“It’s that place you skate when you let go.”
That is how our protagonist’s good friend, Yabbo (Max Perlich), describes something he calls ‘the Cube.’ To put it a different way, it’s when you push your skating to the limit. Totally Rad!
This movie is so beautifully 80’s and it really brings me back to my childhood. It has all the necessary elements of a movie made in that time period; rebellious Orange County youth whose parents just don’t get it, communism, the threat of nuclear war, the LA Rams (this is just recently relevant again), a dangling crucifix earring, and mad Pizza Hut product placement!
We follow Brian Kelly (Christian Slater) on a journey to find the murderers of his overachieving adopted brother. It looks like a suicide but Brian isn’t buying that shit and sets off to discover what really happened. Along the way, he becomes romantically involved with his dead brother’s girlfriend, whose father Brian suspects of being involved in the murder. The idea of someone trying to make time with their recently deceased brother’s girlfriend, even if it is to try and get to the bottom of a crime, makes me a little uneasy but whatever, I guess you need to have some romance in any movie.
Brian dives into the dark underbelly of the Orange County Vietnamese exile community as he unravels the mystery surrounding his brothers ‘suicide’ and finds that his bro had uncovered an illegal arms shipment going to anti-communist fighters in Vietnam.
In order to catch the bad guys, our hero uses some sick skating moves, his crew of homies (one of which is a very young Tony Hawk) and the help of a tough, young LAPD detective named Al Lucero. This is another great little bit of 80’s gold, Lucero is played by Steven Bauer, who you might remember as Manny in Scarface. I love that guy! Still breaks my heart to think of how Tony wastes him at the end of that movie….. but back to Gleaming the Cube.
Tell me that trailer doesn’t get you pumped! This movie is awesome, especially if you grew up in the 80’s or 90’s. It harkens back to a time when things were simpler and Christian Slater’s career was on the upswing. Skateboarding was still just about the most anti-establishment thing you could do as a teenager and our stupid parents would never get it. They always wanted us to be doctors or lawyers, and we just wanted to rock! So do yourself a favor, watch this movie, you can find it for free on Youtube. You’ll thank me later.
Skate or Die.