the SoCal indie film.

"Only the Young" is lensed in the northern L.A. suburb of Canyon Country, following close skateboarding buddies Garrison Saenz and Kevin Conway, as well as Saenz's on-and-off g.f, Skye Elmore, over a key period during their teen years. One's initial impression of these subjects is in line with the usual slacker-punk stereotypes, as the guys seem to bum around, spending their copious free time squatting in an abandoned house where they plan skating and music bashes.

That perception is quickly undermined by the guys' friendly, genuinely innocent manner as captured by Tippet and Mims' camera, which simply takes in what they do and say in the moment; the p.o.v. seems to be that of a friend simply hanging out with them, allowing for unfettered access and a gratifyingly direct, non-judgmental perspective.

This also allows the film to plunge into Saenz's and Conway's complex and seemingly contradictory stories. …

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