Thrashin’ (1986)

thrashin poster 1986 movie
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Totally '80s goofy fun

Generic Romeo and Juliette story

Movie Info

Movie Name: Thrashin’

Studio:  Winters Hollywood Entertainment Holdings Corporation

Genre(s):  Sports/Romance/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  August 29, 1986

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

thrashin josh brolin middle finger la massacre

You ready to get thrashed?!?!

Cory Webster (Josh Brolin) has come to California to compete in the skateboarding event called L.A. Massacre in the hopes of getting a sponsor.  Unfortunately, Cory has become struck Chrissy (Pamela Gidley) who is visiting from Indiana and is the sister of Tommy Hook (Robert Rusler) who leads a skate gang call the Daggers…and Cory and his friends are no friends of Daggers.  With Tommy gunning for Cory and vowing that Chrissy will never see him, Cory and Tommy are headed for a fight…and the L.A. Massacre could be the battleground.

Directed by David Winters, Thrashin’ (also sometimes known as Skate Gang) is a skateboarding romance movie.  The movie capitalized on the skateboarding popularity of the 1980s and gained a cult following over the years.

thrashin josh brolin pamela gidley skateboarding

Thrashin’ teaches you being from Indiana is bad…but being from the Valley is worse

My friend and I used to rent Thrashin’ all the time in the ’80s…we imagined ourselves jumping and skateboarding to the punk soundtrack despite being country Indiana kids (like Chrissy) and barely having a patch of pavement to practice on.  Thrashin’ isn’t a great movie but it holds a sentimental place for me as a result.

The movie is basically a Romeo and Juliet story combined with something like The Karate Kid.  Brolin’s character and his friends are outsiders from the Valley (which is the worst place you can ever live) and faces off against the Venice Beach dwelling Daggers.  It is very basic and also obvious where the story is going to go (and it takes the path you expect)…minus the extra drama and death of Romeo and Julliet.  In the hyped up drama of the situation, it becomes a bit ridiculous which is part of the campy charm of the film.

thrashin robert rusler sherilyn fenn

Can Thrashers come out to play-aye?

The movie does have a decent cast and a few “look for them” actors as the skaters.  Josh Brolin won the role despite attempts to cast Johnny Depp who was dating Sherilyn Fenn at the time (Brolin ironically turned down 21 Jump Street which went to Johnny Depp).  Robert Rusler is ironically from Indiana despite knocking it most of the film.  He plays a good “villainous” Tommy, but fortunately isn’t entirely one dimensional (hey, he and Cory even come together by the end of the film).  Pamela Gidley is likeable as the love interest Chrissy and Chrissy’s anti-friend (and Tommy’s girlfriend) Velvet is played by future Twin Peaks star Sherilyn Fenn.  Throughout the movie real skateboarders appear including Tony Alva, Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero, and Christian Hosoi…plus, we get a young band called The Red Hot Chili Peppers performing as themselves at a concert!

thrashin la massacre downhill skateboarding josh brolin

I’m totally thrashed out!

The star of the film is the skateboarding.  In today’s “extreme sports” the skateboarding might be a little tame for viewers, but at the time, it was new and exciting.  The lame jousting scene in Bronson Canyon (which was recreated on Jackass) and the downhill race of the L.A. Massacre both provide memorable scenes and are fairly well shot (the joust scene looks like it could have fallen out of  The Warriors).

Thrashin’ is what it is.  It is a goofy ’80s movie that will probably only appeal to A) people who grew up with it or B) people who want to watch a very ’80s film (and with movies like Valley Girl and other really 1980s movies helped shape my perception of what California must be like).  Combine it with a viewing of BMX Bandits, and you have a ’80s “X-Treme” weekend.  It does teach some valuable lessons…like if you ever move to California, don’t live in the Valley.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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