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
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.
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.
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