April 07, 2011
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By now we are all pretty well aware that the film Soul Surfer is hitting theaters this weekend [check out official website by Rip Curl]. It seems every newspaper or website even remotely interested in sports or film has written a glowing review. Our favorite is this one.
I haven't had the pleasure of watching Soul Surfer featuring teen actresses Lorraine Nicholson and Alana Sofia Robb as well as cougar Helen Hunt in bikinis, so instead of beating a soon to be dead horse by espousing on the film's inspiring message, we thought we'd take our SEO-oriented Soul Surfer post in a different direction.
It seems every few years there's a new take on surfing by Hollywood. Granted this Soul Surfer flick is based on the harrowing true story of Bethany Hamilton and her 2003 shark encounter that left her without an arm, yet it still retains that Hollywood cheese factor we all openly despise, but secretly love.
Given that here is a list of top Hollywood surf films that dish out the fluff while also providing enough nutter to make a delectable sandwich of surfing delight perfect for dinner and a movie.
BNQT'S BEST HOLLYWOOD SURF FILMS
A simple plot of 18-year-old Rick Kane who wins the 1987 Arizona Pool Surfing Championships, $500 and a sterling silver belt buckle. With his prize money, purple and yellow twin fin and naivete in tow, Kane flies to Oahu to ride the big waves of the North Shore. There on that small stretch of coastline as powerful as a man's will, Kane will surf the big waves all while finding a woman who could give him the courage, a teacher who would show him how to survive and a challenge unlike any other.
Johnny Utah is a former star college quarterback who missed his window into the NFL after a bad knee injury. Forgoing his pro sports dreams, he opts to join the FBI and becomes a standout recruit. Gaining his choice of assignment, Utah is sent to LA to work bank robbery. There he meets his burned out partner who's in the twilight of his career but who has a crazy theory that the most successful bank robbers in California history are actually a band of surfer bandits that chase the swells and steal from the rich to finance their endless summer!
This nouveau-animated classic stars Cody the penguin, who comes from Shiverpool, Antarctica and realizes that his only true love is surfing. So he catches a whale of a ride off the frozen tundra to the tropical paradise of his dreams. There he meets the girl, gets challenged by the big kahuna and has to overcome all his worst fears to find out just what true surfing mavericks are made of.
Bruce Brown's 1966 epic follows Micheal Hunson, Robert August and Lord 'Tally Ho' Blears as they travel the world in search of the perfect wave and a truly endless summer. Twenty-eight years later in 1994 Brown duplicates the effort in Endless Summer 2 starring Pat O'Connell and Robert Wingnut Weaver, who retrace the pioneering steps of the first film's cast. Showcasing some of surfing's most prime locations it no doubt has inspired millions across the globe to give up their day job in search of one more wave.
A few years later in 1998 the film In God's Hands also follows a band of surfing brothers but this time the stakes are raised. Rather than simply searching for surf, these pros--Shane, Mickey and Keoni--travel to Madagascar, Bali and Hawaii in search of the ultimate wave... a wave bigger, badder and more dangerous than any surfed before. While finding this perfect monster may be a lifelong dream, they soon realize that getting what they want often involves giving something up.
Long before 1980s hit TV drama, Airwolf, Jan-Michael Vincent starred in the surf epic, Big Wednesday, alongside William Katt and Gary Busey. The film takes place in Malibu in the early 60s when surfing was still an innocent pastime for young men who'd yet to be exposed to the horrors of war or the trappings of adulthood. Vincent portrays the enigmatic surf legend Matt Johnson, who is the Kelly Slater of his day but must overcome dangers that are far more treacherous than big surf and bitter rivals.
This film is basically The North Shore but fast forward 15 years and make it about a girl. Starring Kate Bosworth as Anne Marie Chadwick, a beautiful sea nymph blond bombshell who has dreams of becoming a pro surfer. After she gets punched by the reef she needs the help of a hunky football player to gain her confidence back so she can overcome her fears and show Da Hui that she's no haole.
Who could forget the Humunga Cowabunga from Down Unda?? Back to the Beach stars Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello and Pee Wee Herman in this late 80s classic. Frankie and Annette return to LA where their grown daughter now lives with a sketchy boyfriend. Their young son also gets caught up with the wrong crowd at the beach, which Frankie must resolve by challenge the gang leader to a duel of daring by riding the biggest wave of all time.
This film is really a documentary about the history of big wave riding. Directed by Stacy Peralta who also produced Dogtown and Z-Boys the film stars Laird Hamilton, Darrick Doerner are Dave Kalama. They chronicle their efforts to bring big wave surfing to the next level by towing into Jaws while still paying homage to the forefathers of big wave surfing including Greg Knoll.
Another documentary made by Dana Brown (who made Endless Summer), Step Into Liquid features some of the world's best surfers traveling, competing and capturing the essence of surfing in every form. From the idyllic blue barrels of Hawaii to the cold green rooms of Ireland's west coast, Step Into Liquid shows the global nature of surfing's reach while balancing the intimate and personal effects it has on individuals.
Who could forget Blood Beach? Apparently a lot of people because I just stumbled across this gem today and couldn't help but include it. Starring the actor who played "Pauly" in Rocky, Blood Beach takes place in the City of Angels and uncovers some terrifying devilish force buried in the sands of LA beaches that are even more frightening than dirty needles and used condoms.