Professional skateboarder Tony Hawk is revered for his tirelessness and inventiveness, having invented more than 100 skateboarding tricks, according to “Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off,” a new documentary about his bumpy rise to fame. In interview footage in this movie directed by Sam Jones, Hawk also seems like an amiable guy.
For better or worse, “Until the Wheels Fall Off” best captures the real Hawk when Jones and his crew film him skateboarding on ramps, indoors and out, repeating moves for what can seem like an eternity and scrambling himself up every time. he wipes out .
Jones, whose first feature was an uncomfortably intimate documentary about the band Wilco (“I Am Trying to Break Your Heart,” in 2002), the film begins with parts of Hawk practicing and then switches to a more conventional mode. He chronicles Hawk’s boyhood in 1970s California and how he came into contact with the so-called Bones Brigade, a group of skateboarders led by sports pioneer, Stacy Peralta (who has become an outstanding documentary filmmaker herself).
Contemporary interviews with Hawk’s peers reveal a gray group reminiscing about glory days and subsequent declines into obscurity. Hawk, now 53, went from being a teenage star to a young man looking for a job. The creation of the X Games gave Hawk a renaissance and he made the most of it. Too much, he admits. Fame is ‘the worst drug’, he thinks.
More than a portrait of an individual athlete, the film develops into a slightly terrifying portrait of coercion. Although he’s officially retired, Hawk can’t stop. His skating friends and rivals say they have damaged their bodies so badly that they can’t sleep at night because of the pain. (The phrase “until the wheels fall off” comes not from Hawk but from professional skateboarder Rodney Mullen.)
Though Hawk is now portrayed as a much more responsible adult than he’s ever been, Peralta (for example) still believes the superstar needs to be talked about his relentless self-punishment. Last month, on the eve of HBO releasing a trailer for this film, Hawk even broke his femur when he missed landing with a trick called the McTwist — a “strange irony,” he said on Instagram.
Tony Hawk: Until the wheels fall off
Not judged. Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes. Check out HBO platforms.