||Anyone who grew up in Southern California will talk with both nostalgia and frustration about the periodic summers of drought in which the oppressive heat is exacerbated by a shortage of its antidote--fresh water. In 1975, a clan of scruffy, rebellious teens found a way to turn this dearth to their advantage, using the sloping bowl of empty suburban swimming pools to create a new underground sport--skateboarding. The development, explosion, and corporate co-opting of this now ubiquitous sport was the subject of Stacy Peralta's acclaimed 2002 documentary, DOGTOWN AND Z-BOYS. Peralta, one of the original skaters who came to be known as the "Z-Boys," has penned this dramatized account of his own story, a kinetic and gripping tale with dramatic turns reflective of the extreme crests and falls of those concrete waves.^When a shipment of polyurethane wheels arrives at Venice Beach's Zephyr surf shop, the proprietor, Skip (Heath Ledger), puts together a team of roughly a dozen local layabouts to try his new idea. At lightning speed, the three most talented become international stars, infusing sexuality, danger, and punk rock into a sport formerly associated with kneesocks and lite pop. LORDS OF DOGTOWN principally follows these three as they deal with sudden fame and fortune. Stacy (John Robinson) is the elegant, responsible beauty. Tony Alva (Victor Rasuk) is a frizzy-haired heartthrob with an overblown ego and penchant for pugilism. And Jay (Emile Hirsch), arguably the most compelling of the leads, supports his drug-addicted mother and is too cynical to be lured by the temptations of corporate vultures. Director Catherine Hardwicke, who fused gritty documentary techniques and high teen drama to great acclaim in her first feature, THIRTEEN, perfects that style here. The combination of a pulsating punk rock soundtrack, dynamic skateboarding sequences, and a gripping narrative combine in a forceful sweep that keeps viewers glued to the screen.