HBO Max's latest star is one of those iconic figures that you would have thought would have gotten a show right now. The poster-child of the skateboarding counterculture that swept the globe in the late 90s and early 2000s, legendary skater Tony Hawk is the subject of a brand new HBO Max (which you may notice is getting better, thanks to the new HBO Max apps) documentary that is earning some pretty gnarly (that's a good thing) review scores.
Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off is a retrospective look at The Birdman's remarkable career in professional skateboarding, but that's not exactly what makes it so interesting. The film pulls back the curtain on his personal struggles at the same time, showing that becoming a household name wasn't exactly easy. The feature was made in full collaboration with Hawk himself, and HBO describes it as including “never-before-seen footage and unprecedented access.”
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The film features interviews with other prominent skaters who were there during Hawk’s rise, including Rodney Mullen, Lance Mountain, Mike McGill (fun fact: the inventor of the “McTwist” trick). However, Hawk himself is very much the focus of this documentary, so if you’ve ever wanted the inside track on what makes the greatest skater of all time tick, you just might find your answer here.
The film has come out the gate swinging with some extremely positive early reviews. The documentary currently scores a perfect 100% on Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab) from nine reviews, which certainly indicates its high quality. Ross Bonaime of Collider (opens in new tab) notes that director Sam Jones has created “a captivating, edge-of-your-seat documentary that manages to make the idea of landing a trick a genuinely moving scenario.”
If, like me, you spent much of your childhood desperately trying, and ultimately failing, to land ollies and kickflips, then this documentary appears to be well worth a look. And even if you didn't spend your youth with bruised ankles, Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off still appears to be a slickly edited documentary that any sports enthusiast will take something from.
Perhaps you instead spent your youth riding a virtual skateboard in the beloved Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video games? Then may I suggest also checking out Pretending I’m a Superman: The Tony Hawk Video Game Story (available for free on Kanopy (opens in new tab)). This 2020 documentary looks at the development process of the gaming franchise and its enduring popularity to this day. It’s a great companion piece to HBO Max’s new inside look at Hawk’s life and career.
Plus, if you want something else to watch on HBO Max afterward, make sure to check out Jerrod Carmichael's new comedy special. Netflix has become the streaming king of comedy specials, but some Tom's Guide staffers reckon this HBO Max original might have the big red streaming service beat.
Looking for something on Netflix? Our streaming editor found a new Netflix hidden gem that's so amazing he can't stop watching it. In other streaming news — Plex just became one of the best streaming apps, with two new features that are mighty interesting and show where Apple and others fail.