North Hollywood Review — A Skater Asks Which Way to Turn

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In her North Hollywood review, Lisa Johnson Mandell notes the skater coming of age film has a cuttingly creative edge.

North Hollywood reviewIt’s perfect timing for the release a movie about a recently graduated high school senior attempting to decide what his next move will be. This unapologetic indie with a cuttingly creative edge will ring poignantly true to many, those of us who are familiar with the North Hollywood neighborhood among them.

Michael (Ryder McLaughlin), is at the same crossroads we all face when we graduate high school. What’s next? Michael is unique in that he’s a particularly gifted skater and his talent gives him an in with the local pros. What he really wants to do is postpone college, acquire lucrative sponsors and swag, and skate through the next phase of his life.

But his working class dad, (Vince Vaughn, in a surprisingly touching role) thinks skating is a pipe dream, and pressures Michael to either go to college or join the construction line with him. His first ever girlfriend (Miranda Cosgrove), who is going to Stanford, and his less talented best buddies, complicate his decisions even further.

Michael is not a particularly likable or engaging character, which makes the film seem all the more real. He’s slow to react, quick to lie, and somewhat less than witty. Insecurities, among other things, ooze from his pours. in other words, he’s your basic 18-year-old, not some nostalgic screenwriter’s idea of one.

Director/writer/producer Mikey Alfred brings authenticity to the film, based on his position as the founder of Illegal Civ, the popular skateboard company, and of the first teen movie studio—oh yes, and his his childhood tutelage under film icon Robert Evans. The film takes form from his own childhood experience growing up in—where else?—North Hollywood.

Pharrell Williams, in the credits as a producer, also adds gravitas to the production. The throwback music in the film is surprising and delightful — not at all what you’d expect from the genre

But this is no typical coming of age film, no typical skater movie. It’s bold and creative, yet subtle and edgy, with messages that will creep up on you, rather than accost you. It’s not for everyone, but it is just the thing for these times.

Not Rated

1 Hour 33 Minutes

If Lisa Johnson Mandell’s North Hollywood review makes you want to skate out to a theater to see it, find out where it’s playing on

In her North Hollywood review, Lisa Johnson Mandell notes the skater coming of age film has a cuttingly creative edge.

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and seen on Rotten Tomatoes. She recently founded the new lifestyle website, where celebrities and experts share their 5 favorite things in the fields of entertainment, lifestyle, wellness, home and food & drink.


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