Product Reviews

ALMOST CHEESE & CRACKERS A Snack Size Mini Ramp Video

“…Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name… But what’s puzzling you, is the nature of my game…”
Normally Corey handles the DVD reviewing tasks around here, but since I pandered a copy of Almost’s Cheese & Crackers at ASR, I felt like I should reap the fruits of my labor and give you an accounting of the contents of this laser etched media receptacle myself. “…Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name… But what’s puzzling you, is the nature of my game…”
Normally Corey handles the DVD reviewing tasks around here, but since I pandered a copy of Almost’s Cheese & Crackers at ASR, I felt like I should reap the fruits of my labor and give you an accounting of the contents of this laser etched media receptacle myself.

Small samplers of the Cheese & Crackers video have been circulating via the internet for quite a while now, mostly within the massive data scourges known as youtube and myspace. These content outlets allow poachers of video clips to freely redistribute so-called “public domain” materials and amass countless “friends” by the nature of the materials they steal and repurpose. These blogoverses are rife with over-compressed clips from skate videos, both contemporary and vintage. And while these small, pixelated clips might relate some sense of what’s going on, It’s far more pleasing to have the whole snack tray served to you on your large screen high-definition television screen, remote in hand, and with the home theatre system cranked up in full surround mode.

We should all like to skate mini ramps. They are fun. Sometimes you can even learn a trick or two on them and take it to a larger venue. I think at one point in the late 1980’s mini ramps were almost considered an entirely new discipline, leading to a few contests. Most of these contests were dominated and won by the vert ramp champs of the era. But something started happening. The advent of the tech-gnar street regimen normally reserved for flat surfaces began to invade the mini ramp environment. The young guttersnipes were showing up and bringing some rather ridiculous stunts with them. Sure, they might have been landing a lot of ollie to late everything in the flat, and essentially staying within the confines of the middle 3 feet of the ramp at all times, but it signified a coming change. Perhaps it was this change that caused the end of the mini ramp competition era. After all, the vert guys had to know that once these young upstarts learned proper transition skills and use of an entire structure, their superiority on these ramps would come to an abrupt halt. So the contests dried up. Jealousy? Fear? Insert your own opinions here.

Take these two names down. Chris Haslam. Daewon Song. Daewon has been around for a long time, as a pro and a guy known for his technical mastery, balance and more lately, his power. Go down to Channel Street and witness his deal, I urge you to do this, especially if you think Daewon is just “some street guy”. You’ll come away with a radically different opinion. As far as Haslam is concerned, he might be considered a relative newcomer, but his skating is steeped in a depth that smacks of a decades-long pursuit of excellence. Now what would you think you might get if you turned these two maniacs loose in a soon to be condemned, formerly Rocco-owned property in a very urine-soaked area of Long Beach? Install a Daggerbuilt mini ramp, low ceilings, graffiti, large amounts of debris and scrap lumber, car parts, and you have all of the ingredients for something interesting, at the very least.

One of my initial thoughts about this video on the first viewing was that while it was obviously filmed during a large number of sessions, most of us would be lucky to make even two or three of the tricks shown over the course of a month’s worth of sessions. The stuff is just that crazy. Shall we name a couple of “no can do’s”? Alright then. Please keep in mind that this is a language which gets a bit convoluted, not because the skateboarding is, it’s just that the tricks are so complex, they will sound made-up. Bear with me, these descriptions are accurate, but you will have to see them for yourself to understand. Let’s start with a few of Mr. Haslam’s uh… moves. Switch crail slide. 360 flip body varial. Blunt double flip. Frontside 5-0 ollie into frontside rock. Switch back noseblunt kickflip in. Fakie noseblunt kickflip in. Blunt triple flip in. Okay. I know. Sounds retarded. You may be thinking… WHY? The answer to this question is the same as to that ages-old query, “why does a dog lick his balls?” Because he can.

On the Daewon side of the equation, here are just a few things to make you an unbeliever. Blunt kickflip nose bash. Kickflip front 5-0 revert. frontside 180 rollout to fakie manual to fakie roll-in. Alley-oop bigspin. Frontside caballerial. 360 shove-it blunt kickflip in. Kickflip blunt kickflip in. Half cab blunt bigspin in. Now, see? I told you it would sound made up. It isn’t. And what’s more, all of this madness takes place before these two lunatics turn the ramp into a game of mousetrap. You remember mousetrap don’t you? That game that was extremely lame to play, so you would just build the mousetrap and see if it worked. I don’t think anyone ever played the actual game, let alone, by the rules. And that’s basically what you have here. No rules.

There’s no way my descriptions of the above mentioned tricks could ruin the video for you. You will want to see it for yourself. If for no other reason, so you won’t think I’m fabricating any of this. Get a copy of this video and see for yourself. For your money here’s what you will get. The main feature of Haslam and Daewon, start to finish, with all of the add-on insanity you might have seen on youtube and more. In the bonus section, you can watch either Chris or Daewon’s skating isolated, a friends section, loaded with assorted maniacs including Mike Carrol, Cooper Wilt, Alex Olson, and other luminary crazies. There is also what is surely only a prequel into the soon-to-be vast video library of Almost’s newest team member, Lewis Marnell. Lastly a bit of footage misleadingly named “Haslam and Cooper eat dirty cheese”. I won’t ruin it for you, but please ponder this question: What do skateboards and monster trucks have in common?

So essentially, what you will get for your money is a “snack-sized” 25+ minutes of astounding skateboarding. Actually it’s quite a bit longer, that’s just what they tout on the box. It will either depress the shit out of you because you will never be able to abuse a ramp this way, or it will inspire you to take your skating to a whole other level. Whatever the case I guarantee that because of the complexity of what’s contained here, you’re going to wear out that rewind and slow motion button before the disc goes back into it’s nice tri-fold pictorial case.
Go buy a copy. It’s cheaper than brain surgery. Oh yeah and um, there’s some secret stuff for all you DVD easter egg hunters. Get busy, nizzy.

Buy it here:

Buy Cheese & Crackers

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