Monday, August 26, 2002

Good Friends; Bad Movie

My friend Scotty and I have a constant battle over which films to see. Our tastes vary widely, sometimes crossing over into one another, but for the most part we disagree entirely. He likes the more popular films, while I enjoy playing the elitist movie snob. Give me a good, long subtitled French film any day. This would, of course, drive Scott right over the wall. Not to say that he doesn’t enjoy art films, it’s just getting him there that requires work. He’ll go to the worst, schlockiest films ever and walk out surprised that it was mind-numbingly awful (example: Any film starring Vin Diesel). Yet, he will go kicking and screaming into an “art film” and walk out loving it.

So it was with great pain that I went to see Blue Crush last night… Good Lord, they could not have put in any more clichés if they tried. I would warn you about spoilers, but you have already seen this movie half a dozen times (and much better, I might add), that it is all but impossible for me to ruin this for you.

The story centers around Ann Marie—unfortunately, not Ann Marie of THAT Girl fame, that would have been too cool—no, this Ann Marie is a surfer chick who’s “the best anyone’s ever seen.” She’s so good that:
* no one, outside of her two friends and little sister have heard of her.
* the filmmakers have to constantly tell us that she’s so great, because she hardly surfs (she just relives the “horrible accident” again and again, to the point you want to yell out, “Just drown already!”)
* people have to constantly tell her how to ride the waves. Near the end, a champion surfer actually tells her that she is going to help her catch a wave, like she’s never done it before. Shouldn’t someone competing in the “Pipeline Championship” have some clue as to surf?

Poor Ann Marie, she had an accident four months earlier (no scaring, outside of her psyche), and it renders her too chicken to take on the waves. However, every morning she gets up, checks the surf report, wakes up her friends so they can all go surfing. But every time she goes to take “big pipe,” she chickens out. No one seems to understand her… poor Ann Marie.

Soon she meets NFL professional quarterback… Donald Hollinger! No, no, no. His name is even less imaginative: Matt Tollman. She tries to resist him, but he’s such a friggin’ hottie, she can’t. This is the only part of the film I found real: he’s too damn cute to resist. So they sleep together—apparently, constantly. However, we never get to see any on screen action. If I were the screenwriter, here’s what I would have to say about that: I slapped 9 bigg’ns down to not see any bangin’? If the dude had shown a little more of his swolls, wantin’ a little backside action, that would be a fancy feast!

The ‘writer’ really should have to go back to remedial English in 7th grade… If I am going to have to listen to this drivel, show me some hot, hairy ass!

Her flirting with the QB, pulls our heroine from her training. Her (total lesbian) friend Eden, played convincingly well by Michelle Rodriguez is very upset that Anne Marie isn’t training. Eden gives the constant talks on “getting out there and doing what others can’t,” along with Anne “being the best,” and “showing everyone the champion you are.”) I’m not sure where on the cliché list those land, but I believe they are all within the top 15. The sad thing about Michelle Rodriguez playing Eden is that we are constantly reminded that whoever cast this film completely missed the mark: Rodriguez should be in the role of Ann Marie, as Kate Bosworth is in way over her head playing Ann Marie.

The night before the big surf contest, Ann Marie goes out to a Luau with Donald’s football team and their skanky wives. All are hos but think they are “all that.”

Naturally, Ann Marie goes into the restroom alone so she can overhear the other women talking about her (cliché #26). She comes out of the stall and makes some stupid remark, gives a woman her shoes—her shoes!—and leaves. The best part of the scene was when another skank walks out of a stall and says, “Ohmygod! Like, was that her?” I bet the people at Pulitzer are wondering if they can give out an award for movies.

Ann Marie does what any rational person would do in a moment like this, she walks fully clothed into a lagoon! Donald/Matt follows her in—fully dressed. What is the director saying here? Maybe he was hoping the actors would drown and he could get out of making this film? Actually, this is so we can have a discussion where the water spontaneously grows lights under the actors, so we can see them in the dark, murky water? Hey, is that a hungry, vicious shark? No, just a fantasy... a wonderful fantasy…

Because she doesn’t have a brain in her peroxide bleached head, Ann Marie asks Donald (Matt?) what to do. If he had said, dye your hair black, perm it into a flip, tease it sky-high and move to New York, I would have been happy. Instead, he took the cliché road out and asked her what she wanted (read: how do you see the picture ending). She said, “I want my mom to come home, I want my sister to go to school, I want to be on the cover of Surf magazine… even if I don’t win, I want any girl on Surf magazine.” Again, she asks him what to do and he says “Don’t let a man tell you what to do.” Which means: in a few scenes, I’ll tell you my tale and you’ll go out there and surf the best you’ve ever done in your life achieving all the aforementioned goals, plus me. That Donald says a lot in just a few words, no?

Finally, we get to the big contest. All the great female surfers are there. We know this because Ann Marie’s kooky side-kick Lena introduces them: “Hey is that [insert famed female surfing legend here]?” (If Eden has to ride Anne Marie’s ass to get her to train, then Lena is the one to encourage her to par-tay! Oh, that kooky Lena…)

Best of all is the announcer for the contest. Every sporting contest I have ever been to in my life is filled with the announcer giving out dry facts to the crowds. If there is an injury they’ll give a warning and maybe some encouragement, other than that, they are pretty quiet. Well not at this championship. No way, this announcer gives more of a commentary/play-by-play, speculating on what the surfers are thinking—even understanding what they are saying way out on the water. And the girls in the water can clearly hear what the announcer says—even under water! This is not good for Ann Marie, because the announcer constantly speculates why she is fucking up so badly. “Is it because of the terrible, terrible accident four months back? Could that be why she is so far behind and hasn’t a chance in hell of winning this, achieving anything in life, or getting laid by Donald ever again?”

To build drama, Ann Marie chokes about half a dozen times readying for her big ride. Naturally, she has a wipeout so she can come back to shore and get the necessary last minute pep-talks needed to go out. Donald comes by to tell her of the time that he got hit hard on the field and how he went back out there and did it. Gee, that was swell.

So, Ann Marie goes out one last time, and with the help of a world class surfer, is told to “paddle, paddle, paddle” to catch the “perfect wave.” Ann Marie gets perfect 10’s across the board! Although, the announcer says that this is not enough to win the meet, she is a champion none-the-less. Thank God for him, because I couldn’t have figured any of this out for myself.

Hurray! Ann Marie comes back on to the beach a champion! Everyone gathers round. Never mind the competition is still going on, the beach is crowded with people trying to get to Ann Marie—the loser, who botched it more times than anyone can count, but pulled it off at the end. Even the sponsor chick who is going to give her all she wants is there to greet her. Too bad mom didn’t show up—that would have pulled my lunch right up and onto the 15 year-old girl in front of me that was cheering when Ann Marie finally fucking did it. And then, just before the credits roll, comes the cover of Surfing Magazine with Ann Marie on the cover! She did it! Oh, the joy, the absolute joy.

Interestingly enough, Ann earlier stated that she wanted a girl on SURF magazine, what she ended on the cover of was SURFING magazine. Maybe they’re saving Surf for the inevitable sequel…

As punishment for making me watch this, Scotty now has to watch two horrible movies of my choosing. I am at this moment looking for some really bad subtitled French films…

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