* * *1\2
Directed by: Graeme Clifford
Starring: Christian Slater, Steven Bauer, Art Chudabala, Max Perlich, Ed Lauter, and Tony Hawk
Brian Kelly (Slater) is a teenager and radically awesome skateboarder who just lives to be rad in that awesomely 80’s kind of way. He has a close relationship with his Vietnamese adopted brother Vinh (Chudabala) and has a close circle of skateboarding-obsessed friends which include Buddy (Hawk) and the wonderfully-named Yabbo (Perlich). Brian’s life is turned upside down (in a bad way, not a skateboardy kind of way) when he witnesses a murder and must piece together how his beloved brother was involved in the shady dealings. Det. Al Lucero (Bauer) is officially working the case, but Brian goes rogue, or, more accurately, goes rad to uncover the truth by himself. But it’s going to take all his gleaming power to solve this cube. Can he do it?
If you love the 80’s as much as we do, you’ll be in hog heaven watching Gleaming The Cube. The clothes and hair alone will send you into a state of awesome overload. Not to mention the music, most notably the title song by James House and “Brother to Brother” by Billy Burnette. The set design is also great, especially the posters in Brian’s room. Christian Slater as Brian is the ultimate California 80’s cool kid, sort of a cross between Zack Morris and Bart Simpson. Plus, if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like if Jack Nicholson was a skateboarding teen, here you go. Brian listens to skate rock on his walkman and T-shirts/posters are seen for The Cramps, D.R.I., Megadeth, Suicidal Tendencies and many more. One of Brian’s best fashion statements is his acid-washed dark denim jacket with a Metallica patch on the sleeve. We want to be Brian Kelly.
Interestingly, Vinh works at a Vietnamese video store called Balsa Video. It looks like it was a real location. I wonder if anyone who grew up in the L.A. area can confirm this? In other location news, Yabbo (we all need a friend named Yabbo) doesn’t have a room...he has an underground bunker, sort of a converted bomb shelter! How cool is that! Also, skateboarding isn’t just a mode of transportation or lifestyle for Brian. Whenever he’s feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, he skates hard to release his aggressions.
As far as the movie is concerned, you’ll be riding high with all the music, cool hair, clothes, decor, skateboarding and nostalgia, but if truth must be told, it is a little bit repetitive, especially the relationship between Brian and Lucero, and the running time could have been trimmed by a few minutes, but these are minor quibbles. No movie is perfect. There’s really a feast of things to enjoy in GTC, it almost feels disingenuous to point out any of its tiny flaws. There are some very cool stunts and even a blow-up or two. You just have to love it.
We definitely recommend this slice of 80’s magnificence to everyone.
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty