"Oh my God…you haven't see this movie? It's the best movie ever."
I have loved the 1991 film Point Break unironically since 1992, when I squirreled myself away with a copy on VHS and risked being grounded to behold the wonders of Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze skydiving, surfing, robbing banks, swearing, and spouting Zen philosophy.
It's a film that packs everything you could ever want into one adrenaline-fueled saga. It's also the crest of the wave in an era of action cinema, the logical climax of a decade of increasingly bombastic buddy-cop entertainment.
When the remake was announced, I was understandably heated. Is not Point Break extreme enough? Was it not already remade as The Fast and the Furious?
Would my distaste for the very idea of updating Point Break 25 years after Bodhi rode off into the 50-year storm prevent me from enjoying the newcomer for just what it is?
So, I devised a plan. I would attend the press screening of the remake with a trusted film analyst who had never seen the original, former Willamette Week screen editor Rebecca Jacobson. She had, however, endured more than a year of weekly Point Break references in my stories and my constant cries of: "You have to see this movie. It's the best movie ever." Then I'd get her opinion of the remake, have her watch the original and discuss. Bada-bing.
But while our cinephile talk scintillated, spanning the two films' drastically different approaches to extreme sports, their larger statements on machismo and adrenaline addiction, their central male romances and many other themes that seem silly when you're talking about movies centered on Zen-surfing bank robbers—we're under embargo not to disclose our final verdict on the remake. The production company, perhaps predicting that Rebecca would call it "bloated" or that I'd be heard uttering, "Fuck this fucking shit," is requiring that all reviews be held until opening day. We can say that we talked about its feminist undertones, subtle sociopolitical message, and that Rebecca said, "I don't know if it knows what kind of point it's trying to make, but it's very overt that it's trying to make some sort of point."
But then something shocking occurred to me. Maybe the point is this: I've been talking up the greatness of this movie to Rebecca—who was understandably underwhelmed when it was first released because she was 3 years old—so much, that I'd probably ruined it for her.
"I thought it would be a little stronger," she said, "especially the homoerotic stuff."
I was angry. Fire-my-gun-into-the-air-while-screaming angry. With myself.
One of the most obnoxious things all film nerds do is react with utter shock when they discover a friend hasn't seen their favorite movie. If you haven't seen Star Wars, you'll be rushed to the nearest TV by some dude with a burst artery. If you haven't sat through the first two Godfathers, consider your Friday night booked. And just like Johnny Utah couldn't help but be seduced by the nonstop adrenaline rush of Bodhi, I was seduced by favorite-movie evangelism.
Like all film nerds, my attachment was based on my introduction to the film—the rush of seeing an R-rated film I was forbidden from watching. The icing on this adrenaline-infused cake is the joy of applying film theory to something so largely dismissed and the unchecked elation of exposing people to it in the hopes that they, too, would see the light. For those friends or readers ruined by my overzealous love—I'm truly sorry. Watch Point Break. But watch it through your own lens.
"Maybe I need to rewatch it," said a friend of mine as we walked out of the movie shop.
"You should. I mean, it's the best fucking movie ever made."
SEE IT: Point Break (2015) is rated PG-13. It opens Friday at most Portland-area theaters.
One of Portland's finest holiday traditions, the Clinton is once again resurrecting The Big Lebowski, serving up their "rice Russians" and encouraging all to show up in robes and pajamas. That, friends, is how holiday memories are made. And sometimes lost. But whatever. We all abide. Clinton Street Theater. 7:30 pm. Wednesday-Sunday, Dec. 23-27.
Christmas in Space returns to the Hollywood, offering up a cautionary tale about the current state of Star Wars hype via a here-unnamed holiday special featuring Bea Arthur and Jefferson Starship among Wookiees and Coke ads. Hollywood Theatre. 7:30 pm Wednesday, Dec. 23.
Weird Wednesday arrives at the logical conclusion of holiday movies by screening Santa Claus Conquers the Martians in all its non-glory. Joy Cinema. 9:15 pm Wednesday, Dec. 23.
The Clinton is once again offering up a mystery midnight screening on Christmas Eve, this time featuring "a contemporary film with an actual effects budget." The event's a party hosted by the nutjobs behind Santacon, so expect the unexpected. Clinton Street Theater. 11:59 pm Thursday, Dec. 24.
Join Bill Murray in sending the holidays off with a little love and a lot of nut shots in Scrooged. Kennedy School. Friday-Sunday, Dec. 25-27.
Now that you've very likely revisited one Han Solo, it's time to go back and get reacquainted with Indiana Jones with The Last Crusade, the last film in the classic series about the world's most violent archaeologist. And thank god they stopped there and didn't make a fourth film. Thank god indeed. Academy Theatre. Friday-Thursday, Dec. 25-31.
Casablanca makes its final appearance of the year at the appropriately retro Kiggins. Kiggins Theater. Friday-Wednesday, Dec. 25-30.
The Robin Williams urban-jungle fantasy Jumanji still holds up after 20 years. But not after 21. Which is why we're getting a remake next year. Mission Theater. Saturday-Wednesday, Dec. 26-30.
The NW Film Center's Orson Welles at 100 series continues with the grimy crime classic Touch of Evil (Sat & Mon), lesser-known noir Confidential Report, and legal drama Compulsion. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium. See NWFilm.org for full listings.
If you still haven't celebrated the 25th anniversary of Goodfellas by seeing one of the best crime sagas of all time on the big screen, you have one more chance. Mission Theater. Saturday-Sunday & Wednesday, Dec. 26-27 & 30.
Does the original Oceans 11 hold up after 55 years? No. (Neither does the remake.) But it's still a hell of a lot of fun to watch the Rat Pack get paid to hang out. Especially when paired with one of the Mission's custom cocktails. Mission Theatre. Sunday-Monday, Dec. 27-28.