“This video has been modified to fit a square peg into a round hole”.
Given that this is a video by the Threads Idea Vacuum that we’re now discussing, and knowing their frequently experimental antics, one might be hard pressed to find a better disclaimer than this sentence, marking the screen for a split second as the very first frames of the video unveil themselves ; thereby making for a stark first impression you will either treat as a rather bold & slightly daunting warning, or as exciting news, depending on your tastes – or maybe (& most likely) a little of both.
That statement sets the tone regardless – and a very valid one in that what the authors have brought us to expect from them with their former works “Threads” (2014) & “Headcleaner” (2015) is no less than a hefty dose of challenging of convention ; albeit (and this is where their genius shines, and seems to magically translate over to the viewer) of a wisely-weighted kind.
Indeed, where others have proven to occasionally fail before, sometimes resorting to immature recreations of certain popular aesthetics, poorly flowing editing, or even uninspired skating in a commendable yet sketchy effort to contribute with a substantial piece - Matt Creasy, Alex Rose & Chris Thiessen instead successfully pull off incorporating unusual formats, odd titles, mistreated timelines & contemplative clips together with the right mixture of both raw & smart skateboarding, itself captured through some rituals of VX-1000 wizardry & paired up with the contents of a deep bag of music tracks, more often than not collected off the beaten path.
As the video progresses, it slowly reveals itself to confirm that it is exactly what we’ve come to expect & love from the Threads Idea Vacuum ; a work of a nature the kind of which we just attempted to pin down (yet still so elusive !), and James Coleman.
This type of wit aside, you really are in for a continuation of the previous elements of the video series, which also might be felt reaching a certain zenith in terms of maturity ; the few editing statements that gave “Threads” then “Headcleaner” some of their (often welcome) rougher edges are mostly gone & the entire film just flows even better somehow – not that the former opera didn’t run smoothly already – this one just manages to be even more captivating, and exemplifying the surreal universe of the Threads collective into what might be its finest representation to date.
The video is divided into two major sections : one of the “usual” format – albeit itself subdivided into short parts & shared montages packed with locals, subsequently filmed in Atlanta, California (represented by Brad Cromer, Justin Brock & Tom Karangelov), Tennessee, Out of the Box-land with James Coleman, then more Atlanta (through the lens of different filmers this time).
Then, as if those first two-thirds of the video didn’t justify the “short story collection” designation already, we are granted with a last one, fully devoted to make for the debut feature of The Vacation Skateboards – Damon Vorce‘s (Seasons Skate Shop, Politic) new company (with Matt Creasy lending a helping hand in the graphic department).
Thereby introducing us to its forming roster, involving the ever-so-productive David Clark (seriously – how many solid parts & appearances, all within the last few years ?), whose section comprises – as a stark contrast with the look & feel of the former sections of the video – a blunt, almost complete absence of VX-1000 clips, instead focusing on the use of older or low-end cameras, as to better capture moments of a casual spontaneity that even the now-commonly-abused Sony camera sometimes shows itself struggling to pinpoint the inherent, genuine grace of.
Then follows the rest of the crew : Jason Spivey & Brian Porderly from Baltimore, then – last but not least – Jonathan Ettman from Denver, Colorado.
All in all a great motivational watch, full of colorful spots, intriguing audiovisual statements, sincere feel, and James Coleman, masterfully put together in typical Threads fashion – perhaps marking for the most effective installment of the series yet.
And we didn’t say ‘exceptionally (well-crafted)’ only because judging from the excellent basis of their released now-a-trilogy as a collective, and among all we have now come to expect from what has to be one of the most both proficient & fruitful crews of skate filmmakers at this point in time, it is clear that they are in control of their own ship since day one, and somehow still getting better at it - to the point that, in fact, there just isn’t a single aspect in the Threads guys’ work in sight to ever make one dread anything potentially ‘mere average’ to stem from them in the future.