Okaayyyyyyy, we’re about to check ourselves into a little VHS action for our third installment of the V-H-S review series, and I’ve personally never been more excited to abandon the tons of work that I have for a couple hours and write a shitty, meaningless review on a video that is antiquated, and to most kids out there irrelevant. BUT FUCK IT, why not, I love this video.
Let me just take a second here to run through the lineup of dudes (and chicks [shout out Alexis, I love you…no really, I love you]).
Jani Laitiala, Javier Sarmiento, John White, Wieger Van Wageningen, Wagner Ramos, Mike Chin, Alexis Sablone (love you), Jared Herman, Ray Barbee, Lance Mountain, Matt Beach, Bob Burnquist, and Rodrigo TX. Okay. Just take a moment and let that all soak in. Basically we have about 75% unknown, never heard of, or just on the come up. The remaining are fucking legends. And then there’s Rodrigo TX the phenomenon. ENOUGH ABOUT THE LINEUP THOUGH LETS WATCH THE VID.
Okay, I ordinarily wouldn’t review a commercial, but I have to at least comment on this shit. So obviously since this is VHS you can’t really skip over anything, and you just popped in this video and you’re like, alright, let’s see what this commercial is all about. Ok I see some Adidas Torrents doing a pretty nice nollie heel. Okay, who is this guy. Wait. Is that Matt Beach who I haven’t seen in ages because he dropped off, who is about to make the most insane comeback part of all time? Yeah. It is. So he’s rollin around the sidewalks like a pimp and stumbles upon guess who. Mark Gonzales. How about that. Dressed up as a kooked out hobo wearing a wooden sign. So what do they do, SET IT UP AS A WALLIE. Wow, and Matt of course does it no problem. Gotta say, even though this technically isn’t part of the video, it really sets the tone.
Moving on to the intro. Oh, cool, it’s Bob skating a fullpipe. Wait, he’s going pretty fas….WHAT ARE YOU DOING BOB WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO LOOP A 13 FOOT TALL FULLPIPE IN 2003?!?!? Oh, my. I am giving Bob the make on that one idegaf. So like many skate videos of this era, there is a little theme that they go along with, and skits acted out throughout the video. The theme of this video is that it appears to be set in the early 1900’s, and they are all part of a gang. Kinda weird, but ya know what kids, there’s a little thing out there called “suspension of disbelief”, so we’re gonna play along with it.
First part: Jani Laitiala
If you try and tell me that you were a Jani fan, or even really knew about this dude before this video, you are a pretentious prick, and to be honest probably have no fucking life. I just remember the first time seeing this being super hyped on the song, Cool ‘n’ Out, by Joe Strummer. Jani has a really unique style, that if it were in black and white, could’ve possibly been in a Darkstar video. But you know what, he’s not, and he’s skating to a great song, and he’s got massive pop and a dope-ass front crook. The switch frontside heel that this dude does over the rail is untouchable. Frontside crooked grinding everything. Nollie fs crook, fs crook down a rail pop over into bank, fs crook clipper. Wow. The ender is the most memorable clip, nollie backside heel the big four to ape scream self-cheer. Would I hate on it today? Yes. But it’s 2003. Jani, I back you.
I’m actually going to take a moment and watch this video for my own viewing pleasure, and then I’ll watch it again and comment.
Ok. If you didn’t do the same thing I honestly recommend that you do, right now. I can’t even explain how far ahead of its time this part is. Dude comes in like Arto in Sorry doing switch and regular mirrored lines. Then all of a sudden the dude starts doing about a thousand of the hardest tricks imaginable. Hardflip back tail. Switch gap tre flip noseslide. Reread that. That’s in the middle of his part. Now he’s just opening up on ya. Switch frontside flip manny fs 180 out. He is just DESTROYing Barcelona. Mercilessly. Ok, now we’re at Venice Beach, what’s he got. Fs bigspin the first sand gap, switch fs bigspin the second!! Whyyyy. Back to Barcelona, ledge to drop, front shove nosegrind, nice. SWITCH FS 5-0 BACK 180. Wow. Every trick is a banger and I just don’t have time to talk about them all. I’m gonna cut this short and say, watch the part, and we can talk about the first try kickflip backside noseblunt ender together in person. Thank you, Javier, for your unwavering excellence and the use of some Spanish war battle song.
Now John White was a pretty young dude at this time, and to be honest I was surprised that he had a full part. You have to imagine The Firm must have had some sort of plans for him, plans which clearly did materialize when he dropped off the fucking planet* immediately after this video. This part is pretty good. He does some rails and stairs. He does a cool no comply shuffle line. I’m not going to lie to you I’m not even watching it and I’m not going to. NEXT.
*I know he had a part in the Powell video, whatever, shut up.
^not interested in dvd, thanks.
Weiger Van Wageningen
Weiger, the inward heelflip god. This dude has one of the best back tails. It just looks like he could hang in there forever. Starts off just killing it fakie. Longest fakie ollie switch crooks in a line. The good thing about the way that he does it is that it still looks fakie, which is important. Tons of dudes out there who skate switch all the time (wenning, etc) that make it look regular, and easy. Fakie is fakie, it has a certain aesthetic. I was talking with Evan about this part and he made a great point. HAS WEIGER AGED ONE DAY SINCE THIS VIDEO. Weiger, if you’re out there, let us know. Anyhow, Weiger obviously slays pussy in this part and ends it with a bangin inward heel noseslide down LA High. Whabammm, good job.
The next part is a shared part with Wagner Ramos (xgames legend), Mike Chin, a name people know but can’t put a face to, and Alexis Sablone, just coming off of her success with PJ Ladd’s WHL. This part was always really strange for me, and to be honest I would just watch it for Alexis’ clips (I love you Alexis. Seriously). Unfortunately for all of us her clips are limited and it’s really a part pretty much worth skipping.
Jared Herman is basically the kid at the skatepark who you are scared to watch because you know that he has never landed 97% of the tricks that he is trying…but by some strange miracle he ends up making tricks. Not just tricks though, serious hammers (s/o Jim Greco CT native). Anyways, back to this guy’s part. The dude is skating to Flogging Molly. I don’t even know how to feel about that. The soundtrack has no consistency. About half of the video is original music by Ray Barbee, and the rest, apparently, is somebody’s mp3 player on shuffle. Let me correct myself though, he’s not skating to Flogging Molly, he is eating shit to Flogging Molly. The part looks like an excerpt from 411 911. I remember watching this as a kid being hyped on the kickflip nose manual shove it to manual kickflip out, and not understanding why it was in a pro video. I still don’t quite understand. I gotta be honest, he does switch frontside heel a double set, and does some really gnarly rails. Imagine Nate Sherwood on some heavy narcotics and you pretty much have this dude. Oh yeah and by the way his ender is him sacking on a rail.
There’s really not enough I can say about Ray’s part in this video. The song he uses (written by him) is perfect for the part. He’s all smiles and style, and it feels like every clip is filmed in warm, sunny, southern California. The kickflip nosemanual with the ice cream truck in the back, the backside 360 off the natural kicker, all of it just looks like fun. This is actually the part that really introduced me to Ray’s skating, and of course I was immediately drawn to it. Trick selection is on point in this part. The heelflip over the guardrail into the bank in Highland park is ridiculous, and he makes it look like a joke trick. This is just one of those parts you can watch a hundred times and never get bored of. And of course the step hop ender into the bank. Perfection. 10/10, A+, 100%.
Ok so next part is Lance’s. OK. Please don’t hate me here. So when I originally bought this video and watched it I was 15 and the only spot I skated was a manual pad at the local elementary school. My days of skating transition were still light-years away, which made this part not only irrelevant to me, but to be honest, really boring. THE WHOLE FUCKING PART IS SLOW MOTION. Come on Lance, what were you thinking here. I get it, you were skating the combi bowl a bunch back then and that was your thing. I go back and watch this part now and even though I get it, it’s still a really damn boring part. Compare this one to his part in Extremely Sorry. WORLD OF DIFFERENCE. Sorry Lance, I love you but… SKIP.
Matt Beach. Matthew. Fucking. Beach. This is the part that you watch the video for. He’s skating to another song written by Ray, and it couldn’t be more perfect. Dude comes blazing out first clip in Barcelona switch noseblunt, then quick nollie back heel. Come on. Laying down snapped switch flips down double sets, the longest crooked grinds, fs flip tailslide around a corner. Dude is absolutely killing it. Switch shifty flip, frontside lip the WHOLE J KWON LEDGE!!! This part is up to today’s standards. The first time I saw the noseslide to crook down the angled rail I didn’t even know it was possible. And this guy is doing it down a rail. The song starts to build up and he just starts burning. Again, I’m not here to list every damn trick, but the switch flip 7, switch tre 7 bang bang back to back is something you go home and tell your parents about. Changed your damn life. The last line is just the perfect close, back blunt kickflip a bench, fs 180 a huge bump to bar, and the quickest switch flip down a 6 immediately after. I love you Matt Beach. I love you so much.
All I need to say is Bob Burnquist skating to a song written for Bob Burnquist about how you can’t stop Bob Burnquist. My favorite thing about this part is that you get a nice little taste of street Bob. He’s front boarding to fakie, 50-50ing and lipsliding big rails. Then the vert section comes in. The thing about this dude is that unlike most parts, there really isn’t a trick you could say “oh, well I could possibly do that if I really tried”. Because you can’t. You can’t even drop in. Shut up. He’s so good that just doing one insanely difficult trick isn’t enough, he’s stringing them together into four or 5 trick lines. Channel gapping to frontside boardslide, are you fucking kidding me. Whenever I watch Bob skate I think of the Sal Masekela commentary during his X games perfect run, “WHAT… WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME BOB?!?!...WE HAVE LOST OUR MINDS…” I don’t think there will ever be a disappointing part to come from Bob, and this one sure as hell is not.
I just spent about 5 minutes (real time) trying to think of what I should say about Rodrigo’s part. I will say this. If ever there was a forgotten hero in the progression of skateboarding, it would be Rodrigo TX. Rodrigo was the all-to-humble, come out of nowhere, knock your socks off and leave you wanting more kid of the early 2000s. His part in Can’t Stop embodies this perfectly. Let me deter for a second and explain something. Skateboarding in the early 2000s was a bit different than it is today. You would go to a (terrible, most likely pre-fabricated) park, or to a street spot, with a large group of your friends, and everybody would be trying to learn. This is not to say that there wasn’t a certain element of fun, but the focus at the time was absolutely less on creativity, and more on technicality and how gnarly you are willing to get. There weren’t a million really good skaters, so the ones that were talented stood out. Rodrigo stood out. Rodrigo came to the United States, put out his part in Menikmati, and blew minds. How could a 15 year old kid be so good? Has Bob Burnquist injected some of his own blood into this child? These were questions we asked ourselves. Regardless, immediately after Menikmati came out, Rodrigo went to work on this; possibly the most slept on part of all time. In this part he is fakie heelfipping giant gaps, 50-50ing giant rails, switch heeling benches, and does maybe the best shifty flip all time. He shifty flips over right where the rail is so that it looks like a kickflip front board. Come on. Then the ender, switch flip back lip, AND HE DID IT TWICE. Are you freaking kidding me. Man.
Rodrigo TX: II
Wait. What’s this? No. Theres no way. He has a second part. Evan and I were talking about this and imagine if you were at the premier. You just had your mind blown and all you can think is that this must be throwaway footage or something. But no, it most certainly is not. If anything it is better than the first part. The first part was only a warm up. It just got ya wet. Now he’s about to take a dip. Fakie heel manny switch heel out. In a line he does backside nosegrind popout back 180, switch tre, and fakie 5-0 off the ledge to drop in Barcelona. Switch flip backside noseblunt a picnic table. Switch front blunt shove LA High. Switchflip back tail a rail. It’s all really just too much. I will go out and say that this was the one to beat before MJ in Fully Flared. The thing about it is that it has a lighthearted feel, as though he wasn’t trying too hard. A personal thank you to Rodrigo TX for this part, and what he did for skateboarding.
AND THAT’S IT! (the credits were done kind of weird with the video playing in a small square and NOBODY has time for that) so we’ll call it a wrap! Another great VHS in the books.
PLEASE BE KIND – REWIND