Two weeks after its debut, 'Pretty Sweet,' the skate film from Chocolate and Girl, became the second-best selling video on iTunes, ahead of 'The Expendables 2.'
Its success isn't surprising. The film comes from two powerhouse teams. Prodigies from the '90s tech era, like Mike Carroll and Berrics co-founder Eric Koston, make appearances. We meet new talents, like Raven Tershy and Elijah Berle, and get to see much-anticipated parts from pros like Street League champion Sean Malto, Brandon Biebel and Mike Mo Capaldi, whose footage riding atop a cinderblock wall put him on the map at age 15.
But equally as alluring as the riders is one of the men behind the camera: Spike Jonze, who co-directed the movie with Ty Evans and Cory Weincheque.
Born Adam Spiegel, Jonze grew up riding bikes and skateboarding around Bethesda, Maryland. He wrote for several BMX zines and photographed the Brooklyn Banks for Transworld. His first film was 'Video Days' (1991), the famous Blind short featuring Jason Lee. Girl Skateboards began in 1993, when Jonze partnered with Megan Baltimore and pros Rick Howard and Mike Carroll. Chocolate was founded the following year.
While skating and managing the companies, Jonze moved into directing music videos in the early 1990s and was quickly working with REM, Bjork, Beck, the Fatboy Slim, and of course the Beastie Boys. In 1999 he directed his first feature film, 'Being John Malkovich,' and was nominated for three Academy Awards.
'Pretty Sweet' is a true Jonze project. He stretches a genre, which is known for five-minute parts from each pro. Instead, he opens with a long, clean tracking shot before developing a story that concerns two rival gangs, unsure about what or why they're rivals, or for that matter even gangs. They just know they love to skate, and for now that's enough. If that weren't enough, Jack Black, another Hollywood recluse, makes a cameo.
Cole Louison is the author of "The Impossible: Rodney Mullen, Ryan Sheckler and the Fantastic History of Skateboarding."
- Sheckler Sessions: Adventures in Hawaii
- Decenzo and Biebel skate and play in Colorado
- Beasts in the East hit North Carolina