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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Fruit of The Vine
Fruit of The Vine
Plexifilm // Unrated // January 14, 2003
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by David Blair | posted April 11, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie

Some skaters will do anything to ride a pool. That's the basic premise of this interesting, yet often boring skate video, Fruit of the Vine. And although it does a very good job at uncovering the rarely understood subculture of pool riding, it ultimately leaves you wishing for it to end earlier than it does.

In the early 1950's life was good. Husbands made a lot of money, and wives had their dream home with 2.3 children. It's because of this sudden surge in wealth and personal lifestyle that we began seeing nearly every new home in the south western United States being built with a nice new in-ground concrete pool. Hey, what better way to show off your social status than to invite every single acquaintance over for a weekend splash at casa de Stevie? Well, as the years went on, that overabundance of wealth began to dwindle, and gradually the thousands of in-ground pools proved too expensive to maintain for the average homeowner. So the pools went neglected and unnoticed, that is, to everyone except the daring, albeit mischievous skateboarder.

In the early 70's there were an endless supply of abandoned pools for skateboarders to break their legs in. This is when the art of pool riding first took form. These early pioneers paved the way for the sport, and kick started a brand new subculture of aggressive skateboarding.

Fruit of the Vine, in it's own rough-around-the-edges way, is the brief historical account of pool riding and its legendary riders. This movie take the viewer around the United States to experience a multitude of pools both legendary and secret, used by past and present riders. The entire movie was shot with super 8 film equipment, and ends up being brilliantly gritty, and annoyingly bothersome at the same time. At first the footage looks so vintage, you'd swear it was shot in 1973, but as the movie plays on, you find yourself wishing the film had been shot with normal video equipment because the visuals begin to wear on the eyes. And even though I found the content intellectually stimulating, I found myself wishing for it to end ¾ of the way through just so my eyes would stop bugging out of my head. Also, it doesn't help that the pacing begins to slow down dramatically during the second half.

On the bright side, this movie does offer some entertaining illegal behavior, although nothing more serious than trespassing. Here you'll see just how far skaters are willing to go to skate a concrete in-ground pool. I was amazed to see skaters would spend days sneaking around abandoned pools, cleaning out some of the most rancid stink water you're every likely to encounter, just so they can have one full day of uninterrupted skateboarding bliss. Utterly astounding. See, these kids aren't all disobedient delinquents; some are actually willing to work for their fun.

Overall I found Fruit of the Vine very interesting and wholly enlightening, but in the end it was the slow pacing and irritating film technique that resonated in my mind afterwards. Skateboarders and extreme sports fanatics will love this film for the delinquent trespassing behavior and balls-to-the-wall skateboarding ability of the stars in this film, but unless you fall into this category you might want to reserve this for just a rent, if at all.


The DVD

Video: Fruit of the Vine is presented in 1.33:1 full screen. As I said earlier, this movie was shot entirely on Super 8. So as expected, this is a gritty, and very grainy film. The movie looks much older than it is. Colors are bland and washed out. Nothing in this video pops out with any sort of vividness or punch. But looks aside, the video transfer itself is pretty good. There were no immediate examples of pixelation or edge enhancement, and the print seemed free of any streaks or blemishes. This movie looks exactly the way it was intended too, so whether you take to it or not, is entirely a matter of personal taste.

Audio: Fruit of the Vine offers a standard 2.0 audio track. As is expected, this audio track is nothing to write home about. We have our familiar mixed bag of overdubbed narration along with some nice musical accompaniment. The dialogue, both dubbed and live, are easy to discern, and the music sounds great and fits this style of movie perfectly. So this is a fine sounding disc for this type of release.

Extras: For the extras we mainly get some "extra footage" and "interviews." These extras are nice to have, but really offer nothing different from what you'll see in the movie itself. The interviews are just the unedited versions from the movie, and the extra footage are shots that look like they might have been in the movie, but you just can't quite remember. Again, it was nice to have these included on the disc, but I would have liked to be given items of substance, rather than recycled material.


Final Thoughts

Fruit of the Vine is a great look into the widely unknown skateboarding subculture of pool riding. The movie is unique and offers a never before seen glance at this mysterious, and seemingly forgotten form of physical expression. However, for some, this movie will prove slow, and very fatiguing to the eyes. If you're a fan of skateboarding, I recommend this title whole-heartedly, if you're not, I'd rent it, if not skip it altogether. Rent It

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