film review: The Man Who Souled the World

December 8, 2007

Truth be told, I was not blown away. Believe you me, no one is a bigger World apologist than I–well, maybe the gentleman who operates bobshirt, but remember–I HAVE NO DISPOSABLE (pun intended) INCOME.
First, the bad news: this film has no plot. Most films, even documentaries, have a “pyramid” plot structure, like this:

The Man Who Souled the World is all rising action–there is not really a climax. It’s like “Okay…World is getting more and more popular! We’re killing Powell and Santa Cruz and becoming more and more EDGY and CRAZY!!! and EDGIER AND CRAZIER!! oh, and then Girl started and that was a bummer. BUT, McKee invented Flameboy so it was kind of okay. THE END.”
If you don’t skate or aren’t a Nineties obsessive, it probably won’t be that interesting.
HOWEVER, Here’s the good news: the World Park and other archival footage is priceless. Also, the insight into the monetary workings and financial genesis of the company is also fascinating, especially for someone like myself who gets off on Powerpoint presentations. Because when you’re a kid, the industry is kind of magical–every week you go to your local shop and there are new boards & videos there, pros get all the money and boards they could ever want and skate schoolyards all day, the graphics are created…somewhere? All the stuff in the film about Rocco borrowing the seed money from a loan shark and his accounting problems was fucking awesome. For example, the fact that World lost a cool mil in 1994 is ironic, considering its astounding productivity in terms of skating/graphics: 20 Shot, Snuff, Secondhand Smoke, all of Jason Dill’s first 101 graphics like the one with that “rocket hand” from Yellow Submarine, the Sanchez graphic with the surrealistic painting of the naked lady, etc.
Surprisingly, they left out the part where Rocco fired Henry Sanchez after Rocco (allegedly) fucked Mr. Sanchez’ girlfriend, leading to Mr. Sanchez allegedly punching Rocco in the face.
And if Rocco was such a great benefactor to his employees, why didn’t he provide them with health insurance instead of thousands of dollars worth of Polo clothing? Oh yeah, only LAME owners like George Powell provide their employees (who are paid to destroy their bodies, day after day after day) with health insurance. There’s nothing CRAZY or EDGY about health insurance!
Anyway, here’s an old 101 ad. Click to enlarge (a lot).

ps. If you want to watch an effective, captivating documentary, I recommend this:

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One Response to “film review: The Man Who Souled the World”

  1. […] 20 Shot commentary in the World box set, are also noteworthy. Hard to believe that, as mentioned in The Man Who Souled the World, World lost one millions dollars the year 20 Shot came out. However, as I noted in the documentary […]

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