A lyrical telling of a boy’s sexual awakening and how it affects his day-to-day world of sports and buddies. Using only a surf rock score and sound effects, Skaterdater follows a little JFK-looking hotshot as he and his barefoot, banana-boarding buddies sidewalk surf around sunny SoCal. When he runs into a girl on her bike, twice, the kid ditches his pals to take her on an idyllic ride to a secluded pond. Well, secluded until his friends find him…and judge him! To get back in their good graces, he tries to win a downhill race, but he–and his hormones–bite it. Message: the fun’s over; put on a sweater; get married; scene.
This superb work was director Noel Black’s (Pretty Poison) first film after completing his MA in film at UCLA. Skaterdater was subsequently nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short and was awarded the Palme d’Or for Best Short at Cannes. Stylistically, the film doesn’t break any ground, but Black’s fun soundtrack and energetic camerawork (upside-down shots, mobile tracking shots, telephoto lens) keep the plot moving right along. And the insertion of suggestive landmarks (oil derricks pumping, nude fountains squirting) helps convey the boy’s inner turmoil. It’s not subtle, but neither is puppy love.