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All Skate

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 19, 2005 7:18PM

The latest filmed-in-Chicago movie hits theaters this weekend when Roll Bounce arrives this Friday.

Robert Teitel and George Tillman, Jr., who brought Barbershop to the screen and more film dollars to the South Side, produced the film. Like that film and its spinoffs, Roll Bounce’s charm comes from its characters, not a wholly original plot. X (played by Bow Wow) and his crew are the kings of the Palisades Garden roller rink on the South Side. When the Palisades closes, the boys head to the Sweetwater Roller Rink on the North Side where their skills and clothes are no match for those Roller Trixies in training. And then it's all culture clash, ladies choice skating and somebody getting served, polyester style. Chi McBride is on hand so expect some tough, but inspirational, parenting too.

Plenty of Chicago actors are getting screen time in Roll Bounce alongside Messrs. McBride and Wow. Screen Magazine has a profile of actor Daniel Yabut, who makes his film debut in the picture. Others like Bob Kolbey and Charla Agers are set to become the "Hey, It's That Guy" of the filmed-in-Chicago fall movie season. Other Chicago area actors in Roll Bounce include John Johnson, Sean Skowronski, Kat Tuohy, Brad White and Chicago Heights' own James Zahn.

Doubling for the fictional Sweetwater Roller Rink is the Lynwood Sport Center in south suburban Lynwood, IL. Chicagoist grew up during the tail end of the roller skating craze of the late 1970s and much like the kids in the film, we spent a lot of time roller skating. Every time we had a weekday off of school, we’d get a flyer in class that said “No school, so let’s skate!” We’d grab our skates, take one spin around the rink, and then spend the rest of the time playing video games and eating nachos. Perhaps this is why we never got the hang of skating backwards. Or using our toe stop. Check out the set dressing for the movie on their website or at the site of Reed Rigging, who designed the lights rigs.

Just out of curiosity: did anyone ever see other "sports" going on at the Lynwood Sport Center? It was all roller skates, all the time when we were there despite the silhouette of someone playing tennis on the outside of the building.