I never really know what to expect when watching a documentary other than how is it going to impact me in a human and emotional level. I walked into this screening not knowing much, which is my default way of watching any movie. I want the story to develop in front of me with no expectations and preconceived notions from me. The only thing I got out of the promotion is that it is a coming-of-age movie of three friends who grew up together and shared the same passion for skateboarding.
It was much more than that. It has pulled out so many tears and laughs from me in the hour and half I sat in the theater. Skateboarding was not just their passion, it was an escape of a life where they are neck deep in male toxicity in a small town with a rapidly declining economy.
Here is where you stop reading in case you don't want spoilers. Scroll down to the end.

Bing has been recording and have collected a decade's worth of footage of his friends. Who knew in his teen years that all those footage of his friends skateboarding all through the desolate streets of Rockford, IL would be used in a documentary telling their lives. As the movie progresses, secrets come out; stories of domestic abuse, violence, male toxicity, poverty starts intertwining the men's stories, many of which didn't even knew it happen during their friendship.
I was impressed with the editing as it bounced back and forth from old footage to present footage of themselves partying and skateboarding. The opening scene looked much like DTLA only there were no cars. In the QnA, a viewer asked how he managed to block traffic to get the skate footage and Bing replied, "We didn't block any traffic. There was no traffic, thanks to the 80's economic crash."

They formed a brotherhood, in which they had each other's backs, a family when their own blood families were too much to be around with. A few scenes broke my heart but one that was so memorable was when Bing himself confronted his mother on camera about the abuse he endured from his stepfather.
It was stated throughout the movie that this documentary was "therapy" for them as they were led to look at a past that they tried desperately to block out.
Ironically, I went with a college friend of mine, Cat, and before the movie, we somehow got in the subject of how people hide their shame. In college, we wrote a pivotal and important play. What started as a play about Filipino identity and culture, we brought out the hard topic that we don't talk about in our community and that was domestic violence. I initially wrote the skeleton of the play but as we went through the process, Cat came in as a co-writer and added her own personal experience of surviving domestic abuse. It was an emotionally heavy play but we understood the importance of this work. At the end of movie, we were surprised at how our previous conversation ran parallel to the themes of this movie.
I do highly recommend this movie. It is playing in theaters now in Los Angeles and will also be streaming on Hulu.

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