Honestly, this viewing of Brink! was the one I’ve enjoyed the most. Of course I remember seeing this classic DCOM as a kid, but not right when it came out (I was only four). Premiering in 1998, written by Jeff Schechter and directed by Greg Beeman, Brink! was one of the earliest DCOMs and has some of the best music in its soundtrack (“Apology” for a scene literally about apologizing? Genius). For numerous Disney Channel fans, Erik Von Detten is most recognizable as Andy “Brink” Brinker. He’s also known for playing Josh Bryant in The Princess Diaries and Clu Bell in So Weird. In fact, his So Weird co-star Patrick Levis stars in Brink as his friend Peter. These pals, along with Gabriella (Christina Vidal) and Jordy, call themselves the Soul Skaters because they skate for the love of the sport, not for money. The X-Bladz, however, are sponsored skaters who can rake in $200 a week.
Brink changes his mind about selling out when his family needs the money, as his dad Ralph is out of work following an injury. The mom, Maddie, is a realtor. Katie Volding from Smart House plays Brink’s little sister, Katie. Ralph is frustrated that his son is so consumed with skating. When Brink wants to join the paid Team X-Bladz to help with his family’s financial situation, his dad refuses because he doesn’t want Brink to focus on the sport more than he already does. Brink disobeys and joins the team, much to his real friends’ dismay. They discover his involvement in X-Bladz at a competition and are, understandably, furious. The two teams go up against each other when they both want to practice downhill skating on the same street. The leader of X-Bladz, Val, intentionally hurts Gabriella by throwing gravel in her path as she races against Brink. She’s badly bruised and all scraped up due to Val’s stunt. Brink rethinks his decision and quits X-Bladz.
Here’s what I most appreciated about the film: Brink’s heart-to-heart discussion with his dad. Ralph explains that his job as a construction foreman, which he had to stop doing after his accident, once defined him. He encourages Brink to understand that what he does — skating — is not the whole of who he is. “You are defined by the company you keep and how well you keep it. Not by what you just happen to do. I mean, kids who skate, come on. California is filthy with ’em. You, you are Andy Brinker. You are a good son. And you are a good friend who just happens to skate. And tomorrow, if you never skate again, you are still Andy Brinker,” Brink’s dad tells him. This is incredibly powerful, and the older I get, the more I understand why this movie is one of the most beloved DCOMs. Check it out on Disney+ to see Brink’s big win and that iconic DCOM freeze-frame: