Shred America Image

Shred America

By Alan Ng | May 25, 2020

Ask mountain climbers, why did they have to reach the summit, they’ll tell you, “because it’s there.” Whether they’ll do it again, that’s a whole other question. In Arthur Swidzinski’s Shred America, a thematically similar challenge was laid at the feet of four twenty-something skaters that they not only had to accept but also capture on film.

The documentary’s four-skater crew consists of Anthony Michal, James Lagen, Arthur Swidzinski, and Michael Kosciesza. Their challenge was to travel from Chicago to New York City on three skateboards and a bike with a trailer to haul their stuff. Their plan was to have no plan. Armed only with the boards, bike, and a camera, the four set out on their adventure.

“…to travel from Chicago to New York City on three skateboards and a bike…”

The only thing the boys put on the docket was to garner a little media publicity. The trip took place in 2013 and had major news outlets interested in their story, provided they arrived in New York. They teamed up with a Chicago radio station, which offered regular trip reports along the way. Just as their first segment went out, the public turned against these adventurers, and the radio segments ended soon after they started.

What’s crazy about this trip and why you should watch Shred America lies in the spirit of these young adults. They saw a challenge and went for it. The fact that they planned for nothing makes the journey much more interesting than if they had meticulously got their act together.

Let’s focus on that lack of planning. It was clear the trio needed better navigation as they kept hitting dead-end roads. They were not only forced to buy an old paper map but then had to go through the process of learning to read the map. It reminds me of the fun I had with my first Thomas Guide.

Shred America (2020)

Directed and Written: Arthur Swidzinski

Starring: Anthony Michal, James Lagen, Arthur Swidzinski, Michael Kosciesza, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Shred America Image

"…their plan was to have no plan."

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