THE QUEST FOR THE MOST ’90s FILM OF ALL TIME
There’s an old joke that goes:
Q: What’s the hardest part of rollerblading?
A: Telling your parents you’re gay.
Allow me to revise:
Q: What’s the hardest part of watching a teen rollerblading dramedy that was dated the moment it came out?
A: Finding it since it’s out-of-print, then ordering it from the Warner Archives, where they press it on a blank disc as if it’s your 1999 Summer Jamz Campfire mix . Then they send it to your house because it’s cheaper than releasing hundreds that won’t sell to Sam Goodys.
You guys, I’m taking that as a sign, you guys. That’s the type of movie we’re looking for in this process.
- Actors Who Are Unquestionably Tied to the Decade- None
Clearly, director Rob Bowman—later of X Files fame—auditioned every actor in the world and decided that the butt-cutted [+1] Shane McDermott was the best man for the part, lack of stardom be damned.
McDermott plays Mitchell, a chillbro who lives for the California sun and the “mondo” waves, which is something he actually says [+1]. We open with a scene of him carving up some surf to the annoying Stewart Copeland guitar squigglybops [+1] that score every scene.
Note that this is from a geocities page.
Mitchell’s looking forward to another year of hassle-free west coast school, but he gets home and, before he can remove his Oakleys, [+1] his parents are all like, “We’re zoologists or something and we’re going to some far away country to study some shit and you can’t go with us for no reason so we’re sending you to Cincinnati to stay with a cousin you’ve never met.” Cincinatti! Bummer! All of a sudden, Mitchell is not so “psyched” [+1].
- Other Notable Actors/Characters- Jack Black, Seth Green, Edie McClurg, Patrick Thomas O’Brien [+10]
An unknown Seth Green co-stars as this unknown metalhead [+1] cousin, Wiley, who calls himself the Wiley-Man and The Wiley-Master [+1]. His parents in the film are played by That Girl Edie McClurg and P.T. O’Brien, who played Mr. Dewey on Saved by the Bell. We also get some Michael Pena and Alanna Ubach.
Shirt sayin’ you should quit. Hairline sayin’ fuck your life.
The Wiley-Master wheels his NBF around Cincy, but trouble starts when bullies—one of whom is named Snake, one of whom is named Blade, and two of whom are twins who wear and say the same thing all the time—pick on him for no reason [+7]. One of the bullies is also played by Jack Black in his first role; he’s somehow fat and skinny at the same time. We get a montage of the bullies playing pranks on Mitchell [+3], such as stealing his clothes while he’s taking a shower—no rollerblades. There are some pratfalls in there too [+2]. This is a hilarious twenty minutes or so.
Things come to a head when they invite Mitchell to a game of hockey “against the preps” [+1] in an attempt to embarrass him. He ends up scoring a goal for the wrong team, losing this unimportant pick-up game for the bullies. (“This isn’t over.” [+1]) But the other team is angry with him too now, even though he won the game for them? I don’t know.
We take a huge break from this tension with a romantic subplot. (This is starting to sound like War and Peace with rollerblades, right?) One trying-on-clothes-to-“I’m Too Sexy” montage [+5], one boardwalk date [+3], and one dream sequence [+3] later, the bullies squash the beef mysteriously and recruit Mitchell for a once-and-for-all prep showdown. The showdown: a rollerblading race on Devil’s Backbone, of course, which is “only the most dangerous hill in the whole town” [+2]. What are the rules for this climactic race, you ask? “There are no rules,” motherfucker [+1].
Say, during this Devil’s Backbone race, no one jumps over a car on rollerblades, right? (Yes, someone jumps over a car on rollerblades [+5].)
- Could the Plot Reasonably Occur with Current Technology?
No. Rollerblades. [+10]
- Hacking/Computers, Other Technological Notes
Why would you need computers with all of these rollerblades?
Our introduction to Cincinnati is pretty chill, bra. Wiley-Man’s dad has a rotary phone and TV Guides [+2]. Downstairs Wiley has a Christie Brinkley poster and refers to all video games as Nintendo [+2]. If you like Arsenio-style fist-pumps, Hair Club for Men references, and pantsing, this might be a film I would recommend to you as well [+3].
Black and white promotional still for newspapers? I want to go to there.
Maxed out to the max [+15]. Earrings, jean shorts, holey jeans, leather jackets, flannel, tucked-in turtlenecks, hiking boots, Cross Colors, jean-jacket vests, Reebok Pumps, a dress shirt open to a t-shirt, a lack of parallelism in a column that is quickly becoming tedious, tie-dye, sweatshirt tied around the waist, and “scrambled egg” hats.
’90s FILM CONVENTIONS
Cuckoo Sound Effects After a Character Gets Knocked Out [+1]
People Getting Kicked in the Nuts [+1]
Slide Transitions [+1]
Having Three Separate Taglines on Your Poster [+3]
Actors in Their Mid-Twenties Playing High School Kids [+5]
Ending on a Freeze Frame That Provides No Resolution [+5]
A 99 overall. Number two in our Quest is not too shabby, Airborne.