Levelland

A "teen angst" skateboarding movie set in the flat Texas Panhandle town of the title, "Levelland" underwhelms. Scripter-helmer Clark Lee Walker appears to confuse philosophizing with whining and alienation with inertia. Theatrical outlook appears dim, though sports subject might garner cable slots.

A “teen angst” skateboarding movie set in the flat Texas Panhandle town of the title, “Levelland” underwhelms. Skateboarding isn’t the world’s most dramatic sport, particularly as practiced by cleancut mall lads with none of the grunge ethos that sparked “Dogtown and Z-Boys.” Scripter-helmer Clark Lee Walker, who apprenticed on Richard Linklater films, appears to confuse philosophizing with whining and alienation with inertia. He also lacks Linklater’s ear for dialogue and his actors, chosen mainly for their skateboarding ability, struggle gamely with stilted exchanges. Theatrical outlook appears dim, though sports subject might garner cable slots.

Two hunky towhead brothers suffer from small-town ennui — elder Nick can’t motivate himself out of bed, and temporarily winds up in a mental institution. Younger brother Matt lusts after a perpetually smiling blond beauty who played Emily to his “Our Town” George, but instead settles for an affair with his English teacher. Skateboarding with pals in empty pools and on purloined ramps brings fleeting karmic relief, but sport’s lack of community popularity (as opposed to, say, football) means kids cannot relate their passion to their surroundings.

Levelland

Production: A Levelland Sk8 production. Produced by Anne Walker-McBay. Directed, written by Clark Lee Walker.

Crew: Camera (color, Super 16mm-to-35mm), Mark Miks; editor, Mark Coffey; music supervisor, Keith Fletcher; production designer, Rodney Becker. Reviewed at Tribeca Film Festival (competing), April 21, 2003. Running time: 107 MIN. With Matt Barr, Layne McKay, Marie Black, Logan Camp, Jessica Schwartz, Erik Ostos, Jason Juranek, Simon Bingham.

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