This Week In Flim: Gleaming the Cube (or A Brothers Justice, and Skate Or Die)
You ever see something so awesome and fantastic you struggle to remember details about what you just saw? It’s not that you weren’t paying attention it’s that you couldn’t believe what was happening in front of you you were put in some kind of amazement coma. Even better is when you see that thing again. You are still in awe, but this time you do your very best to pay attention and try and collect as many memories as you can take so you can enjoy it even more and replay it in your mind for as long as you can. For many that happened when they were younger. Whether it was seeing Michael Jordan soaring through the air in the NBA finals, or for some it was seeing The Beatles in concert. You don’t remember what the score was, or what songs were played, all you remember is that you were there. In that aspect I am no different.
Gleaming the Cube is the kind of flim that I can’t get enough of. The first time I watched it I was at my grandpa’s house when I was 6 years old, and had got bored of playing Super Mario so I decided to change the TV around and see what I could find. After catching the tail end of Mac and Me, I had begun watching a movie about skateboarding and the guy I knew from The Legend of Billy Jean (another classic of flim), Christian Slater. I soon had to leave to go to… I don’t know tee ball, or something. Any ways the movie stayed with me for years. It’s not like how it is now, where you can enter a few words into Google and it’ll filter out what the they think you are looking for. There was no IMDB or anything like that, so for years I was asking friends and grown ups if they remember a movie with Christian Slater as a skateboarder, no one knew and for years I searched. Until one day, sophomore year…
Actually it was the year before Junior year, I was sitting at home during the summer, and to my astonishment on the USA network, Gleaming the Cube appeared. Ecstatic I ran to the VCR and hit record not really caring what might be recorded over, as it did not matter. My search was over and well worth it. The film stars as I wrote above Christian Slater as Brian Kelley a skateboarding teen who is anti authority, anti conformity and just plain doesn’t like adults. Brian gets in trouble with the police early on in the film for skating with a bunch of his friends in an empty swimming pool. When the owner of the pool shows up he calls the police and Brian displays his anti authority attitude. When he gets home his father is angry and his mother is trying her best to keep the peace. We then meet Brian’s adopted brother Vinh, a Vietnamese immigrant. Vinh and Brian are complete opposites, Brian being a slob and very outspoken is a clear contrast to Vinh’s quiet and clean cut personality, though they are so different they still get along and are as close as real brothers could be.
Vinh works at a video store, that seems to only sell what looks like pirated videos, and for whatever reason is also a medical supply dealer out to Vietnam. When Vinh finds that the calculations for the last medical supply shipment is off by a half a million dollars he becomes suspicious and confronts his boss. Turns out that his boss is working with the Vietnamese army and sending them weapons to fight off the communists. When Vinhs boss and his arms dealer hear that he may know what is happening they kidnap him and confront him to see if he knows anything with some light torture. Vinh is inadvertently murdered so they set it up to look as if he killed himself in a hotel room by hanging. The police rule it a simple suicide, but Brian knows better is trying to prove it and do some policing of his own.
The movie is actually very good, but just full of late 80’s cheese and it’s dramatic moments are ruined by scenes of Christian Slater anger skating and doing crazy complex flat land tricks most of which are skateboarding legend Rodney Mullen. Much like Footloose and the angry dancing it looks just laughable nowadays, but was probably the shit back then. Not only does aforementioned Rodney Mullen in the film, but Tony Hawk also appears and Buddy, a Pizza Hut delivery driver, and several of the once holy Bones Brigade skate team make appearances. Legendary skater and former Z Boy Stacy Peralta was the films secondary director and shot all the skating sequences in the film as well.
On a scale of 1 to 10 I give Gleaming the Cube a very high 9 on the Flim-O-Meter. Lots of fun, scattered drama, and some really great skateboarding in this movie make it a must see for anyone interested in the genre. Like Rad, Thrashin’, and all the other 1980’s sport fad movies this is a small look into these sports, and Christian Slater does a fantastic job as the typical Orange County skate punk. Highly recommended. Trailer below.