Gleaming the Cube

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Gleaming the Cube
Gleaming the cube.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Graeme Clifford
Produced by Lawrence Turman
David Foster
Written by Michael Tolkin
Starring Christian Slater
Steven Bauer
Richard Herd
Le Tuan
Min Luong
Art Chudabala
Peter Kwong
Max Perlich
Tony Hawk
Rodney Mullen
Ed Lauter
Micole Mercurio
Kieu Chinh
Cinematography Reed Smoot
Editing by John Wright
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates January 13, 1989
Running time 105 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Gleaming the Cube (also known as A Brother's Justice and Skate or Die) is an American film released in 1989. It featured Christian Slater as Brian Kelly, a 16-year-old skateboarder investigating the death of his adopted Vietnamese brother.

The Skating Technical Advisor for the film was original Z-Boy Stacy Peralta. Among the skateboarders who appear in the film as stunt skaters are Mike McGill, "Gator" Mark Rogowski, Rodney Mullen, Rich Dunlop, Eric Dressen, Lance Mountain, Mike Vallely, Chris Black, Ted Ehr, Natas Kaupas, Chris Borst, and Steve Saiz. Tony Hawk (Buddy), and Tommy Guerrero (Sam) then members of the Bones Brigade, appear in the film as members of Brian's skate crew. Future lead singer of The Aquabats and creator of Yo Gabba Gabba!, Christian Jacobs, also appears in the film as Gremic.

The film received only a moderate release in the United States from 20th Century Fox (in 469 theaters). Although the film had a relatively low box office turnout, it garnered a significant cult following[1] after its theatrical release, through basic cable replays on networks such as USA and the burgeoning VHS (and later DVD) market, as well as notoriety among skateboarders.

The title of the film refers to the gibberish question, "Have you ever gleemed inside a cube?", that Garry Davis (GSD) asked Neil Blender in an interview in the December 1983 issue of Thrasher magazine. In the film, Christian Slater’s character defines “gleaming the cube” as “pushing your limits to the edge.” The DVD contains an easter egg; by highlighting the skateboard on the main menu, you can watch a short featurette entitled “What does Gleaming the Cube mean?”.


Brian Kelly (Christian Slater) is a slacker and the only thing he really cares about is skateboarding. Things like doing his homework and making the grades in school have little meaning to him. But when his adopted Vietnamese brother turns up dead after discovering an error in the shipping records at his place of work, Brian begins to suspect something more. Refusing to accept the police's theory of suicide, Brian launches his own investigation, determined to uncover the truth of what really happened.



  • The Anaheim motel in the movie, the "Atomic Age Lodge," was in reality the Stovall's Cosmic Age Lodge on Harbor Boulevard, across the street from the then-Disneyland parking lot. It was one of a group of Stovall's hotels in the area with a "Space Age" theme (the others being Stovall's Apollo Inn and Stovall's Space Age Lodge and the Inn Of Tomorrow). The Cosmic Age was demolished in the late '90s to make room for Disney California Adventure. The others have been remodeled and no longer have the space theme.
  • Most of the School Scenes were filmed at Woodbridge High in Irvine, California.
  • Some introductory scenes were filmed at John Wayne Airport (Orange County, California) before major renovation work on the terminal.
  • The big hill scene was filmed on 17th street between Patton and Leland in San Pedro, California.
  • The car chase scene near the end of the movie when Brian and the detective are in pursuit of Lawndale was filmed on West Seaside Way between the 500 to 700 block in Long Beach, California.

Cultural references[edit]

In the Simpsons episode "Lemon of Troy", Bart and a young Shelbyville boy skate past a female doppelganger of Groundskeeper Willy, who screams after them, "Slow down, ya sidewalk surfin, cube gleamers!" The movie is referenced again in the episode "To Surveil with Love" when Ned Flanders tells Bart to "Stop gleaming that cube!" as he is watching Bart skateboard down the sidewalk.

In the Season 2 premiere of Robot Chicken, Christian Slater plays a skater named Skater McGee, who gets kids to try an incredibly hard trick called the "Monster Cookie Pinwheel". When asked by the skaters what a Monster Cookie Pinwheel is, Skater McGee replies with, "A monster cookie pinwheel is when you skate up to a locomotives cow catch, you 360 punk buster to the second car, do a lemonade hand stand on the third car, a whipping-post ollie to the fourth car, a demon stomper on the fifth car, and a gleaming the cube off the sixth car, before dismounting the train."


Professional skateboarder Stevie Williams has stated in an online interview that Slater's character in the film was his first skateboarding influence.[2]

Skateboarding figure Tony Hawk, in a 2008 interview with Slater, revealed that he is continually asked if Slater actually skated in the film. Hawk has remained in contact with Slater well beyond the production of the film.[3]


  1. ^ He Bolin (22 June 2009). "Skateboarding out of the shadows". China Daily. China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  2. ^ Blair Alley (28 February 2012). "30TH ANNIVERSARY INTERVIEWS: STEVIE WILLIAMS PT 1". Transworld Skateboarding. Bonnier Corporation. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  3. ^ RIDEChannel (interview by Tony Hawk) (6 June 2012). "Christian Slater and Tony Hawk discuss Gleaming the Cube - Dissent". YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 

External links[edit]