I was thirteen years old when I first saw the movie, Lords of Dogtown, all thanks to Netflix. I had just returned home from school and found that my Netflix DVD copy of the film had arrived in my mail. Having previously seen Catherine Hardwicke’s Thirteen and being a huge fan of some of the actors in the film— Heath Ledger, Nikki Reed, and Emile Hirsch—I immediately dropped everything and watched the movie. As soon as I popped in the DVD I felt swept off my feet, in awe of how Hardwicke captured the rise and fall of a story that dealt with friends and family, aka the famous and infamous Venice surfers turned skateboarding team, the Z-Boys.
Whenever the film focused on the sports element, I found myself at the edge of my seat. When it turned to the behind-the-scenes storylines—aka life off the surf and skateboard—I noticed how much sympathy and then, ultimately, empathy I had for the characters. Once the end credits of Lords of Dogtown rolled, I knew Hardwicke was one filmmaker to watch. Something I also took away from her movie was the motto of appreciating the time one has in the here and now as well as to never take life too seriously. As one of the characters in the film states, life is painful and hard work truly does pay off, yet never let ego stand in the way. That was powerful to see played out and I rewatched the film again that following weekend
I even requested my mother to purchase me a copy of the film for my birthday that year. She did, and that was one of the best birthday gifts ever.
Since then, Lords of Dogtown has become one of those films that I can rewatch over again, whether that is popping in a DVD copy or finding the film on television.
Natalie Rodriguez is an award-winning writer, director, producer, mental health advocate based in Los Angeles, CA. In 2014, she graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in TV-Film from CSU Fullerton. Currently, Natalie awaits this year’s release of her directorial feature film, The Extraordinary Ordinary, which she also wrote, produced, and was the executive producer on. The film deals with young adults, mental health awareness, and the aftermath of trauma. Natalie is always open to collaborating with other artists and advocates.