By Paula Osorio
P. Osorio is a skate culture lover and a full-time writer for SHIT®️ Magazine.
Alright, so let’s dive right in! We’re starting this series with one of the toughest skaters from the last decade, an old school skateboarding heavyweight that, even though he claims not to be a musician, also creates music for fun, paints, and started filmmaking years ago. Co-founder of Bakerboys Distribution, Brigada Eyewear, and Deathwish Skateboards, the tricks from this Italian descendent have appeared in classic skate movies like Zero’s "Misled Youth", "Baker Bootleg", "Baker 2G", “Baker 3”, "The Deathwish Video", and others. He has also starred in a couple of his own that were presented at Thrasher.
This veteran has learned a lot through sobriety! He has put all his energy into his mental and physical wellbeing in his late-career. As a creative mind, he never stops conceptualizing, and that’s reflected in the movies he has released over the last years. As his cinematic eye is more than trained we are not going to criticize his work but rather look at why his films are so fascinating, leaving us expecting something more around each corner.
Greco’s Big Jump
James Clement Greco Jr. a.k.a. Jim Greco started skating in 1991 at the young age of 14.
At the height of his youth, Jim used to hang out with the “Piss Drunx”. A crew where the main aim was to get wasted and skate. This gang consisted of Ali Boulala, Erik Ellington, Shane Heyl, Alex Moul, Elissa Steamer and Birdhouse’s Andrew Reynolds, at its centre. We have seen videos from back in the day and heard stories in interviews with the protagonists themselves, where they told stories of where they were getting drunk at 7 AM and weren’t sleeping at all. And somehow these guys made it pro. We can see that these guys liked living on the edge, even if it was sometimes the edge of “destruction”. Fascinating superstar attitude that are praised by the fans.
However, within a decade, Jim went from a substance abuser to sober. Jim says he has been sober since 2003, no drugs, no alcohol, and no weed. He only drinks coffee and skates :P All of his energy has been put into his love of art, and his isolation and introspection are shown in the films where he appears nostalgic as hell, riding in slow motion Jim’s passion for slo-mo as a narrative resource does not only highlight the tricks but, also, emphasizes the emotion that he wants to relay in his movies.
The First, The Latest, and The One in The Middle
This tour starts with his first short film entitled “The Way Out” released in 2016. At the beginning of this movie, Jim introduces himself and shows the emphasis he places on his sobriety. He wants to show us what his day-to-day life as a sober skateboarder is like, which he describes as “a Groundhog’s Day” for a year: wake up, grab a cup of coffee, get dressed, and go out to look for a spot to film his tricks. This is a simple piece of cinematic skateboarding with melancholic tinges given by its soundtrack and Jim's attitude in front of the camera. When we hear “Shivers” from The Birthday Party in this film, we can totally imagine that Jim is the lead voice of the band and he’s singing his darkest secrets.
The second Greco movie was "Year 13" launched in 2017. As the title describes, this movie tells the story of the 13th year of Jim's abstemiousness. We can feel the freedom of those 4745 days of not having consumed any substances while he keeps getting better on his board. Living in a contemporary city with a lot of stimuli for an artist has paid off. This movie brings multiple majestic dances together in an ordinary world, with songs that connect the audience with Greco’s Italian roots. Mina Mazzini’s “Se telefonado” mixed with bombs going off, cars screeching and sirens sounding set against the background of the filmmaker's favourite spots. Jeremy Klein, Chris Pastras, Jason Lee, and Danny Sargent also make appearances in the movie.
Finally, like a cherry on a cake, “Jobs? Never!!” made its debut in 2018. With collaboration from Supra footwear, the production of Hammers USA, and the participation of Tom Penny, Ludvig Håkansson, Bobby Miranda, Jud Farhat, and Kay Ko. The movie was also shot using both 16 mm and 35 mm film. You will see that one of the focus points of the movie is Jim’s solitude. He rides the streets like the free human being. We even get to escort him through a medical process after an injury.
A heavenly industrial apartment is one of the multiple locations selected for this movie where the exquisite photography direction enhances the talent that Greco has as a skater. This is, perhaps, one of his most elegant and stylish movies. The ambient sounds you hear in the movie focuses our attention to the peaceful way he lives his life and we see how that peace positively affects his skateboarding skills.
Anyway, any number of words falls short of the magnificence of Jim Greco’s movies. That is why we invite you, our readers to devouring these films one by one and give us your opinion. We really hope you like them this much as we did.
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