Weekend Roundup – Indiana Jones, BBC’s Sherlock + Chasing Mavericks Review

Today I truly appreciate the simple things in life. Well not that I wouldn’t any other day but especially so the past couple of days after reading all the news and weather updates on the Frankenstorm that is Hurricane Sandy. The fact that I can drive peacefully on the road without being pounded by crazy winds and heavy rain, and the fact that I have electricity in the house and place of work. The Empire State Building was trending last night on Twitter and it turned out it was because of this instagram of the Empire State Building’s light that shone when NYC went completely dark. What an eerie but yet striking image.

My thoughts and prayers goes out to everyone in the path of the storm… please do stay safe!

This weekend I actually opt for home cinema as I’ve seen both Cloud Atlas and Chasing Mavericks early last week. We had bought the Indiana Jones Blu-ray set a couple of weeks ago but couldn’t watch ‘em right away as I had to cover for TCFF.

We rewatched Raiders of the Lost Ark and it was still as entertaining as ever. The picture quality is just brilliant, and Harrison Ford is perfectly cast as the rugged explorer, I really can’t picture anyone else in this role so whoever’s gonna replace him in the reboot would have HUGE shoes to fill. I also love Karen Allen as Marion, her spunk and demeanor reminds me so much of Margot Kidder as Lois Lane!

We finally caught up with BBC’s Sherlock Season 2, starting with Scandal in Belgravia. It’s by far the most confusing episode for me, the plot is just so darn complicated for my little brain. But still it’s entertaining to watch Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as the odd couple and there are some really hilarious moments, especially when they first encounter Lara Pulver as Irene Adler. I thought she was brilliant in the role — Sherlock’s definitely met his match in her and watching the two psychopaths flirt with each other is quite amusing.


Now, on to the review:

I’m NOT a surfer, I’ve never even been ON a surfboard, not on land, let alone on water. But something about the surfers’ lifestyle fascinates me so I don’t think you need to know anything about surfing to enjoy this film.

The film tells the true story of Jay Moriarity, a young Santa Cruz surfer who’s immortalized in the Live Like Jay movement that just celebrated the 10th anniversary of his death last June. It was a short life as he drowned when he went diving in the Maldives just a day shy of his 23rd birthday, but the movie showed just how he lived.

Jay (Jonny Weston) first met Frosty Hesson (Gerry Butler) when Frosty rescued him from the ocean when he was only 8 years old. That experience didn’t put him off surfing, in fact, the opposite is true. He found it to be his true calling, not unlike someone like Felix Baumgartner who has a penchant for heights. Jay just loved the water and that 40-foot waves seems to be calling his name each time it hit the shores.

The fact that he lives with a single mom and an absentee father, he also yearns for a father figure and he finds that in Frosty, even though he himself is a loner who doesn’t seem to have it all together despite having a saintly wife (Abigail Spencer) and two kids. Predictably, the two bonded as Frosty trains Jay to be able to achieve his dream to chase ‘Mavericks,’ which refers to the surfing location north of Half Moon Bay in California where after a strong winter storm could top out at over 80 feet! I appreciate that this is truly a movie about surfing, not about some girl in a bikini or a procedural action flick. It focuses on the sport and shows the dedication it takes to be a darn good surfer in a sport where even the smallest miscalculation could cost one his/her life. Butler himself surely knew that by heart as he experienced a near-death accident when he was knocked off his board by a freak wave during filming. Talk about suffering for your art!

Jay certainly has a story worth telling, though I wish the story could’ve been as groundbreaking as the subject matter. Seems like when the movie is not so much focused on surfing, the script sort of loses its footing, so there’s barely any depth to any of the relationships portrayed in the film aside from Jay and Frosty’s. Even the romance between Jay and his eventual wife Kim (Leven Rambin) is so darn cheesy it comes off like an after school special.

The formulaic script really doesn’t give the actors any favors. It’s really too bad as I think Butler shows what he’s capable of all along. It’s an understated role that shows his vulnerable side, so it’s not the typical alpha-male action hero he’s known for. He not only look the part with his svelte physique and surfer hair, but he’s also got that convincing surfer swagger. As for Weston, I had been skeptical about his casting initially but I thought he captured the jovial spirit of what I picture Jay would be. The female characters are under-developed however, with Elisabeth Shue as Jay’s mother suffers the worst fate of being completely wasted here. There’s also an attempt to add a ‘villainy’ character in the film that goes absolutely nowhere.

What I do love about it is the spectacular cinematography that captures the glory of surfing. Those giant waves are amazing, and I’m glad I saw this on the big screen! I love that it was filmed on location which adds a high level of authenticity to the film. One of the main draw of this movie for me is the fact that L.A. Confidential’s director Curtis Hanson’s at the helm (reportedly Hanson had to bow out of filming because of health reasons and Michael Apted took over, so they share directing credit). I do think given the filmmakers’ credentials, this could’ve been a lot more compelling, but it’s not a bad movie by any means. In fact, I’m glad to hear according to Santa Cruz Patch, this film was well-received by the community where Jay used to surf.

I think a lot of the lessons that Jay learns in this movie, about the ‘Four Pillars of the Human Foundation’ and other disciplines can be applied to other parts of lives. The rousing ending is quite a spectacle, with those giant, mystical waves taking center stage and I could see how surfing is as much a mental sport as it is a demanding physical one.

3 out of 5 reels


P.S. I’m quite bummed that his movie was a total bomb. I didn’t expect it to be in the top five, but I certainly didn’t think it’d do so badly with a paltry $2.2 mil. Vulture asked Why Does Hollywood Think America Likes Surfing? and seems like the sub-genre of surfing movies are inherently not very marketable. Ah well, I’m glad I saw it and I’m glad they brought Jay’s story to life in this one.


Well, that’s it for the roundup this week. How ’bout you, seen anything good?

49 thoughts on “Weekend Roundup – Indiana Jones, BBC’s Sherlock + Chasing Mavericks Review

  1. As mentioned before, I’ll still give Chasing Mabericks a shot but the word on the beach is not positive. Still, you do a great job here Ruth. I enjoyed your write-up.

        • Yes indeed! He certainly does not disappoint here Mark, and you’ll find other things to appreciate besides seeing a Scotsman as a surfing expert ;)

        • “mostly bloggers opinions”… Yes and MOST of them are sanctimonious in their attitudes and play “follow the leader” with their opinions. JMHO
          Ruth, I too was surprised at how badly it performed. I write about film so I’ve been aware of this movie since before filming began, but it amazes me how many ppl had never heard of it on the day it opened nationwide. This was not a “limited” release as the last two of Butler’s films had been. (Do not get me started on Machine Gun Preacher – I will NEVER be okay with what happened to that movie) and I really thought Fox and Walden were on the ball. But I live in a large metropolitan city and can be lulled into thinking that the rest of the country has the same sort of access. In my opinion it should have been shown in IMAX which would automatically make it an “event” and people would buy tickets. It will lose something in the translation to home viewing but having said that, I think it will also find an audience.

          • “In my opinion it should have been shown in IMAX which would automatically make it an “event” and people would buy tickets.”

            I highly doubt the studio will spend money converting these kind of films to IMAX, they usually only do that to their event films like the new James Bond. It cost too much money to convert to IMAX and they have to consider going just digital or get the 70mm prints too. They might not get their investment back. Just my two cents.

            • Agreed re: the cost, unfortunately, (but it’s a chicken/egg thing. Spend the $ to convert and sell more tickets?) My point was that the surfing footage would have been STUNNING in IMAX. As it was, the film was supposed to be one of the first released in the new Dolby Atmos sound system (the sound was incredible but how many theaters have converted to that process?)

          • Hi Sherry! Yeah, don’t get me started about MGP, for some reason GB kept getting burned by the studios, not sure why since he’s also producing them?? I sincerely hope he makes sure the marketing is done properly for his films, esp. for the White House one that I heard just got picked up by Film District. It’s the same studio that marketed Looper and Drive so hopefully they do a good job there.

            You mentioned IMAX and I just thought how cool it’d be to see the surfing scenes in those giant screens. I get what Ted says though about the cost, I doubt they’d shell out money to convert them. At the very least though they need to just do proper marketing for it. I mean why bother distributing the film if you’re not gonna make sure everyone’s at least heard about it!!

  2. the first episode of Sherlock is complicated?
    wait till you see episode 3 ;)
    I love that first episode, the chemistry between sherlock and adler is so strong.

    Just like you, I am not into surfing…the only surfing movie I have ever watched was point break. I dont know wether maverick will b played here or not

    • Ahah yeah, the genius of Steven Moffat’s writing just went over my head, too much for my little brain! Still I enjoyed the banter between Sherlock and Irene, sooo juicy!

      I hope you’d at least rent Chasing Mavericks, Nov, it’s really not a bad movie at all, in fact it made me wish I knew how to surf!!

  3. Yeah, I wish it had done better, too. Critically as well, it’s only at 33%.

    It was still a fair enough little movie… and you’re right, when they’re surfing, its great! So awesome to watch…

    People arent gonna buy the other stuff though :(

    • I just read your review of it and I think we are in agreement once again. I wish the filmmaker spent a bit more time polishing the script on the dramatic stuff as they seem so tacked on. Maybe they spent too much time capturing the waves, but man they’re quite mesmerizing!

      • When it comes to surfing they’re are only two movies that stand out for me. All docs, The Endless Summer, Step Into Liquid and Riding Giants, they really capture the spirit of surfing.

        Bruce Brown’s The Endless Summer is about a the journey of a group of surfers going around the world to surf the untouched beaches. Hence “The Endless Summer”. Old school surfing from the 60’s it still holds up fairly well today.

        Step Into Liquid directed by Dana Brown, Bruce Brown’s son, is sort of an updated look at modern surfing.

        Riding Giants directed by skateboard legend Stacy Peralta ,Dogtown and Z-Boys, is about surfing the giant maverick waves. Skateboarding originated from surfers in SoCal who were looking to “surf on land” when the waves weren’t breaking.

  4. My face just melted when I read “reboot” in regards to Indiana Jones. I can’t see George Lucas allowing such a thing to happen (all “Star Wars” prequel comments will go unread). Actually, Harrison Ford is one of five actors to play Indy, along with River Phoenix, Sean Patrick Flannery, Corey Carrier, and George Hall playing the character at various stages of life. I wouldn’t mind seeing what Flannery could do with the character as an adult.

  5. I wouldn’t normally go to a surfing movie, but went hoping GB would redeem himself in this one and he did. I love that it was filmed at the very same locations Jay surfed. The scenery sure brought back memories of living near and visiting these same locations back when.

    • I think GB has ‘redeemed’ himself in MGP too, I think the script is the main issues here and combined with poor marketing, well it’s just not gonna bode well for box office. I think the performances of the two main leads are very good and yeah, the scenery is fantastic!

  6. I didn’t go to the theater this weekend, just watched The Living Daylights on BD, it still holds up well even though the plot got a bit silly towards the end. Dalton looked comfortable and cool in his first outing as Bond, he didn’t try too hard to look cool like Brosnan did in GoldenEye.

    I don’t think I’ll be seeing Chasing Mavericks anytime soon, like I said earlier it kind of reminds me of The Karate Kid but it’s about surfing. I’m always wondering why Hollywood kept churning out films about surfing, it’s clearly audiences aren’t interest in the subject. I mean Point Break has become a cult hit but it tanked at the box office when it opened in theater. Other films about surfing didn’t turned out well either.

    • Hey, I might watch Dalton’s Bond movies tonight, I’ll never grow tired of ‘em. Yeah, Brosnan looked way too cocky as Bond and like you said he tried to hard to look cool, what with the tie-straightening gimmick he does. Dalton is EFFORTLESSLY cool because he just played him the way he envisioned Bond in the books. Btw, did you read this post I tweeted yesterday? http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/james-bond/23192/celebrating-timothy-dalton’s-james-bond

      LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that article!!

      • OT: Ruth, good day, and great write ups on Cloud Atlas and on Bond the last couple of days, I read Den of Geek daily so when I was reading the article on Dalton, I was thinking of you, then started reading the comments and saw yours listed.. Ya that was one nice piece on Dalton. Currently reading Cloud Atlas, so can’t wait to see the movie, next read will be Life of Pi. Think Skyfall is playing in these parts, so may go and see a Saturday matinee at the big screen this weekend, since the baseball season has wound down.
        Keep up the great work.

        • Ahah! Well, whenever there’s a post that writes nice things about Dalton as Bond I wouldn’t far behind ;) Curious to hear what you think of Cloud Atlas, Dave. I can’t wait to see Skyfall too, but it won’t open for another 10 days!

      • Yeah I did read that article, it’s a good write up. It’s really too bad that Dalton got to play Bond in only two films; but again audiences back then expected to see the silly one liners and goofy type of Bond so he was never accepted until now.

  7. Chasing Mavericks looked like a TV movie so I will wait until it’s on TV if I ever see it ;) Yea, not sure why Hollywood thinks movies after surfing are of any interest.

    Hearing a lot of great things about Sherlock, I might give it a shot down the road once I start looking for another great TV show to follow after Breaking Bad concludes next year.

    • Seems like you watch less and less movies of late eh Cas? :) Btw, it’s only the small part of the romance that feels like TV movie, not the whole thing.

      Sherlock is very good indeed, but most of BBC stuff rarely disappoints.

      • Yea, I have been rewatching the first two seasons of Breaking Bad lately. I did sneak a viewing of Before Sunset this past weekend though. About as close to cinematic perfection as it gets IMO.

  8. Ruth, hi ya, and nice piece on the surfing movie, I for enjoy surfing movies, kinda got into them as a kid watching the Frankie Avalon, and Annette Funicello comedies, then started getting into the documentary surfing movies, like The Endless Summer, and Riding Giants, Step into Liquid. My favorite 2 movies on the surfing culture are Big Wednesday and Ride the Wild Surf. Big Wednesday is really a good one, with Jan Michael-Vincet, Gary Busey and William Katt.

    • Hello again Dave! If you like surfing flicks then this is a movie for you. 80%+ of the movie is set on the ocean with those beautifully-shot waves! I might check out other surfing movies that people have recommended here.

  9. Oh, Sherlock seasons 2 is terrific, I agree the first episode was very confusing! Wait, new Butler movie bombed? Where, oh where were the fangirls? :)

    • Hey, glad I’m not the only one who thinks Scandal of Belgravia is confusing!

      Ahah, well I guess his fangirls aren’t doing their job! It’s a shame I think, but one thought that enter my mind is that in the wake of hurricane Sandy, perhaps some people just aren’t into watching giant waves engulfing boats and people :(

  10. I like the views that surfing movies bring only because I never have seen them in real life and I think it’s cool. But, most times, their stories are lacking. You confirmed what I expected from this movie. A fair review, esp given your love for GB!

    I laughed looking at the picture of him leaning against the door just wondering what he was thinking at that moment. It’d make for a fun caption game in CinematiCaptions! haha :)

    • Yeah, I feel like I couldn’t really give it more than 3 but it’s still very much worth a watch for all the surfing stuff. As a GB fan, he did not disappoint on the surfing and acting front.

      GB does the soulful look down pat doesn’t he? He’s probably pondering about how he almost died making this flick and then nobody saw it! :(

  11. Glad you started Sherlock season 2. I must be the only person who didn’t find episode 1 confusing. ;)

    Yeah, I’ll check out Chasing Mavericks on DVD. Too many good – better? – movies coming out in the next few weeks.

  12. I love returning to Indiana Jones…a great trilogy and definitely one of my favourites. Glad you caught up with Sherlock. I started with series 2 before getting around to seeing series 1. Pretty good TV I think.

    • Yeah, I love Indy. The second one isn’t my cup of tea though, but still a lot better than the fourth one. I wish we could just buy the trilogy without the 4th movie, ahah.

      Oh interesting that you go with Season 2 first. Well I LOVE Season 1 so can’t go wrong there, Dan.

  13. I am Glad you are enjoying Sherlock Ruth!! I love that show so much. And each episode being 130 mins long is like a film in its own right!!

    Shame about Chasing Mavericks, although from the photo you posted I bet you enjoyed it more secretly hehehe

    • Yeah, I kinda like the longer episodes as there are really a lot of stuff going on in them. It’d feel too rushed to fit ‘em in just 60 minutes!

      Ahah well I’m not ashamed to admit it matey, I very much did indeed ;)

  14. Well, the surfing movie doesn’t seem like one I’ll be checking out…it just doesn’t seem appealing plus I can’t recall any movies about the sport which I’m a big fan of. Nice that you did a rewatch of an Indiana Jones movie!

  15. Glad to hear you enjoyed Chasing Mavericks, Ruth. I know you were really looking forward to that one. Not sure I will seek it out, though it may be a good “TV movie” as Castor suggested. :D

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