After Poor Boyz released their somewhat average ski flick “WE – A Collection of Individuals” last fall, I worried at the slight possibility that the “Boyz” had fallen into that oh-so-familiar rut of producing generic and unoriginal ski flicks. Poor Boyz usually follows the general rule of producing a “No BS, straight ski porn” type of film as seen in the explosive “Grand Bizarre” of 2011. So for 2013 I sincerely hoped for that good ole rampaging, well-edited, perfectly soundtracked, masterpiece that Poor Boyz are known for. The result in this year’s 2013 release of “Tracing Skylines“, a highly innovative and fresh outlook on modern skiing, with a bit of a sour aftertaste of generic familiarity.
The film starts off with a fresh look at Poor Boyz’s athletes and how they spend their summer months. The intro is filled with snapshots of Pettit, Bobby Brown, Fujas, etc sitting around pounding a few cold ones and catching some waves on a beach somewhere in Mexico. This laid back intro eases into the first real segment of slaying huge pillow lines in BC. The first two BC segments are relatively standard and range from pillow lines, to backcountry booters and medium big mountain lines.
Detroit. The third and fourth segment focus’s exclusively on extremely fresh and original urban skiing in the heart of abandoned Detroit. Fostvedt explodes onto the scene, with Detroit local Guilty Simpson’s rap beats leading the charge in what presents itself as a reclamation of Detroit’s prestige and potential. Fostvedt and co. shred in abandon churches, warehouses , apartment buildings, schools etc, even running into a potentially fatal situation when a blacked out Escalade with ski-masked gang members arrives to chase the camera crew off their turf. The segment shifts to more suburban Detroit and includes some mid-winter water skiing that doesn’t fall short on the entertainment spectrum. But the “Boyz” being as bad ass as they are do eventually head back to the gang-infested abandoned area of Detroit for one last hurrah, and needless to say it makes this film. Massive step-up gaps on warehouse roofs, building kickers out of cinder-blocks in a junkyard, and even using half-demolitioned houses for wall-rides. Such innovation is barely precedented by JP Auclair’s famous urban segment shot in Trail, BC in “All.I.Can“. “Tracing Skylines” Detroit segment will forever be known as one of, if not thee best Poor Boyz segment of all-time.
Then comes two almost painfully boring segments that seriously slow down the pace and instantly kill the buzz achieved from Detroit. These segments follow Glen Plake, JP, Seth Morrison, etc through a great trek from Chamonix to Zermatt. Though I’ll give Poor Boyz props for their attempt at expanding in variety from what their usually known for, they completely fail in an attempt to make 12 minutes of sub-par crud lines and wannabe philosophical interviews at all entertaining. They should maybe leave these type of segments to Sherpas Cinemas who always find a way through either next-generation editing or unthinkable camera techniques to make these segments mind-blowing. None the less, the film does eventually move on from this major annoyance.
The film then heads to Alaska for an average-esque Alaska scene, although Seth Morrison and co. do stay in an isolated island lighthouse for their duration of stay. This extremely interesting spot definitely adds some depth to the segment and shows where the bounds of skiing can really take you. The film then shifts back to BC to Pettit and the boys, and then to Steves Pass for a final park segment. Both are quite entertaining but nothing special, although we do see a rare glimpse of Pettit back in the park like the old days. The film winds down into the credits and I was kind of left with a bit of confusion. The pure hype from the Detroit scene had worn off which left a sour underline to the film, yet just thinking back to it was un-ignorable.
Skiing Skill/Overall Talent: 7
Great athletes, average show of skill, nothing absolutely mind-blowing
Entertainment Value: 6.5
6 is average, Chamonix – Zermatt scene was horrible (1.5) , Detroit saves the day (9).
Very “Level 1” -esque, not to shabby, not fantastic
Slightly below average, nothing special at all
Detroit was beyond expectations, and although the rest was quite generic, the intro and interesting locations make up for points lost.
Cinematography (Bonus Points): 0
Little to no cinematography throughout the entire movie. Not mandatory for a sick ski porn flick, thus the bonus categorization.
Good skiing, average entertainment, solid soundtrack, mediocre editing and next-level originality define Poor Boyz’s 2013 release. In effect this leaves the door wide open for unpredictability for next year.
What did you think of “Tracing Skylines“? What did you like and what did you hate? Comment away my friends.
– Chris De Jager