Blu-ray/DVD Review: Skateland and If…

by Eric Melin on September 12, 2011

in Video Reviews

This review originally appeared on KTKA-TV and KSNT-TV, Kansas First News.

Although it was just in theaters a short four months ago after a Sundance premiere, the coming-of-age-in-the-early-1980s movie “Skateland,” directed by Anthony Burns, is already out on Blu-ray and DVD. It treads the well-worn territory of the ‘boy who doesn’t know what to do with his life after high school,’ but Shiloh Fernandez is pretty inert in the lead role and Ashley Greene (from the “Twilight” movies) doesn’t have that much to do.

The one place “Skateland” succeeds is with its art direction. Everything is a bit romanticized, but the look and feel of a small Texas town just as the disco era ends feel right. That said, “Skateland” is no “Dazed and Confused.”

Also new on Blu-ray is another tale of youthful confusion. Before “A Clockwork Orange,” Malcolm McDowell played a rebellious student at an English private school in “If…,” from the Criterion Collection.

This movie mixes black and white and color—and the real with the surreal—as McDowell and his classmates get angry and eventually take revenge on their teachers. The movie caused quite a controversy when it was originally released, and even today, the ending of the film feels pretty out there. Director Lindsay Anderson would go on to make two more movie’s with the rebellious Mick Travis character, as embodied by McDowell.

“If…” is more than a little dated, and some patches get pretty long, but it feels alive … and that’s important. That said, if you want a funnier, more contemporary version of this film, you can always rent “Heathers,” which also still feels more shocking in a post-Columbine world.


Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers and regular critic for KCTV5. He’s a member of the BFCA, VP of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also the current 2013 Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Abby September 12, 2011 at 2:59 pm

If…is like Heathers? Really?

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2 Eric Melin September 12, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Well, stylistically: Not at all. Content-wise, very much. In other words, the same way that “If…” tackled authority figures and school structures, “Heathers” does as well. In “If…”, the most offensive abusers are the students who have been granted ‘prefect’ authority, just as in “Heathers” the girls at the top of the social strata are the most cruel. Without giving too much away, both movies rely on the idea that the audience is thinking the whole time: “Did they really do that?” In “Heathers,” its whether or not JD used blanks and whether the bomb is real and “If…” has several scenes where things may or may not be fantasy, ending with the title “If,” which also proposes that this may be a figment of Mick’s imagination.

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