You know, before Gidget came out in the late ’50s, there were supposedly only 5,000 surfers in the world. With that and the beach blanket bingo era to follow, by 1962 it’s been estimated a whopping 100,000 took to the waves. Today how many might there be? Millions?
My first bit of interest in surfing came in the form of a Flipside Magazine (hi Al, miss you) borrowed from some high-school surf punks as well as paddling out being my only other option besides waiting for hours on the beach gossiping with my girlfriends while our boyfriends surfed (yuck!). Yet, I will never deny the inner girly-tomboy inspiration acquired from the Gidget character, especially Sally Field’s TV version. Heck, the first spot I ever surfed (or got tossed around by waves at) as a teenie-bopper was Malibu and every once in a while I’ll disturb myself by unconsciously verbalizing words like “Toodles.”
But do we really need another major motion picture about the subject? After Blue Crush, can the water get any more crowded? (hmm, interesting to note, some of the most popular surf movies in history are about women – whassup with that?) How many more over-commercialized surf flicks does the universe need created by non-surfers in Hollywood trying to cash in?
“Okay. I get it. This is where you tell me that “locals rule”, and that Yuppie insects like me shouldn’t be surfing the break, right?”
Capitalizing on the public’s love of computer animation and cute animals (Lilo & Stitch, Happy Feet, March of the Penguins) and promoted happily by certainly well-paid surf industry powerhouses (Kelly Slater and Rob Machado who provided lead voices), the consumer public is supposed to embrace Surf’s Up! as the movie to take the kids to this summer. But this animated feature that “goes behind the scenes of the high-octane world of competitive penguin surfing” and is based on the concept that (move over dolphins) “penguins invented surfing”…is not the new surf movie I’m talking about.
“You’re sayin’ the FBI’s gonna pay me to learn to surf?”
Point Break screenwriter Peter Iliff has found the only way to get a director’s credit is to write a script with his directing job tagged onto the contract. To the casual dismay of Point Break fanatics, this means a Point Break 2. In this 20-years-later scenario we will see (so far as it’s been reported) Bodhi indeed not dead, and has been instead playing bad boy and surfing, no doubt, hurricanes in the Asian Pacific (can’t you just picture him doing tow-ins with Laird). Patrick Swayze, with star power draining accordingly over time, doesn’t have a lot of other projects lined-up and is tentatively committed to this one. But there will be no “Johnny Utah” (and no James Cameron producing) – the flick will be funded and filmed in Asia and star a largely Asian cast. And the new lead character is supposed to be a ex-pro surfer turned Navy Seal tracking down a “criminal gang” and star a new Keanu. As reported in Variety:
It is really important that this film stands on its own two feet and we will be looking for a young male action star at the same stage in his career as Keanu (Reeves) was….
“Young, dumb and full of cum”
While you’re waiting for Point Break 2 to come out, you might be able to experience the ultimate ride “Point Break Live!” (a play based on the movie which I believe originated in Seattle many years ago, but has been showing as recently as a few weeks ago in New York). A new Keanu is picked every time, and the message on their MySpace better explains the qualities one must possess to play such a role like the dynamic Reeves:
To represent Keanu Reeves, an actor must be untrained and unrehearsed. He must be pushed from place to place by production assistants. He must read his lines (not seen until the play’s in progress) from cue cards. Only thus can that irresistible Reeves vacancy be emulated.
Oh, my. Well, in my personal opinion, if they’re going to make this work, I think they should hire retired pro goofy-footer Kalani Robb, as he’s always seemed to me a cuter Keanu. Plus he won’t need to be trained how to surf, has an Asian-Hawaiian look (like Keanu), and the absolute worse case scenario can act as well as Keanu…and I love him. Oh Rob, remember that day you were jogging down the beach with your dog..and I had my dog…and you barely paid any attention to me…sigh…and then that time, out in the water, at Pupukea, you were so mellow letting me catch as many waves as I wanted..even though you probably didn’t even notice I was there…what, oh, you did notice me…you wanna go grab some sushi…well, sure…mmm… Oh, sorry, daydreaming again… Rob even has a filmography and likely an Actor’s Guild card and…ah, shoots, he’s staring in a surf/horror movie coming out this year called Pipeline (“the water is filled with limbs…”). Well, out of all the surf movies coming soon to a theater near me, that’s one I’ll go see.
“Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true.”
Now the question is, will Point Break fans flock to the potentially B-grade flick in hopes the writing might include genius one-liners like the ones weaved throughout the original. Or should we avoid the movie and preserve our imagination. That we don’t know if Bodhi died or somehow survived the huge waves at “Bell’s Beach” – and is possibly out there, somewhere, bullying for truth and the human spirit and manifesting the adequate funding required to live the ultimate surfer lifestyle (of course, today one would have to rob a lot more banks to stay afloat as a beach bum with a healthy quiver). Though there is little controversy about the matter, maybe people are just afraid to admit to their caring either way about the film’s legacy. One reviewer did go on the record, “Sounds like an all-around bad idea to me.” Yeah, “Part Two”‘s have the power to be such a bummer, dude.
“If you want the ultimate rush, you gotta be willing to pay the ultimate price…”
As far as more surf movies go, we can only hope for the best. Often the pure essence is only found in the well-produced small, independent variety, made by people who live to surf, and surf to live. Do all surf movies have the potential to increase the number of surfers in the water? Sure, very likely. Then again, we can all be greedy over the waves. But when you see the look on the face of a kid who just rode a wave for the first time in his or her life…you don’t mind so much. We know aloha is part of sharing it with the rest of the world. And perhaps the future core of conservation and environmental consciousness will be inspired by the fresh generation of groms who connect with the ocean and have a deep desire to keep it healthy (maybe throw in a few bio-engineers to encourage sea life and make some successfully breaking artificial reefs to satisfy the growing surfer communities). So, ultimately, I don’t mind the flux of surf movies – but if filmmakers are throwing so much money at it my only request is that they please make some that are really good too.
“Surfing’s the source man…it’ll change your life, swear to God.”