directed by Stacy Peralta
METALLICA: SOME KIND OF MONSTER
directed by Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky
by Walter Chaw Skateboard legend Stacy Peralta's follow-up to his highly-regarded Dogtown & Z-Boys is the big wave surfing documentary Riding Giants. Equal parts ecstatic archival sports video and hagiography of the pioneers of the deep water (a new meaning for "swells"), its strengths are the same as those for Dogtown: a great soundtrack, and a sense of kinetic energy that manages to confer, at least in fits and starts, the breathlessness of the subject to an enraptured audience. But it lacks the background sociology of Peralta's prior work, failing for the most part to explain how the surf culture came to be even as it offers a survey history of the entire pastime. The film is strong on the usual suspects and the dazzling locations--and weak on the kind of lawlessness and maniacal urge to rebel that created something like an extreme beach Woodstock almost twenty years before our collective cultural dam broke. Just mentioning the Beat Poets is not enough.