Deck Dogz
By Michael Fairclough

Cast

Jay Filkins... Sean Kennedy
Phuong Trang... Ho Thi Lu
Robert Bernadi... Richard Wilson
Exboobs... Glenda Linscott
Stickers... Thomas Campbell
Pigeon... Mitchell McMahon
Brizzo... Phillip Dodd
Jack Filkins... Anthony Cogin
Tony Hawk... Tony Hawk

Crew

Director: Steve Pasvolsky
Script: Steve Pasvolsky
Director of Photography: Denson Baker
Executive Producers: Richard Sheffield Gary Hamilton
Producers: Jennifer Cluff Bill Bennett

Presented By b:j films

Release Dates

Australia: January 6, 2005
Iceland: August 19, 2005
USA: July 25, 2006 (DVD Premiere)
Argentina: October 18, 2006 (Television Premiere)
Thailand: October 26, 2006

Box Office Takings
$144 942, AUD

Bibliography of Interviews

Steve Pasvolsky: http://www.reachout.com.au/default.asp?ti=1792

 
 

“Deck Dogz writer/director Steve Pavlovsky chats to Marianne from Reach Out! about why skateboarding rocks, advice for aspiring filmmakers and the importance of friends are never judge you to help you through tough times.”

 
 
 

Reviews

Triple J's Megan Spencer:
http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/review/film/s1275301.htm

 

“...unfortunately Deck Dogz is yet another  local film with an undercooked script...”

 
 
 
 

The Age Newspaper, Reviewed by Tom Ryan:
http://www.theage.com.au/news/Reviews/Deck-Dogz/2005/01/05/1104832177101.html


They're just teenagers immersed in their own reality...”


Cinephilia, Reviewed by Bernard Hemingway: http://www.cinephilia.net.au/show_detailed_review.php?movieid=2539&link=australia

 

''you’d be advised to look elsewhere for more meaningful cinematic pleasures.''
 

 
 
 
 

SearchSA, reviewed by Cristina Bruce: http://www.searchsa.com.au/review/Movie_Review.asp?id=159

 

''Deck Dogz’ is a fast, fun and exciting movie''

 
 
 

Buttonhole, reviewed by Mugawai:
http://www.buttonhole.com.au/review/id/304.html

     
 
 

Online Presence

Deck Dogz, despite an almost minute cult following, has little online presence. When a presence was shown it was more often then not a rather harsh review. Simply typing Deck Dogz into “Google,” search engine would reveal the almost compulsory IMDB website review and article followed by a barrage of reviews from independent sites and newspapers. The barrage however ends when clicking upon page two of the results. One interesting aspect however was the knowledge that a game based on the movie was available. Many internet sites will mention the movie yet fail to apply any useful piece of information regarding the movie other than the relevant names of cast and crew. The Most useful site by far has been the IMDB website, which I would take my hat of to because of its ability to find precise information about the movies with low profiles such as Deck Dogz. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0389911/

Part 2

Plot Synopsis

            He rides, he jumps, and he falls, the beginning of a journey unforseen by three rebellious teenagers. After the routine overweight security guard chase, the three skateboarders, Jay, Phuong and Robert ride away unsuspecting of the on coming police car. Jay clears, Phuong rides the bonnet and Robert seemingly wants to hit the car and subsequently does. This provides the precedent for the movie being Jay, staying as far from trouble as possible, Phuong, with good intentions yet still rebelling, and Robert who is already a lost cause for a respectable teen. From this ordeal, the three are slapped with a ridiculously high fine for damages of 10 000 dollars.

            This however only fuels the three in wanting to dissociate themselves from the norm. Jay, by far the better of the three in skating terms has an aspiration to be sponsored and this feeling begins the trio's journey to the Beech Bowl skate competition. The road however is not smooth when the trio are expelled and Jay's skateboard confiscated. In the midst of Robert retrieving the skateboard, Phuong leaves a gas tap running and as Robert enters with the teachers lighter, he accidentally blows up the school. The boys then become heroes with the students, and Villains with the police, teachers and family.

            Before the trip begins, Robert becomes involved in a drug deal, however he is unknowingly involved. Roberts’s brother, often a trouble maker as stated earlier in the movie has done a bad deal with drugs and the pair that was hard done by now has Robert in their sights. The three boys then embark on their skate trip yet Kurt and Pigeon follow hoping to be led to Roberts’s brother. Along the way, Phuong acquires an injury, and through the troubles Jays growing dislike to Robert's habits push to hard and Jay separates himself from the group. Robert and Phuong continue on and find Roberts brother, he is high, and unable to support himself but at the same time Kurt and Pigeon arrive and they must escape. Jay luckily also arrives within the complex and the trio become re-united, almost as a sign of strength when the three are together, they escape from Kurt and Pigeon unharmed.

            The trio then continue to the skate competition. Kick flips, Dark sides and many other tricks are performed and it is now just time that separates Jay from his dream. An influential cameo is  produced when Tony Hawk headlines the competition. To those who did not know, he is a 12 time skateboard world champion. Despite the occurrences outside Robert is caught by Kurt and Pigeon and again the three must use all of their courage to escape. Through the use of Phuong's elaborated bike pump gun, jay and Phuong manage to free Robert. During the struggle, Kurt takes Roberts lighter and little does he know the effects it will have in the future.

            Jay continues to the skate comp and the elaborate climax is produced. Jay attempts his signature move, the Kick flip to Dark side grind, or as the boys call it the, “spasm.” This proves to be harder then expected as the lovely policewoman known as, “Exboobs,” arrives on the scene and attempts to arrest Jay. Jay avoids her and begins his decent. His board however had other ideas and snaps mid-trick. The movie then closes many of the doors opened, being the loss of the sponsorship, the arrest of Kurt for possession of the Lighter which started the fire at the school. The movie finishes with the Deck Dogz meeting their idol Tony Hawk. I would like to state however a very nice character known as stickers, who without a major role almost became my favourite character within the movie. Constantly wanting to join the Deck Dogz, he tries and tries to perform the trick know as the Ollie. When he does he can join and the expressions and joy when he does added that little to the movie for me.

Review

I found the film to touch very shallow areas within me. I am only 19 and the boys although still I high school would be of a very similar age yet the structure and the dialogue made it very difficult for me too relate to any of the boys. This feeling was felt within the first five minutes of the film and it set the rest of the film up as difficult to engage. There were moments of brilliance however within film, little quirky points such as, “Stickers,” and his constant approach to landing his ollie. The plot for me seemed to far fetched and almost Americanized. It would be senile of me to suggest that drugs deals, violence and skateboarding are not apart of Australian life but the use of these elements in Australian Cinema can be argued, or be it within Australian Comedy/ Drama. Each stage seemed rather predictable and the cameo appearance of Tony Hawk at the conclusion left me feeling rather lame. Probably the best feature of this film was the use of animation throughout. The feelings and emotions of the main character Jay being shown through flip book cleared many things up and also added a nice touch to the film. Overall , with a weak storyline and almost boring characters I give the film 3/10, if I was 12 I would love it yet my mother wouldn’t let me see it because it is rated to high. I feel that aspect is the reason for its poor result at the box office.   

Critical Uptake

            As I stated before, Deck Dogz was not very critically reviewed yet when it was, the reviews were not promising. Many of the reviews were quite harsh including Megan Spencer from Triple J who stated that, “...yet another Australian film with an undercooked script.” Often however the occasional 5/5 would appear, and upon closer inspection it was from a member of the younger generation. This movie was designed for this generation and it has worked. I believe the most accurate review to be from The Age, were Tom Ryan gave the film 3/5. The main problem for the film was that the target audiences were too young for the rating given to the movie. Tom however has looked past the age and reviewed from the position of the targeted audience. One aspect of the film which I found to be widely praised was the use of the flip book scenes portraying Jay's feelings. Many reviews have stated this to be the best part of the film. An interesting point to be drawn from the audience reviews of the films is that the international review seems to be quite higher then the local review. For example, the reviews from the US on the IMDB website tallied from the audiences gave the movie an average of 10/10. It seems that the style used by Pasvolsky has fluttered in the international market. The film was very different to the conventional Australian film, in that no characters portrayed an average Australian. I think this has led to the poor showing within the Australian review.

Prior Work

Steve Pasvolsky: The most recognized works of Pasvolsky other than Deck Dogz would have to be, “Inja,” a film about a farmer and his dog. This short film was nominated for an academy award. However from this film little success has come for Steve that including, Deck Dogz Other features which Pasvolsky has worked within include “The Cut,”  “Everspring,” “Left Lane Ends,” “Bias, Satellite,” “Together 4 Ever” and “Reverb.”

Denson Baker: Little work from Baker has been widely publicised and, Deck Dogz seems to be his most major film. Other features include, “Sport,” “Together in the Middle of  Nowhere” and “Sunday”

Sean Kennedy: Sean has had little work in Features other than Deck Dogz, in fact the only other feature film he played in was, “Kick”. He has however made many Television Appearances such as “Blue Water High” and “McLeod’s Daughters.”

Richard Wilson: Richard, Before Deck Dogz had only starred in Television, yet since he has played in three major films, “The Proposition” 2005, “48 shades” 2006 and “Cubland” 2007.

Ho Thi Lu: Deck Dogz was Ho Thi's first feature film and since he has played in one other, The “Jammed” 2007 , about people trafficking.

Current Uptake/ Genre

            I feel that this feel has continued the trends of poor performances by Australian Films. The poor Box office and poor reviews seems to come common with an Australian film. It is almost the stage where a good film will be criticized because there is pre conceived feeling towards the Australian Film. Deck Dogz has tried to break free of the mould for conventional light hearted drama by mixing in varieties of humour. The film however is still classed within the drama genre due to the plot where it is the teen fighting his way into manhood, or as the blurb says. The film brings aspects of Humour and the classical teen pic to try and invent it yet both is either too lame, or even too false to be seriously accepted. I feel this was part of the films downfall, because it left the viewer confused as to exactly what the film was trying to achieve. At some stages for me, I though it was a mock film, making fun of teen pics and skating movies, which unfortunately is far from the case. The film does not fit into the Australian Cinema either. The Australian film usually involves a typical Australian character, yet arguably none were seen within the movie. Some points of the film felt more like an American street film of Gangs drugs and violence. The Films classification has thrown me of the most. Throughout watching the film I found myself struggling for emotional attachment to any character, which is what the drama would usually rely. This film would not be a god example to show for Australian Cinema. Comedy, Teen, Drama and road trip, are not usually stated together, yet this film is all. It couldn’t be used to define the all round results of Australian Cinema yet it could be used to show where Australian cinema is heading.

http://www.aftrs.edu.au/studwork/Grad01/gradbios/pasvstev.html

http://www.aftrs.edu.au/studwork/grad01/gradbios/bakedens.html