If you’ve ever been into skateboarding, then you are probably familiar with the Pappas brothers. Even if you haven’t, their names may still ring a bell. Ben and Tas Pappas were brothers from Melbourne, Australia, who worked their way to the top of the skateboarding ranks in the United States, becoming the world’s #2 and #1, respectively, at the height of their careers. Directed by Eddie Martin, All This Mayhem documents the rise and fall of the Pappas brothers using archival footage and interviews with Tas Pappas and friends of the infamous duo. This documentary is a compelling insight into the lives of professional skateboarders and all the madness and mayhem that comes with it.
The Pappas brothers led an interesting life, from the local skate park in Prahran where they fearlessly attempted any trick they could dream up, to skating head-to-head with Tony Hawk for the #1 ranking. But their quick rise to fame had its consequences, and wherever fame and fortune goes, drugs and partying are bound to follow. Ben and Tas fell head first into the world of cocaine, chicks, fast cars and splashing cash, with dire consequences. This documentary is extremely well-made and is composed almost entirely out of archival footage and images, from the time the brothers were just little boys up until recently. With the help of the Pappas family and their friends, it took Eddie Martin years to collate all of the footage, which includes home videos and television recordings of the actual skating events. Narrated using interviews with Tas Pappas and his skateboarding mates, the documentary is very well informed, emotional, and revealing.
There is something both devastating and mesmerising about watching someone’s downfall. Tas Pappas has a unique way of making light of a rather dark time in his life, injecting that easy-going Australian humour that will have you chuckling alongside. But then, he will reveal a much deeper side to his emotions, which will just as easily ensure that you’re reaching for the tissue box. You become incredibly invested in their story, even if you’re like me and have very little knowledge or interest in skateboarding and are unfamiliar with the Pappas Brothers. In saying this: if you don’t know about their journey, I suggest you avoid spoilers and remain unaware until after watching the movie, that way there are a lot of twists and turns you won’t see coming.
My only issues with the documentary were that at the beginning of the film I was a little confused as to who was narrating, as there was little reference back to the faces of the interviewees. After having done a little research about the Pappas brothers, I was also disappointed to discover that the film seems to disregard a lot of information I would consider pretty important to the story line. Otherwise this is a fantastic ride, and an amazing insight into a world many people are rarely given access to.
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