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Film / The Bones Brigade An Autobiography

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from top left to right: Rodney Mullen, Tony Hawk, Mike McGill, Lance Mountain, Tommy Guererro. Bottom: Steve Caballero

"They weren't just guys who dominated competition, but they were also skateboarders who invented some of the most revolutionary maneuvers out of that entire decade."
Stacy Peralta

In the 70s, Stacy Peralta was at the top of his game when he and his team, the Zephyr Skateboard Team, won the freestyle competition by pulling surf maneuvers on a skateboard. However, just as the team enjoyed the success they'd achieved, it dissolved almost immediately. From that day forward, Stacy wanted to create a dream team that not only was great but also lasted long, made up of young amateurs with great potential who nobody ever heard of to get them to progress further. He consulted his creative cohort, Craig Stecyk III, about how to name this brand new team without the word 'skateboard' or 'team'. Craig shrugged and answered 'Bones Brigade'.

Thus, a team of legends was born.

Distributed by Vans and produced by Union Avenue, this is a documentary on The Bones Brigade, mainly focusing on four of its original skaters: Tony Hawk, Rodney Mullen, Steve Caballero and Lance Mountain, as well as other skaters like Tommy Guerrero, Mike Vallely and Mike McGill; it takes the viewer into Stacy Peralta's creation of the Powell-Peralta company after the sudden disbanding of the Zephyr Skateboard team, and the start of the Bones Brigade, their rise to fame, their revolutionary contributions to the skateboarding community and the emotional roller coaster of each individual skaters.


You can buy the digital version of the documentary among other things, including reissues of the skater's classic decks, here.

The Bones Brigade: An Autobiography provides examples of:

  • Abuse Mistake: Tony Hawk had so many visits to the hospital from skateboarding as a kid, one of the doctors pulled him aside because he suspected that Tony was being beaten by his parents.
  • The Ace: Of course, this is the Bones Brigade we're talking about, especially so for Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: At one point, Tony's peers looked down on him solely because he was doing tricks that people viewed as 'gimmicky' and 'circus tricks' with no style.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Craig Steyck III was tasked to create an advertisement of the Powell Peralta and the Bones Brigade(which he named) and succeeds very well in that. However, Stacy said that the weird thing about him was that he was a 'political pyrotechnician' but that did not capture as much of the man's sanity than Craig's own words after that.
    Craig Steyck III: "I would love to be able to tell you I'm wearing woman's underwear and I don’t know why I'm wearing woman's underwear, but I'm not."
  • Advertisement:
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Craig, for sure, but it contributed well into his artistic creativity and the reason why Stacy wanted him to be in charge of advertising.
  • Complexity Addiction: Tony, for sure. He wanted to do as much tricky skateboard manoeuvres as he can, despite being criticised for it. The most prominent example being his evolution of his McTwist: First he done a McTwist, then moved on to one foot McTwist, then body varial McTwist, till it ended in an ollie McTwist, as in doing a McTwist with no hands grabbing the board!
  • Determinator: When Tony Hawk rode a skateboard in a pool in his early times, his first biggest moment was doing a rock n roll on top of the pool and falling over when he roll back down, knocking his teeth out during the process. Tony Hawk took it to stride, knowing he won't quit skateboarding and that goes for people who kept bumming him down for his 'circus tricks' or being accused of exploiting his connections with his father being a head of the National Skateboard Association.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Steve was in one, as seen in the Laser-Guided Amnesia entry below.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Stacy mention that Craig Steyck III was a genius, to which the documentary followed it with a brief look at Craig['s portfolio, but also mentioned that he was weird in a way. Cue the next clip of Craig uttering gibberish about women's underwears.
  • For Your Own Good: Ultimately Rodney's dad's goal when he reprimanded Rodney to stop skating to pursue studying as he believed that there is no good future for skaters. Considering where Rodney is now...
  • It Will Never Catch On: Duane Peters particularly never really took Tony seriously for his needlessly complex tricks, an absence of style and wearing too many pads.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: For Steve Caballero, he can't exactly remember his childhood except that it is rough and that his dad left the family when Steve was eleven.
  • Meaningless Meaningful Words: Tommy Guerrero stated that Craig's sense was so out of this world that his paragraphs could so many things and Tommy have to decipher intensely on his words just to know what is he talking about.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Lance Mountain, when in comparison of Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero and Rodney Mullen.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Rodney, Tony and Lance were eligible for this as they were kids when Stacy picked them up but the one that stands out is Steve, Stacy commented that Steve was the smallest skateboarder he ever seen, even compared to other kids like Tony Hawk, yet Steve is able to do tricks that he shouldn't be able to do, hence the reason why Stacy wanted him to be on the Bones Brigade.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Bones Brigade in general. Each of them, especially Tony, Rodney, Steve and Lance, has their own flaws and emotional conflicts to overcome and they were banded together by their amazing skateboarding abilities. The Bones Brigade, and its company Powell Peralta, grew into one of the most successful teams and company in the world, disbanded only over business ideals between George Powell and Stacy Peralta.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Tony was accused of this because his father, Frank Hawk, was a head of the National Skateboard Association and was responsible for timekeeping, picking judges and organise events, which people jumped to conclusions like Frank arranging a competition at a skatepark where Tony is good skating at or given more time to practice.
  • Stress Vomit: Mike Mc Gill did one during a competition in Texas behind the ramp due to the stress of the consequence if he did not win the contest. This was back in the time when skateboarding was all about the contests and if lost, the skaters will lose their pro status and would have stop pursuing their dream.
  • Technician Versus Performer: The main heat between Tony Hawk and Christian Hosoi. While Tony can do most of the tricks and invent a few more, he almost always did it like, no regards for style, in contrast of Christian who was all about being the best stylish graceful vert skater and popular among people who hated Tony Hawk. That isn't to say that Christian did not need to keep up with Tony with learning tricks, though.
  • Time to Unlock More True Potential: Stacey Peralta generally looked for in skaters was potential and whether or not he can mentor them to allow to use their full potential. It works.
  • Unsportsmanlike Gloating: Played for laughs by Lance Mountain, Mike Mc Gill was bummed out during the first road trip of the team, so Lance took this opportunity to tease the heck out of Mike.
  • Quirky Household: Lance Mountain's family. His schoolmates thought Lance's family is like the Adam's family living on top of the hill.
  • Wallpaper Camouflage: Stacy propositioned to Tony that they'll paint Tony's face so that it'll match the graphics of his pro model deck. For an ad.
  • What the Hell, Costuming Department?: Invoked by Rodney and Tony as the former was somewhat embarrassed to arrive to a contest in too much pads while Tony was criticized by his peers for that as well.
  • What Were They Selling Again?: Craig's strategy of advertising the Powel Peralta boards. Like shooting a photo of Steve Caballero near a Cadillac headlights and lighting a Cadillac on fire, near George Powell's parent's house. Justified that Stacy specifically stated that he does not want generic product shots and Craig was strongly against putting a skateboard in a skateboard ad, saying that the magazine should do the talking about the board and Craig and Stacy do the 'ideas and images'.