When I was 12, I stumbled across the last 30 minutes or so of a movie on TV. I didn’t know what it was, or even really what it was about, I just knew that Christian Slater was skateboarding through windows, leaping out of cars to bypass a traffic jam and hanging on to the back of a sports car speeding down the highway to save a girl while his buddies followed in a Pizza Hut pickup driven by Tony Hawk.
That movie turned out to be Gleaming the Cube, a 1989 film about Brian (Slater), a skateboarder who, while trying to find a reason for his brother Vinh’s death, learns Vinh (Art Chudabala) had uncovered a weapons smuggling ring being run out of a Vietnam aid organization.
And I loved every bit of it. There was a lot of good drama between Brian and his dad that’s my jam now and might go along way to explaining my love for family dynamics in fiction, but 12-year-old me was mostly all about the skateboarding. The X Games premiered a year later, and that’s when I realized I’d fallen hard for the sport.