Cory Webster (a young Josh Brolin, who looks identical to older Josh Brolin) is an amateur skateboarder from the Valley who hopes to win a downhill competition and score some sweet corporate sponsorship. Chrissy (Pamela Gidley) is an innocent blonde from Indiana who is staying with her brother in Venice Beach. Cory and Chrissy are in love but there is only one problem. Chrissy’s brother is Tommy Hook (Robert Rusler), leader of The Daggers, a punk skateboard gang. There’s no way Hook is going to let his sister go out with someone from the Valley.
Thrashin’ has a plot but it’s just an excuse for almost nonstop, kinetic skateboarding action. The film is justly famous for the jousting scene, where Cory and Hook battle in Bronson Canyon, seeing who can knock who off his board. Attentive viewers will be able to spot skateboard greats Tony Alva, Tony Hawk, Christian Hosoi, and Steve Caballero in the cast. Fortunately, Gator Rogowski is nowhere to be found.
Best of all, Thrashin‘ features an early performance from Sherilyn Fenn! She plays Hook’s girlfriend and, though her role may be small, it is easy to see the spark that would make her the breakout star of Twin Peaks. At the time that she made Thrashin’, Fenn was dating a young actor named Johnny Depp. The film’s director, David Winters, hoped to cast Depp in the lead role but the producers insisted on Brolin, who does a good job even if he never looks completely comfortable on a board.
With its minimal plot and threadbare character development, Thrashin‘ is dumb but legendary, a film that embodies an era. It also has a killer soundtrack. Keep an eye out for an early version of Red Hot Chili Peppers, performing Black-Eyed Blonde in a club scene.