Eric Iberg sent me a copy of Education of Style and asked me to review the film and write “a masterpiece of crap” about it, and I obliged weeks later. So here it is, in classic play-by-play knee-jerk reaction format. Read up, nerds:
The intro uses a lot of old hip-hop videos spliced in with the skiing. My favorite was whenever the VHS tracking icon showed up on the screen; I miss that.
Iberg starts Phil’s segment by posing as a cult figure in a brown tunic (supposed to represent the ski industry) who mixes up some mushrooms with some other elixirs and gives it to Phil (in order to make him ski according to some certain formula). Phil goes on a real bad trip to begin with, bugging out and seeing doubles of himself while nearly every shot of him skiing is obscured by torturous color and blur effects. Paradoxically, the same drugs also help Phil create his own vision of skiing, and as the segment goes on the visual effects die down and Phil eventually cuts the ties of the marionette Iberg had been manipulating, having finally rid himself of the controls of the Babylon oppressor of the ski industry. Had the skiing changed over the course of the segment the analogy might have made more sense. Plus aren’t all three of these guys trying to go to the Olympics? That would seem like the ultimate Babylon to me.
I gotta give Iberg some credit for having nothing to do with the RED-filmed, epic light style that is more or less the unavoidable visual formula for ski anything these days. Lots of shots are dirty, blown-out, and grainy, like watching an old VHS skate movie. Works well since a lot of Phil’s jibs are at pretty haggard spots with minimal snow and lots of dirt and refuse.
Some of the shots in Phil’s segment are kind of random and don’t really stand out despite the associated ramped slow-mo building them up. Especially some of the pow shots and that ugly washed out nollie to wallride at Sammy Carlson’s event.
On the other hand, a good number of Phil’s shots are just straight-up disgusting, and show the talent he has at making so many different ender shots and making them actually look challenging, and not the man-that-was-so-easy-I’m-a-robot-and-land-everything-bolts. Laser-accurate lip slide on top of a cement wall, nollie 3 in the pipe to the flat, railslide to redirect wall landing after grabbing the rail to redirect himself, super long truckdriver railslide to one-story drop… there’s a huge variety in the way this kid blows mind jibbing, and I give him every credit for it.
I wouldn’t have ended the segment on an ugly double-tip grab to fakie quarterpipe transfer, but that’s just me.
*BTW, skiing no poles is now fully legit, so you can now put your pole budget towards cool rasta mittens or something. Even Jossi Wells is doing it now, which means everyone is doing it.
Then we get the return of Tanner Hall, who has to open his segment not with a few “I’m fucking back!” banger tricks, but with a trip to Jamaica to showcase his alter-ego as a true Kingston “gangstah fah life.” Wow. You will certainly be INSPIIIRED!! after finding out that T-Hall gets picked up at the airport by real black Jamaicans and not that white dude who started the bobsled thing. Tanner has some pretty dope quarter pipe-ish hits he builds and throws down on, showing he still has that silky-solid air awareness we all love, but can’t but help splicing in footage of himself driving around Kingston with all his Jamaican homies, going to the Bob Marley museum, picking up some random Asian, and then partying on a boat with real Jamaicans, who must love this awful Cali P song as much as he does. I like watching this dude ski, but it would really help if he didn’t feel the need to mug so hard for the camera all the time and use a reggae song that didn’t lend itself to ski action with lyrics about himself for his segment.
Then there’s a friends segment. It’s okay. Those Quebexicans sure do have a different sense of style.
Oh man. We get to see one of the scarier prospects going on in skiing – Henrik Harlaut mentoring children about how to stay real in the ski industry. Young white homie, “Patty,” has been staring at his 200-foot ski hill all summer long, unable to sleep while meditating obsessively about next season, as he’s planning on making the big move out west [presumably to do triple corks with the other robots at Breck]. Thankfully E-Dollo is there to keep him on the straight and narrow, advising him to keep that “hard-work underground mentality” and to “rise above all the madness that’s going on in the ski industry.” Oh, you mean like Swedish ski kids pretending they grew up on Staten Island? I guess not.
Alley-oop stalefish transfer. Switch lip to switch, grabbing safety from takeoff to landing. Disgusting.
Oh, and there’s Redman’s cameo, where he gives props to E-Dollo and claims he will get him “high as fuck” when he sees him. Thanks for encouraging all this madness in the ski industry. I think you know what I’m talking about.
Sweet Nas song while E-Dolla brings some next-level style trickery to the Dew Tour, which was news to me since I never watch it. Gotta love his bio 10 tails and that swich dub something safety. Thank you for bringing back the bio spin – that was my favorite trick out of all the tricks I never had the balls to try. Thankfully we only have to deal with a few shots of Henrik hard-muggin’, and are rewarded with an alley-oop nose butter 10. Later physics.
Nevermind on the “only a few shots.” Please lose the doo-rag. Please. I don’t think people in the ghetto even wear those anymore.
Nose-butter double 10, grabbed clean, stomped. Shit. Right 180 inside tail! The Mik D. shout-out is counted.
I do think Henrik’s segment would be more mind-boggling if Phil’s hadn’t come first, since Henrik skis a lot of the same spots.
You had to end the movie, with E-Dolla mugging with a doo-rag, didn’t you?
On the whole, the Education of Style puts together the biggest collection of what the fuck?? jib shots seen in the past two years with some of the rawer and more energetic editing you could hope to have. Iberg does a nice job showing he can imagine and execute a very different aesthetic for a ski movie – an accomplishment in an industry that can’t think outside the model of National Geographic cinematography. But, and this should come as no surprise to anyone, the trio’s self-image is really lost on me. Some people say “man, just focus on the skiing,” but it’s really hard to give Tanner credit for his skiing when he makes a point of mugging to the camera so much and showing awkward shots of his gangstah life in Jamaica, or not make fun of E-Dollo for imagining himself as a role model for young skiers when his self-perception is so delusional. I’m sorry – I just can’t let that shit go, and if they’re trying to be ironic, it’s never worked. There’s a lot of room to be yourself in life, but pretending to be some weird hood prince just because you learned your English from rap albums while growing up near the Arctic Circle isn’t the way to do it.
At any rate, Phil Casabon took the cake on this one for me, and his jibs are every reason you should buy this movie. If nothing else, those of you without the balls for a 450 off will have plenty of inspiration to attack the park in 50 other ways after watching these guys do their thing.
The Education of Style is available for a $10.00 digital download or $19.99 for the DVD at Inspired Media Concepts. Thanks again to Eric for sending along a copy – Inspired!