A pleasant, nostalgic homage to the late, great John Hughes, Skateland takes place in a small Texas town circa 1983, where 19-year-old Ritchie Wheeler (Shiloh Fernandez) wiles away his days at the local roller rink with his friends trying to figure out just what in the hell to do with his life; when a tragedy occurs, he’s forced to embrace the concept of “Boy’s Choice, Skate in One Direction Only” as he suddenly has to make the call sooner than he anticipated. While it doesn’t have the groovy vibe of Richard Linklater’s teenage Texas tales or quite the breezy, effortless charm of some of Hughes’ best work, Skateland has its own freestyle form that goes down easy and is often wonderfully entertaining; you’ll like hanging out with Ritchie and his pals, including his best friend, Brent (Heath Freeman), Brent’s hot sister, Michelle (Twilight‘s own Ashley Greene, most definitely hot) and the obligatory provider of comic relief and unexpected existential insights, Kenny (the scene-stealing Taylor Handley). Ultimately, Skateland is as meandering as its characters and doesn’t really have anything new to say about the trials and tribulations of transitioning into adulthood, but there are worse ways to spend your free time — and worse company to spend it with. You can’t beat that ’70s/’80s soundtrack, either, which features not one but two A Flock of Seagulls songs.
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