"This is my favorite part: You pay to get out," says the proprietor of an Ohio skate-punk festival where entry is free. Inside are various bands, many skateboard ramps and bowls, flaming trash heaps, demolition derbies in cars with the roofs sawn off, dogs and even a few children running wild, rampant drinking, nudity, and hints of crystal meth. Cheerfully lording over the annual Bowl Bash and his Skatopia compound is Brewce (pronounced Bruce) Martin, a charismatic P.T. Barnum figure who surely deserves his own reality-TV show. Instead, this doc by Laurie House and Colin Powers follows Martin for most of 2006, as he scrounges for concrete money (to build more skating facilities), goes to jail for assault, and tries to hold his family together. At 40, Martin is an overgrown, heavily tattooed Peter Pan forever trying to convince his Lost Boys to put down their beers and do a little work. "Participate or beat it," he barks at one of Skatopia's many freeloaders. In prior footage, we see MTV and Tony Hawk visit to praise visit this Jackass theme park; then they fly back to comfortable L.A. homes while Martin struggles to pay the electricity bills. ("I don't understand why I'm broke . . . oh, yeah—lawyers.") He's a likable, hardworking entrepreneur, but unlike Hawk, he'll never have his own video games or endorsement deals. The filmmakers go easy on Martin's infidelities and anger issues in their affectionate portrait, leaving us to wonder what's become of him in the past six years. Maybe the Bravo channel will tell us.
Martin (second from right) and his Skatopia cohort.
Runs Fri., Nov. 16-Thurs., Nov. 22 at Grand Illusion. Not rated. 97 minutes.