The worst of a very bad bunch.
“We all come from the sea, but we are not all of the sea.”
And so the Gerard Butler voice over opens Chasing Mavericks, as Hollywood yet again squatted down and added another turd to the pile of mainstream surf movies. In fact such is the height, density and stench of the pile it seems that it is impossible to make a decent big budget movie that has surfing in it. The only quality surf film made by Hollywood was Big Wednesday, and that opened more than 40 years ago. Don’t believe us? Well let's put the gloves on and sift through the excrement.
In God’s Hands
You have to give credit to any movie that can almost destroy the credibility of Shane Dorian, surfing’s most credible man. Matt George’s script purported to offer, “An introspective and international journey of a surfer who is struggling with his success on the pro tour and his inner need to be a big wave soul surfer.” We quickly find that Dorian’s acting is a wooden as an alaia and the clunky drama and overwrought emotion mean you’d probably rather get a Jaws set on the head rather than watch it twice.
A young professional surfer played by Kate Bosworth has to overcome her fear of the dreaded Pipeline at a big contest. Will she get back on the Pipe horse? Will she secure the love of her Haole boyfriend and survive the beatings of gnarly Hawaii locals? Will there be a happy ending? The answer to all these questions if course is yes, something you know from about the third minute. That it went on to gross $US 51.8 million worldwide only makes it worse.
The story of the discovery of Mavericks was covered well in Stacey Peralta’s Riding Giants, so the execs turned to the story of Jay Moriarity, one of the youngest surfers to ever gain a respected place in the lineup. Gerald Butler, who plays Moriarity’s reluctant mentor “Frosty” almost drowned in the filming of the movie. Unfortunately he survived to go on to make this turkey, which despite some incredible water action footage (three RED cameras did die in the process) this is over dramatic, formulaic rubbish, that fails to capture the spirit of the Mav’s crew or big wave surfing in general. Funnily enough it also doesn’t mention the fact that Moriarity died at 23 freediving in placid waters of a Maldives resort.
Rob Gilley in Surfer said it best in his review, “I’m here to report that Surfer, Dude might be the worst mainstream surf movie ever released. A true turd in the toilet bowl that is Hollywood surf cinema.” Matthew McConaughey (a few years before his McConnaissance) stars as Steve Addington, a surfing legend who returns to California after riding waves all around the world. He’s looking for a relaxing summer of fun in the Malibu sun, but instead finds himself in an existential crisis when the entire coastline goes flat. This is a stoner comedy without the comedy and a movie that no surfer can get anything but irate at its mere existence.
Blue Crush 2
Whatever few redeeming qualities that existed in the first film have been stripped in the sequel, with Hollywoods attempt to cash in (again) on surfing leaving a soulless void of surfing cliche and incomprehension. This film moves from Hawaii to South Africa and includes a plot line around elephant poaching. Obviously. It went straight to DVD for a reason.
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