Beautiful Losers

Published October 31, 2011

Los Angeles–based director Tristan Patterson’s debut documentary, Dragonslayer (out tomorrow), is more than a slice of life—it’s a chunk of skin. Centered in Fullerton, California, the film follows 23-year-old drifter and sometimes homeless former skate star Josh “Skreech” Sandoval as he spends his days seeking out abandoned swimming pools, traveling to competitions in Oregon and Sweden, and attempting to get to know his infant son. The film unfolds like a haze-fueled trip around SoCal through the lens of restless suburban mundanity. It’s never certain whether Skreech will find a stable job or regain his teen glory. He makes no apologies, and neither does Patterson. Gliding through dialogue reflective of intoxicated youth, Patterson’s feature jumps from phrases like “hooking it up phat” to a poignant closing monologue that reads like a eulogy for an idealistic adolescence. It’s about living fast and skating hard and saying “fuck the man” until you’re out of breath.