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First Descent | 2005 | PG-13 | - 1.4.5

Documentary chronicling the rise of snowboarding by showcasing five of the world's best snowboarders: ranging in age from 18 to 40, they are taken on an expedition to some of the highest peaks of Alaska, where they are challenged to use their skills in pristine back country mountains. With Terje Haakonsen, Shawn Farmer, Nick Perata, and Shaun White. Directed by Kemp Curley & Kevin Harrison [1:50]

SEX/NUDITY 1 - A young man is swarmed and hugged by women in tight-fitting outfits, a man wearing boxer type swim trunks (we see his bare back and chest) jumps into water, and a young man is bare-chested in a couple of scenes.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - There are several scenes where snowboarders are in perilous situations and manage to come away from them unharmed: In one scene a boarder is on a very high peak and appears trapped, unable to continue going down without injury, but he manages to find a route.
 A snowboarder runs over a pile of rocks and hits his head or face on a boulder (we do not see the result). A man does a big jump and falls when he lands (we see him later with bruises and he talks about being in a lot of pain). A young woman does a big jump and falls when she lands (she does not appear to be injured but is very shaken up). A snowboarder does a jump on a man-made track; he lands hard on his back on the edge of the pipe and slides down the wall (we do not know if he was injured).
 A snowboarder running down a steep mountain must veer off course when the snow breaks under his feet and an avalanche begins (he makes it to safety). We see several snowboarders running down steep mountains and they are enveloped briefly by snow beginning to avalanche (they are not injured).
 People are shown doing snowboard stunts with furniture (riding a sofa down a slope, or flipping off the top of a refrigerator), and several people are shown breaking glass bottles over their heads (although we see a few people fall, we do not see any resulting injuries). There are several scenes that show snowboarders riding their boards on man-made tracks with "½ or ¼ pipes" that allow them to jump and perform acrobatic stunts in the air.
 People talk about their first impressions of snowboarders as being rowdy and unruly and one woman says: "We thought they might have guns." Two men talk about wrecking each other's cars when they were younger.
 A man shoots skeet.


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LANGUAGE 5 - 1 F-word, 1 obscene hand gesture, 2 scatological terms, 6 anatomical terms, 9 mild obscenities, 1 religious exclamation.


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SUBSTANCE USE - We hear about an Olympic snowboarder being disqualified for testing positive for marijuana use. Several people drink alcohol and throw some of it onto a bonfire and it flares up, a man drinks a beer, and several people are shown drinking champagne in celebrations after winning competitions (they also shake the bottles and spray the crowd). A man smokes a cigarette, people are shown smoking in the background in a couple of bar scenes, and it looks as if a man spits into a jar in one scene, suggesting that he might be chewing tobacco, but it is not clear.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Snowboarding, survival, the evolution of snowboarding, pioneers in sports, trial and error, fear, undiscovered mountains, avalanches, anxiety, inspiration, selling out, corporate sponsorship of sports and athletes, the "Jackass" series, anti-establishment movements, NASCAR Racing, celebrity, pop culture icons, business, X-Games, the Olympic Games, trends, media.

MESSAGE - Know your limits, but never give up.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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