Wassup Rockers

Wassup Rockers

Director: Larry Clark, Jonathan Velasquez, Francisco Pedrasa, Milton Velasquez

Cast: Larry Clark, Jonathan Velasquez, Francisco Pedrasa, Milton Velasquez

     
 

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Photographer and filmmaker Larry Clark offers another look at the inner workings of urban youth culture in this comedy drama. Jonathan (Jonathan Velasquez) is a teenaged El Salvadorian refugee living in a primarily Mexican-American and African-American neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles. Jonathan and a handful of fellow Salvadorian émigrés who are his best

Overview

Photographer and filmmaker Larry Clark offers another look at the inner workings of urban youth culture in this comedy drama. Jonathan (Jonathan Velasquez) is a teenaged El Salvadorian refugee living in a primarily Mexican-American and African-American neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles. Jonathan and a handful of fellow Salvadorian émigrés who are his best friends stand out like sore thumbs on the block, due less to their national origin than because they've rejected the hip-hop music and fashion around them in favor of old-school punk, as favored by the Ramones and latter-day Latino bands such as Suicidal Tendencies. Jonathan and his pals Kiko (Francisco Pedrasa), Eddie (Eddie Velasquez), Porky (Usvaldo Panameno), and Spermball (Milton Velasquez) have a group of their own, and Jonathan, a sweet but streetwise kid who has a way with the girls, is the lead singer. Like all good punk rockers, Jonathan and his bandmates are seriously into skateboarding, and one day they hop several busses and make a pilgrimage to a legendary skate spot in Beverly Hills. If the kids felt like outsiders in South Central, they soon discover they're unwelcome outcasts in the moneyed L.A. suburbs; before long they're on the run from cops as well as Anglo skaters, and even Jonathan's chance assignation with a neighborhood sexpot leads to no small share of drama. Wassup Rockers received its world premiere at the 2005 Toronto Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Wassup Rockers is a much more playful examination of American teen life than Larry Clark's previous exploitative exposés of unmoored amoral youth. Though the Salvadorian punks at its center live in a poor, violent South Central neighborhood, Clark chooses to emphasize the energy, creativity, courage, and humor they bring to their lives through their music, style, skateboarding, and friendships. Clark met the actors on a photo shoot in 2003, befriended them, and gradually developed a screenplay around their lives. The use of non-actors and a casual shooting style brings a certain documentary aesthetic to the action, which can be misleading since the story is essentially a tall tale told from the point-of-view of Jonathan (Jonathan Velasquez). He and his friends travel to Beverly Hills and then get into a series of increasingly unlikely misadventures, traveling from mini-mansion to mini-mansion by jumping over the backyard fences (an allusion to John Cheever's short story "The Swimmer"). Jonathan's story emphasizes the brazen irreverence with which they confront the social groups, from rich kids to neighborhood gang bangers, who try to define them and put them in their place as outcasts. But Clark doesn't ignore the economic and sociopolitical realities on the outskirts of Jonathan's story that also confine the kids, and which will be harder to deal with than the cheeky verve and sexual confidence used in Jonathan's idealized telling. Clark's enthusiasm for these kids is evident and he brings out their personalities to overshadow their amateur acting. At times the storytelling is too sloppy, even given its teen tall-tale origins, but this is a captivating portrait of youthful defiance and L.A.'s Latino punk-rock scene.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/21/2006
UPC:
0634991322829
Original Release:
2005
Rating:
R
Source:
Alchemy / Millennium
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:40:00
Sales rank:
54,012

Special Features

Director's audio commentary by Larry Clark; English and Spanish subtitles; Additional footage

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jonathan Velasquez Jonathan
Francisco Pedrasa Kico
Milton Velasquez Milton/Spermball
Usvaldo Panameno Porky
Eddie Velasquez Eddie
Luis Rojas Salgado Louie
Carlos Ramirez Carlos
Iris Zelaya Actor
Ashley Maldonado Actor
Laura Cellner Actor
Jessica Steinbaum Actor
Janice Dickinson Actor

Technical Credits
Larry Clark Director,Original Story,Producer,Screenwriter
Alex Blatt Editor
John DeMeo Production Designer
Arianne Fraser Associate Producer
Matthew Frost Associate Producer,Original Story
Steve Gainer Cinematographer
Julia Kim Casting
David Koh Executive Producer
Nicholas Lee Asst. Director
Steven Lehrhoff Executive Producer
Maryam Malakpour Costumes/Costume Designer
Patrick Meehan Executive Producer
Eleanor Sabaduquia Makeup
Richard Shore Co-producer
Sharon Stone Executive Producer
Kevin Turen Producer
Rudy Van Zyl Asst. Director
Steven M. Weiss Sound/Sound Designer
Henry Winterstern Producer
Jerry Wolfe Sound/Sound Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Wassup Rockers
1. Main Titles [5:35]
2. Hi Mom [11:06]
3. Girlfriend [8:43]
4. Milkshake [8:37]
5. Shotgun [11:24]
6. Police [9:06]
7. White Girls [10:33]
8. Caught [9:25]
9. Peep Hole [10:13]
10. Bathing [5:02]
11. Home Again [3:51]
12. End Credits [4:37]

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