Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Gleaming the Cube" (1989)

“The title is skateboarding jargon for reaching the ultimate—which this movie never does.”Leonard Maltin wagering a guess and sneaking in a burn in The Leonard Maltin Movie Guide.

This week’s movie is Gleaming the Cube the world’s only crime thriller centered around skateboarding. Christian Slater and his frosted blonde hair star as a rebellious young skater who becomes embroiled in a smuggling ring after the mysterious death of his adopted brother.

The film is directed by Australian Graeme Clifford, who worked with Robert Altman on a few movies and directed an episode of “Twin Peaks,” and written by Michael Tolkin, who wrote The Player (hey!), but also Deep Impact and Nine (aww).
It’s difficult to tell what to expect from Gleaming the Cube, considering that press on the movie is pretty much limited to a single contemporary Washington Post review. It isn't even available on Netflix. The Post review calls it “ridiculous, but good,” adding that it looks more like an after school special than an actual movie.

The trailer makes it seem like one of a rash of movies from the late 80's that tried to capitalize on a hot new trend, but didn't bother getting bogged down with minor details like "research" or "understanding the culture." Kind of like if The Wizard, but with skateboards instead of power gloves. I suspect that the film is darker than that, though, likely taking itself way more seriously than any movie featuring a young Tony Hawk as a supporting player ever should.

The film opens with a scene that features Slater and his crew radding it up on an active airport tarmac, so if one thing is for certain, Gleaming the Cube should prove to be a ridiculous piece of culture-vomit.

“Gleaming the cube,” by the way, is a term coined by pro skater Garry Davis in a Thrasher magazine interview.

It doesn’t mean anything.

- Kris


  1. You're wrong Kris. It means EVERYTHING.

  2. "Slow down, ya sidewalk surfin, cube gleamers!" - Groundskeeper Willy